At first glance, the Financial Aid office’s new policy to distribute checks through the mail appears simple; however, reality reveals the nuances of the finance system.
The efforts in delivering financial aid checks are now handled by three parties: the Finance office, the Financial Aid office and the U.S. Postal Service. This new system was created to address problems caused by the former policy.
The old policy required students to pick up their financial aid checks at the cashier’s office in the Administration building after the first few days of school. This led to a long line of students who crowded hallways. The new policy, which went into effect the beginning of winter quarter, attempted to put a stop to this.
“Our goals included relieve hallway congestion and eliminate students standing in long lines, allow cashiers to concentrate on regular business and to create the possibility that some students receive their checks before the beginning of the first day of instruction,” Director of Budget and Finance Bill Von Hasseln said.
The results of the change were seen as an improvement from the former policy. It did manage to significantly reduce hallway congestion at both campuses. Cashiers were able to attend to tuition payments more quickly and many students received their financial aid checks before classes had begun.
However, Pierce College Puyallup student Patrick Tomlinson experienced a different side of the new policy.
“I know that the old policy was time consuming, but I think it’s easier to pick it up. If so, I’d have mine by now,” Tomlinson said. “The most frustrating part is the time crunch for bills. My check has been delayed, sent, canceled and now is being sent again.”
Tomlinson’s case stands out as one of the few complaints the new policy has encountered. However, the new policy will make accommodations for students who would find mail distribution a hindrance rather than assistance. In situations like homelessness, severe marital or family problems or past experience with stolen mail, Hasseln stated that exceptions could be made for some students to request cashier office pick up.
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