The waiting game

Isabelle Hautefeuille, Staff Reporter

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The beginning of a new quarter means that new and current students alike will be visiting the financial aid office. The unfortunate part of this is that lines become congested and the small waiting room that seats 10 becomes filled very quickly.

Unfortunately for many, a trip to the financial aid office is a lengthy process and students have to revisit several times. Waiting times vary not only depending on the time of the day, but also the time in the quarter.

Earlier this quarter, students were subjected to wait as long as two hours just to meet with a counselor.  

The governing body changed the rules for financial aid services this year concerning the process, called verification, in which they check students’ identification and financial information.

“That’s [what] the government body told us to do” said Adrian Naranjo, director of the student financial services. “Our workload of how many students we have to verify has almost doubled this fall.”

At the same time, the number of students has grown at the university. This means more students are looking for financial aid.

Another consistent variable is staff turnover. When financial aid hires counsellors, it takes time to get them trained.  

“We didn’t have as many bodies readily available,” Naranjo said.

Naranjo said that to solve these problems, changes are going to have to come from the Financial Aid department.

“We are going to be hiring some more processors and counsellor,” said Adrian Naranjo.

Personal initiative from students is also asked from the department. Naranjo said that even though services are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, it’s possible to avoid the long waits by getting your verification done early.

“We want to encourage students to return their paperwork earlier [which] would definitely help us process earlier because we are here all summer,” Naranjo said..

In order to do that without coming to the university, he explained that students can upload their own documents by going to the “to do list” on MyCWU.

Because of the large number of students, counselors seem to have some difficulty in taking care of each student with the same amount of attention.

Tyler Mathews, a freshman music major, has been to the financial aid office multiple times before. After a couple visits, and experiencing quite a bit of frustrations with the process, Mathews was considering dropping his classes.

There was one instance when Mathews waited over 45 minutes in line to talk with the receptionist. After the long wait, Mathews was told by the receptionist that he had to wait longer.

After multiple calls and visits, and his long 45 minute wait, Mathews voiced his complaints   and expressed his frustration with the process to one of the counselors.

“I said that I was trying really hard and I got to the point where I was legitimately thinking about just giving up and going home,” Mathews said.

 

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The waiting game