NEWS

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October 4, 2016

Some Students Will Have to Wait for Financial Aid Awards Through 'First Weeks' of Quarter

More than a week into fall quarter, some students are still waiting to receive their financial aid packages. 

“It’s kind of a disaster,” third-year Bella Levy said.

Despite submitting her materials on time, Levy said that she did not receive her package until a week before her first payment was due on September 23. Due to late changes to her application materials that weren’t considered by College Aid, Levy said that the award that she received was insufficient. The short notice to get it fixed made that week very stressful, she said.

“I received my package when I was about to fly back to Chicago and I was a little worried that I would not be able to pay for this upcoming quarter, and it was a week and a half away, so there wasn’t much I could do at that point. I already had my living situation sorted out, I already had my plane ticket bought, I was already enrolled in classes, but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to afford all that, which is really scary. I had friends who were worried about paying rent because they hadn’t gotten their packages yet.”

Third-year Averi Ayala said that she was told by College Aid over the summer that she was supposed to receive her package by September 23. On September 28, she still had not received her package and decided to post on Overheard at UChicago.

“I feel like the needs of low income students weren’t really being taken into consideration,” she told The Maroon.

On September 29, she went to College Aid’s office. They expedited her package and she received her award on Saturday

Ayala said that she wishes College Aid had been more transparent with her about the delays. According to Ayala, she received only one email and it was so unhelpful that she deleted it. She said that she would have understood if the issues were due to the new electronic system, launched on August 1, and if College Aid had conveyed that there was nothing that could have been done to speed up the process.

“College Aid continues to work through financial aid materials that were submitted over the summer. Awards will continue to be released throughout the first weeks of class,” Marielle Sainvilus, director of public affairs, said in a general statement to The Maroon on September 16. Sainvilus did not address requests for comment on how many students were still waiting for their packages, the timeline for when all students will have received their packages, and what caused the delay.

The Maroon contacted College Aid directly about the delays several times. College Aid said “no comment” and directed The Maroon back to the News Office. The Maroon contacted Sainvilus again on September 29. She responded, “The office is working on getting the packages out as quickly as possible, below is what I received:

The Office of College Aid is working diligently to process financial aid award packages. They are reviewing applications daily and releasing awards on a rolling basis.” 

That statement closely mirrors a notice on College Aid’s website.

Sainvilus did not respond to whether students who haven't received their packages will be expected to pay full tuition and then later have the aid deducted or whether any students who submitted their materials before the informal deadline (June 10) haven't received their packages.

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