By Essie Harris
An increase of $20 million in student financial aid at City College for the 2011-2012 school year has led to more applicants and longer lines at the Financial Aid Office.
“The amount of financial aid available this year has increased millions of dollars from last year, and more students are becoming aware that these grants are available,” City College Student
Trustee Jeffrey Fang said. “This is great but consequentially there is a higher volume of students and the same amount of employees trying to help them.”
City College Student Hannah Maier said sometimes the wait to see a counselor can be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
“It’s frustrating,” Maier said. “I always happen to come on the wrong day when there’s 30 students waiting — mostly picking up their checks, but sometimes I’ll pass by this room and there wont be one person in line.”
Students can opt to have financial aid payments deposited directly to their bank account. They can also pick up checks in person on specific days of the month in Conlan Hall.
Roughly 30,000 students at City College receive financial aid, with an average grant of $3,500, according to a survey done by the National Center for Education Statistics.
“We’re all on the same boat. We all have to jump through hoops and wait in line,” student Adrian Gutierrez said. “When I get my check deposited into my account, it will all be worth it.”
Sophia Toney, a senior management assistant at the financial aid department, said despite the increase in applicant numbers, the lines for financial aid are not too long.
“Except for the first few weeks of the semester, I do not believe we have long lines,” Toney said. “So far our department has not experienced many layoffs, but some faculty will be retiring soon and we will not have the funds to re-hire when they do. We are going to great measures to keep our lines short, this includes providing students access to information via email and phone.”
At the Student Equity meeting in February Fang said administration planned to work diligently on providing students with information about the availability of funds and the application process.
He urges students who are applying for financial aid for the 2011-12 school year to do so promptly to avoid delays.