Starting a new school year is always hectic. There is so much to get ready for. Students need to register, buy books, and pay for classes. Of all the business offices on campus, at the beginning of every fall semester approximately 82% of students crowd the Financial Aid. It is one of the largest growing offices, next to Registrar’s Office.
Shortly after the school year started, there were some complaints about the staff at Financial Aid. One student made a post, on the Facebook group, TAMIU Student Network, where they expressed how badly they felt that they had been treated. This post incited other students to express themselves on issues they also went through. In their posts, students shared their stories, and some even specified which employees they had issues with. In one publication, a student mentioned that they felt they were being mocked and hurried when speaking to a financial aid representative. Many complained, while a few had some nice things to say about the staff. A particular student even made a meme regarding the issues.
Witnessing all the things students had to say about financial aid was tough. But as with all complaints, there are always two sides to a story. The Director of the financial aid office, Laura M. Elizondo, had many thoughts on the issue. She was advised about the problem through another person and had the post printed. The Financial Aid Office held a meeting and went over the issues that were addressed in the post. Elizondo mentioned some ideas that would help improve interactions for the students as well as the staff. She advises students not to leave anything for the last minute. Many students file paper work late and expect to have their classes paid for instantly. Everything in financial aid is a process that takes time.
She also recommends to students that if they have a simple question that needs to be answered, the best medium is email, where they will respond within 48 hours. Around the beginning of the school year, many staff members are busy, and cannot get to the phone when students call. Elizondo mentioned that if you go into financial aid and want to speak to someone in particular, that can be arranged. She is even available for meetings with students. She would also like students to know that nothing can really be done in regards to the post. She explained that the post is not a proper medium of complaint. If students have any issues, it is best they go see her and have everything down in writing. If matters don’t get better, then further actions will be taken.
Elizondo is also working on a new way to better help students. She has the idea of having pictures of the staff on a survey paper so students can circle who they saw when they went in. The students will also be able to rate the Financial Aid Representative’s ability to help them. She hopes that this will help students remember the names of the workers in financial aid in case of future concerns of any type. This project is still a work in progress and hopefully will begin soon.