Last year I had a mad rush of contact with the Financial Aid Office and tried to fund my education. On several occasions I was promised a grant or some kind of scholarship for my academic achievements and instead I was put to the test trying to get my money.
One case that touched many people last year was the School of Arts and Sciences Award of Excellence. I had applied in the summer of 2020 and did not receive any word from the committee before the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
It seriously affected my financial plans and those of many others. Even though we won the stock market and finally got our money, now because of the loans we are actually paying more because of the interest.
Why is there always so much drama in accounting and student financial aid? The simple answer is that Rutgers, like any other college, depends on money. Colleges are more than ever run like businesses, which is why tuition fees have increased so dramatically over the years.
With this increase, one would think that the extra money spent by the students would go to the benefit of the University. That said, there are still more issues at dorms than ever before, a problematic bus system, limited dining hours, issues with classroom technology, and limited dining options on campus.
As always, it is not the fault of the hardworking people who drive the buses, serve meals in the dining hall, or even help students with financial aid. It is more than understood that they are overworked and underpaid and that, more than ever, their workload is overwhelming.
This is an issue with how Rutgers uses its funds and the diminishing value of the student experience. Professors are grossly underpaid and don’t even receive the job titles or security clearances they deserve.
Students are overcharged and do not receive the experiences they are promised when they come to college. Internships and research opportunities were limited due to funding issues. Scholarships and grants are also limited.
This year I had a horrible experience with the Financial Aid Office. After months of struggling to get a scholarship sent as a check to use for thesis-related research, the fees on my term bill kept fluctuating to such an extent that I had to keep canceling and to take out new loans.
This is another issue that the Financial Aid Office does not consider. When fees are continually changed, students who need to take out loans – which to my knowledge are the majority of university students – are screwed up.
Your credit score is affected by the number of times an institution, like lenders, checks your credit, which can end up hurting your overall credit score – like having a gigantic loan wasn’t enough. student already having an impact on your credit.
There is a serious problem with funding and allocating resources to students and academics. There is also the problem of making it difficult to access funds for students who earn money through scholarships and research grants. More attention and focus is needed to make the student experience more affordable and to ensure that students receive scholarships within a reasonable timeframe.
There must also be a limit set on how the tuition and fees can change and an extension of the term bill due date. It does not make sense that the invoice is due in August (before the end of the add / drop period). This only creates more problems for students when it comes to their tuition fees, especially if they have to reduce their loan credit or add more credits than expected.
Financial aid and resources must find a better system for fair pricing of students and for allocating grants and scholarships in a timely and efficient manner. The University must also do more to add more value to the student experience.
As it stands, their efforts are clear and understood, but things need to be caught up. It doesn’t make sense that King Neptune Night (an event for which student dining fees are intended) is canceled when football matches, which are arguably more dangerous for coronavirus disease standards (COVID-19 ), are allowed to occur.
For the fees that students pay for dining and the student experience, there needs to be more emphasis on those experiences.
Julia Fuchs is a School of Arts and Sciences with a major in History and Anthropology and a minor in French and Archeology. His column, “Questioning Jules”, is broadcast every Tuesday.
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