General Assembly meeting features forum on financial aid office

The meeting was preceded by an Oct. 12, meeting between TSG officers and the new director of Student Financial Services.

Many students deal with Student Financial Services at Temple and it is often the subject of many complaints.

For this reason, Temple Student Government Student Body President David Lopez held an open forum at the Monday, Oct. 16, General Assembly meeting to hear the issues students face.

“For a lot of students, their biggest issue is just waiting. Waiting to be seen by someone or talk to someone over the phone and I think if they get to a point where the wait time is a lot smaller and a lot shorter it is going to make people a lot more pleasant,” Lopez said.

The open forum comes after Lopez and his administration met with new Director of Student Financial Aid Craig Fennell on Friday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m.

At the meeting, Fennell presented TSG officers with physical charts that followed the entire process a student needed to go through to obtain financial aid, Lopez said.

“He broke it down and explained that these charts are way too long and he sat there and went through steps and said, ‘This part is redundant, we can cut this out.’” Lopez said.

Fennell said that by cutting out repetitive steps each of the processes could be reduced by 20 to 50 percent.

However, Fennell and Lopez knew the conversation did not end there and that is why Lopez wanted to hear from the General Assembly.

Junior political science major Dylan Morpurgo said he’s concerned with the Student Financial Aid Office because he not only has trouble getting in touch with a staff member, but he has not yet received his refund check this semester.

“When I go into the office I get very courteous and polite people and they are very helpful, but then the follow-up isn’t there and I don’t get the check,” Morpurgo said. “When I go in for a follow-up, I get a different person every time and they don’t know what the person before them did.”

Similarly, Lopez had to make several trips to the office this semester before he was able to solve his issues.

“This year, I had to go to the financial services office three different times and I didn’t get the exact answer I needed until the third time,” Lopez said. “If I had to go back three times for something minor, I don’t know what other students have to do who are facing something major and that is part of the conversation that we are going to continue to have.”

Some of the other concerns brought up at the meeting included not being able to reach an operator when a student calls in, communication issues between the Bursar’s Office and the Student Financial Aid Office and having the ability to set up an appointment.

Lopez wrote down all of the issues students raised and plans to have a meeting with Fennell within the next month to share these concerns.

Laura Detter can be reached at 

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