Construction in the basement of Cornell and Conwell halls has forced Student Financial Services to move to 1700 N. Broad St., leaving students unsure about where to go for financial help and some battling slow service.
SFS still has its old address at 1801 N. Broad St. listed on the bottom of its website, even though renovations began over the summer. The new address is found once, on the “Contact Us” page.
“I just walked in,” said Oyinade Adebayo, a freshman economics major. “I never called, but I went to the wrong place at first a couple weeks ago. Then I went over to the right place.”
The renovations, while causing a temporary move, will last until they are completed in May 2017, according to a statement from university spokesman Brandon Lausch.
Craig Fennell, director of SFS, said the relocation has had no effect on SFS’ phone service. But even before the transfer, several students complained that they were having a hard time reaching SFS over the phone.
“The longest I’ve waited was about three hours,” said Raksha Patel, a freshman kinesiology major, about a time she called SFS in April, before she even came to Temple. “They disconnected me afterwards, so I decided to just walk into the [Student Financial Services] office.”
Another student, sophomore computer science major Tyreak Allen, said SFS made him wait a long time before getting to speak with a representative. He said while the longest he’s had to wait was only 30 minutes, he still finds it easier to get financial help as a walk-in.
Several students have said that walk-ins are easier than calling on the phone.
“I called first, but after 30 minutes they hung up on me so I walked into the office,” said Lamere Figueroa, a sophomore psychology major. “When I walked in, I waited about 40 minutes to talk to the representative.”
The busiest times for SFS are during the beginning and end of each academic year, Fennell said.
“Students wait until the last minute to call,” Fennell added. “I suggest they start early and finish early. Reach out to the office early rather than wait. Call in July or earlier and they won’t wait as much as they do when the school year starts.”
Reaching out early is particularly important for incoming freshmen, Fennell said, because their only option to get service is by calling or sending an email.
With nearly 30,000 undergraduate students, the phone lines and email services at SFS become too busy, Fennell said. He added he was not sure if the phone systems the department uses are up-to-date.
Fennell advised students to use TUportal to see if they can answer their own questions.
“But I’m not sure if portal is easy enough to use for parents as it is for students,” he added. Sometimes, he said, both students and parents will reach out to SFS at the same time and block up the system, slowing down service even more.
“Financial aid is a partnership,” Fennell said. “Parents and students do their part and we do our part.”
Jenna Song can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.