Gatepost Grievances: Student Services, offer reliable assistance to students

By Ashley Wall, Associate Editor

By Donald Halsing, Editorial Staff

Paying for college is a challenge. Student Services makes the process even more challenging.

Over the summer, we learned that Student Services at FSU are the exact opposite of helpful.

Students were not informed of their Fall 2019 account balance until July 10. That’s late notice, if you ask us.

The Fall bill due date was Aug. 1. Only two reminder emails were sent out – one month before, and one week before the due date.

With summer being an active time for students, two emails could easily be missed.

Understanding our bill would be simpler if they gave us a more advanced notice and students would have longer to figure out how to pay.

Ashley contacted both Student Accounts and Financial Aid about her semester bill. After being sent to voicemail numerous times, she finally got a call back a week later.

Unfortunately, they denied helping her while on the phone and suggested emailing their department instead.

When she emailed them, they told her to call the student services office for clarification on her bill.

By the end of this continuous cycle of unanswered questions, Ashley felt that she had played a torturous game of telephone.

Financial aid also offered no help. The emails she received back from Student Accounts contained two conflicting answers.

This is a major problem. Not paying the bill or setting up an accurate payment plan on time leads to students losing their courses and housing assignments.

Donald went on a roller coaster ride getting his loan and wishes he could ride a cooler coaster.

In order to cover his whole bill, he took out a student loan at a popular bank.

Donald received an email from his bank saying the loan would be disbursed in October and February. He emailed the bank back, saying that he needed the money immediately to cover his bill.

There were two issues. First, FSU Student Services had not informed the bank that the loan papers were received properly.

Second, “loan disbursement” is not explained to student borrowers. Apparently, the school does not accept the money all at once.

Instead, students are allowed to attend if they know the money will be sent, and FSU delays that process artificially.

Are you confused? So are we.

Student services, here are our suggestions on how to improve your department:

Send emails to students far in advance of deadlines.

Send out student bills earlier.

Better coordinate among departments within the office.

The world is full of unfair and hidden rules. Mistakes can be expensive. Student Services is not making it easy to navigate today’s confusing waters.

The bottom line? Student Services does anything but what their title claims.

So, listen up, Student Services: offer reliable services to students.

[Editor’s note: Gatepost Grievances is a bi-weekly column. The opinions of the authors do not reflect the opinions of the entire Gatepost staff.]

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