Financial aid for summer students delayed three weeks

Olivia Arnette

Kent State students enrolled in summer classes received their financial aid money three weeks behind schedule.

The increase in summer students and late Pell Grant payment parameters are the main causes for the delay.

“One of the big things that impacted a lot of schools was the budget process for the Pell Grant program,” said Mark Evans, director of student financial aid. “The government is working on this year’s budget, but they didn’t set the Pell Grant tables until the end of April and normally, we have those tables in February.”

This summer, Kent State received 8,000 more applicants than last summer and awarded $29.9 million in financial aid to more than 7,200 students.

Like many universities, the Pell Grant program is Kent State’s largest grant program. Another set back for the university this summer is a delay in the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, a program that provides grant money to Ohio residents based off of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“We can’t award our state grant program in Ohio because the state hasn’t released what the parameters are,” said Evans. “So, in normal years, students would’ve had that money awarded to them back in March and April and had it to use to pay the bill.

“We were uncertain as to the future of the program, if it was going to exist or not, let alone the award amounts,” Evans added. “So that’s a program that will impact throughout the eight campuses whether it’s summer, fall or spring, probably around 4,200 or 4,300 students.”

When the state budget was finally settled, the Financial Aid Office was notified that there will be money available for four-year public universities. The office should know soon what the awarding criteria are.

“Students are packaged in our system for fall and spring,” said Jeannette Jones, associate director of student financial aid. “When they go on our website and apply for summer, we have to undo what we’ve already packaged for them and start all over again.”

Rita Bader, a senior double majoring in psychology and justice studies, said she received her financial aid refund three weeks late when she was scheduled to receive it June 7.

“I couldn’t purchase my books right away for my classes, which I needed right away since these are five week courses, causing me to fall behind, or pay rent for that matter,” Bader said.

Evans said the fall financial aid money is scheduled to be on track in spite of a record number of incoming freshmen.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Olivia Arnette at [email protected].