Letter to the Editor: Delays at Centralia College Frustrating

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Centralia College has recently decided it is worthy of teaching classes that can earn a bachelor’s degree, yet is not capable of processing its financial aid applications from a month and half ago.

That’s right, after a month and a half, even with enrollment down and less students on campus, it is now guessing sometime next quarter some students might get their money. That is great if your parents can fund you, if you also have another job and if your books and transportation are free, but for students I know and work with, that money is for rent, clothes, supplies, food and the very essentials of a student aid loan.

By being incapable of processing a normal flow of applications, the school is placing the hardship directly on the poorer and less socially affluent students. The office literally has no clue when these funds might be distributed or returned. Although at the beginning of the quarter it would be around Oct. 22 , now maybe by next quarter. However, if you have a CARES grant coming in the next week, they will go ahead and take all of that for tuition you owe while you starve.

The college likes to point out the application deadline as a reason why one has not gotten any funds, yet those applications that were on time are also not being processed in a timely manner. The college seems to think the deadline means they do not need to respond or give refunds in a timely manner, when in fact it only has to do with priority registration for this quarter. Meaning, if folks apply and they cannot be serviced until the next quarter the school must either create a real cutoff deadline or deny the application in a timely manner, not tell them to perpetually wait, but maybe that is the beauty of this type of “scam.”

Here is the “scam,” the catch, the money grab: Until a student gets the loan process done and they accept the school's offer, you do not technically have a loan, just an application. Furthermore, the deadline to drop without owing tuition passed weeks ago. So, the school has said “do not worry about tuition. We won’t kick you out due to payment. We will wait until we get it.”

Huh?

So, if someone does not get approved, then you have, out of the kindness of your heart, made it so the student will owe an entire quarter or more of tuition, the money borrowed for books, food, lodging and supplies, with most of the money owed to the college. This is a clear scam. Whether you qualify or not, the school will be able to bill you. Brilliant! And if the financial hardship makes you drop out near the end of quarter, you will owe that too. The college is always coming out on top. The college must take immediate steps to improve this situation or I foresee very empty halls.

 

Brian Stewart

Onalaska

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