By Kayla Tucker – Managing Editor
Every semester, many students struggle completing the complex process of financial aid in time. Last week, Gage Dionne, 18, of Byron Center, learned he had been dropped from his first semester of classes at Grand Rapids Community College because his financial aid paperwork had not been properly completed.
Dionne is not the only student in this situation, many have been down this road before.
“We are always very sorry when a student hits a bump in the road like this,” said Provost Laurie Chesley. “We’re here to serve students, we want them to have a good experience and we want them enrolled in our classes.”
Chesley said it falls back on the students, though, to be timely when dealing with financial aid, and to also ask for help.
“It absolutely is important that students try to be as timely as they can,” Chesley said. “(I encourage) that they reach out to a staff member in that office to make sure that they understand exactly what happened, to understand what their options are, to try, if at all possible, to get into classes,” Chesley said.
Ann Isackson, Director of Financial Aid, said that it would be difficult to determine the number of students dropped from classes due to financial aid issues.
She said, “There are so many different factors that could impact the student.”
According to Isackson, a student who had difficulties with the financial aid process may have a chance to still enroll.
“We don’t stop processing financial aid,” Isackson said. “(There’s) really not a deadline, it’s more of a priority date.”
Isackson said that students stay in communication with the school throughout the process and with any questions they may have.
“It’s so very important for them to follow up immediately if they receive communications from our office,” Isackson said. “We often send letters and emails to students to try to give them an idea of what may be needed in order to complete their processes.”
Dionne is hopeful to take classes this semester. After having another conversation with the college, he was given options that could speed up the process, including signing up for the draft, signing up for a payment plan, and signing up for classes that start later in the semester.
Now, Dionne is waiting for his social security card to come in the mail, and plans to see what classes are still available when it arrives.
“If there is any opportunity to take some classes earlier than the winter semester, then I’ll definitely take that opportunity because I don’t feel like waiting,” Dionne said.