Change in financial aid affects FSCJ vocational students | News

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Change in financial aid affects FSCJ vocational students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida State College at Jacksonville vocational students filed into an auditorium, one by one, with one thought on their minds -- show me the money.

"It is not affecting you if you're in the degree program," said Raymond Smith.

Smith is a vocational student in the electricity program. He was expecting his financial aid benefits this week and was told he has to wait.

"We were told about it the day before the money should have been disbursed," he said, "We need that money for bills, for child care, and for things like that."

College administrators told the students there is a change in how financial aid money is disbursed and that change started July 2011.

"Why didn't any of us have previous acknowledgement?" asked Bob Briggs.

Briggs, an air conditioning student, wants to know why they're just finding out.

"We make plans we all are dependent on those student loans money to become available," he said.

The Dean of Student Success said an email was sent out to notify students and teachers; the students say they didn't see it, and a vocational instructor at the meeting said he didn't see it either.

Steven Bowers, Vice President of Administrative Services, said this is not a case of poor communication.

"Everyone was notified of this," said Bowers.

Bowers said is a complicated process. First, the Federal Government instituted the changes and this September, the State instructed the college it has to do it for all Post-Secondary Adult Vocational Students.

Bowers said the college has to verify student attendance in the Clock Hour program before disbursing funds.

"It is the attendance records for the previous terms the student attended," he said, "so if they went in the Summer, we had to get the Summer records. If they went in the Spring we had to get the Spring records."

The changes affect eleven programs or about 200 students, Bowers said. It should be resolved next week. He said they now have all of the attendance records and if there are still problems, they will meet with the students one by one.

Students in their first year of the program are not affected.


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