Lonnie Foland
JRNM 151 Student

Changes have been made to Federal Direct loans disbursement this semester. The disbursement will now come in two separate checks instead of one. This will change the amount you are generally used to receiving at one time. Fund disbursement is based on continued completion of courses and coursework. These changes are new to LCCC, but common practice at other learning institutions.

If your loan for the semester is $1,750, you will receive $1,732 net after origination fees. Half of the loan amount, $866, will be credited to your account five weeks after course starts, and at least six credit hours and attendance are confirmed. The remaining $866 will be released on or around the tenth week, once midterm grades and attendance are reported.

“These changes were enacted to help students succeed in their education. Students with financial hardships were taken into consideration and extra funding has been allocated for no interest emergency loans use through, Financial Aid, Women’s and Men’s Link,” Kionna McIntosh-Pharms, staff assistant of Enrollment, Financial, and Career services said. Pell Grant disbursements, such as bookstore monies, are not affected.

“LCCC’s move to multiple disbursements is part of our student success and completion initiatives. Student loan debt is outpacing credit card debt in the United States and is of national concern. Therefore, multiple disbursements of federal aid is a best practice cited and encouraged by the U. S. Department of Education,” Ginny Biada, manager at the Financial Services Center said. “The decision to disburse Federal Direct Loans in two disbursements was widely processed with the LCCC campus community during the prior academic year including Student Senate, faculty, staff, and administration.”

“We were sensitive to the implications that the reduced initial disbursement could have on our students, which led to us launching an aggressive media campaign to inform students of the changes, allowing them time to plan. Additionally, students interested in better understanding Financial Aid, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Credit Card information and other Financial Literacy and Money-Management topics were encouraged to attend our Financial Aid and Literacy Workshops,” Biada said.

Biada also said,” We have secured additional emergency loan funds to help students with unusual circumstances waiting for their second loan disbursement. Our Emergency Loans are funded through philanthropic donations that support our students through the LCCC foundation. The loans are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis for eligible students until all funds are expended. We do not charge interest on these loans, as they are repaid out of the student’s upcoming financial aid disbursement. Additional information and applications for emergency loans can be provided from Financial Services and Women Links.”

In spite of the administrators statement most students have not seen or heard this aggressive media campaign. Kourtney Strauss a 3-year Physical therapy assistant major said, “ I have seen no ad campaign concerning financial aid or disbursements, I found out when I went to financial aid and asked about it. When I ask them why they were doing two disbursements, financial told me it was because some students were ripping off the system, these students would come to school until they received their disbursement check and never come back to school.” Strauss also stated, “that no one has ever mentioned the Financial aid and literacy workshops.”

Elizabeth Oestreicher a 3-year Non-profit administrator major also said, “ I have not seen an ad campaign for the new way of doing disbursements, and no one told me of the Financial aid and Literacy workshops. I heard about the two checks system from a friend of mine and an instructor told us in class.” Also Oestreicher said “ when I went to Financial aid to ask about my loans and why they changed the disbursement they told me is was because students were defrauding the system by coming to classes until they received a check, then they stop coming to school.”

It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand how student loans and disbursement works. Students can find all information on student loans at http://www.studentloannetwork.com/financial-aid-101. The information here is invaluable, and answers all students’ questions. Students can also go to the financial aid department on campus to get information and help needed.

 For emergency loan information, and applications contact Financial Service, this is located first floor of Bass library, or Women’s Link in the College Center room 230.