Top College News Subscribe to the Newsletter

Financial Aid checks intended for appropriate expenses

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 19:02

image Financial Aid Tony DePalma

Photo by Craig Towsley/ Prospectus News

Tony DePalma Computer Science major DePalma said that if he had received a refund, he would have paid bills and bought a new drum set.

image Financial Aid Anthony Hanners

Photo by Craig Towsley/ Prospectus News

Anthony Hanners Physical therapy major Hanners explained that he spent his refund to pay for a speeding ticket he got on the way to class.

image Financial Aid Krystal Torres

Photo by Craig Towsley/ Prospectus News

Krystal Torres Political Science major Torres is saving her financial aid refund for use in case of emergencies or other needs during the school year.

image Financial Aid Clair Beeson

Photo by Craig Towsley/ Prospectus News

Clair Beeson Journalism major Beeson is using her financial aid refund for food and rent.

image Financial Aid James Cobbs

Photo by Craig Towsley/ Prospectus News

Name: James Cobbs Major: Criminal Justice Answer: Cobbs is using his financial aid refund for rent.

Refund checks were sent out on February 15, and students are faced with the decision of how to spend the extra money.

Financial Aid and Veteran Services Director Tim Wendt explained that the money students receive from financial aid and scholarships is meant to assist them in the cost of getting an education.

In fact, there is a model called Cost of Attendance that helps students budget their money correctly.

This model states that tuition fees should be paid off first, and after those costs a refund check should be used to pay for things such as room and board, as well as food for oneself.

After these expenses comes transportation, which includes services to one’s car, bus passes or gas money. All these things insure that a student can not only pay for their classes, but also be able to get there and have a place to go once school is over.

After all these top items are paid off, students are encouraged to buy clothing and essential items that are necessary to their daily routine. This means students can buy jeans or shoes, but only if they truly need them.

“Students need to realize that they have to be frugal. They need to live like a student. Financial aid is not meant to give a student a way to live, it is to help a student attend school,” Wendt explained.

Students are also encouraged to use the money to buy their extra supplies, which includes books, laptops, and anything else necessary to succeed in the classroom.

Many students commented that they did use the money for their tuition or rent, and that without the money they would have been struggling to stay in school.

Veterinary technician Price Dickson commented that she had to pay for everything out of pocket, so when she received her refund check last semester it all went directly back into tuition costs.

Dickson then used the rest of the money to pay rent. After rent, she put the remainder into her savings account to use when she needed it.

Students similar to Dickson agreed that their refund checks helped them maintain their rent or schooling, and they were grateful for the money they received.

Unfortunately, not all students spent their refund checks on the items Wendt explained they were intended for.

One student commented that she took the money to buy a TV and concert tickets.

Several other students claimed they were using the money to buy frivolous items such as fashionable clothing and car accessories, and claimed that they saw no problem in their spending habits.

“I don’t see why it would be a problem what I do with the check, I mean it is my money,” Psychology major Patricia Lane stated. “I use the money to look good, and get stuff I want. If they didn’t want me to spend it, they shouldn’t have given it to me.”

Business Office Controller David Donsbach admitted that the check a student receives is their money, and they are free to do whatever they want with it.

However, he agreed with Wendt when he said that the refund checks’ first and main use was for schooling. All other types of spending could be considered bad budgeting on the student’s part.

Computer science major Nathan Wright held very strong opinions over what students should spend their financial aid on because he was unable to qualify for financial support himself.

“I have to save my money and pay for almost everything out of pocket. I did receive a scholarship, so that helps, but knowing that some students use the money to buy useless things makes me mad,” Wright said.

Wright claimed that while holding a job, he was also a full time student and took care of a dependent. Any financial assistance would have been used immediately to help him and his family meet their living needs.

“At the very least, students should take the money and save it. I’m not sure if they realize that once they get into the real world the government won’t be so lenient on handing them checks, so they might want to think about saving up now,” Wright continued.

For those students that have trouble budgeting or need advice on how to correctly spend their money there is help.

The Financial Aid and Veteran Services office, located in the A Wing, assists students by providing budget and money-management counseling.

To the students that are misusing their financial aid on frivolous items, Wendt warns that they might be in jeopardy of getting their financial aid taken away.

If this is the case, that student is ineligible to receive or continue to receive student aid and might even have their aid taken away and be forced to pay back what they had received.

Students are encouraged to be mindful of the way they spend, because what they get may not always be available for them. There are other people that need financial assistance, too.

Refund checks might mean a little extra money in one’s bank account, however, it would be wise to transfer that money into a savings account and start budgeting correctly for upcoming semesters and life to come.

Recommended: Articles that may interest you

Be the first to comment on this article! Log in to Comment

You must be logged in to comment on an article. Not already a member? Register now

Log In