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December 12, 1979 - Image 19

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-12

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B

Financial aid tries

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, December 12, 1979-Page 19
to cope with overload

(Continued from Page 5)
seven counselors for the first time in a
year."
Though the financial aid office is
planning to increase staff levels, it is
still difficult for them to fill the
positions that ate already established.
The Assistant Director for Counseling
and Processing post has been vacant
or six months while a nationaj search
continues. Positions are available for
~ive analysts but only three have been
filled. "Financial aid is a com-
paratively new area," explained Zim-
m erman, "and it's hard to find
ualified people." Johnson feels that
"bureaucratic holdups" are often
Aecording to Johnson, even when
they find a person to fill a position, they
may have to postpone hiring him or her
pecause they sometimes can't afford to

take a worker away from his job in or-
der to train the new person.
IN THE END, it is the student ap-
plicant that suffers. For example, after
waiting in line for 40 minutes, a student
may have to wait 20 more minutes
while a secretary searches for his file.
If the file fails to turn up, the student
will have to make another trip.
During one interview with Johnson, a
secretary came into the. office
requesting a student's file that had been
signed out in his name. Johnson told her
that he hadn't seen the file in a month.
A more common experience is having
to return five or six times to check on
the status of one's application. "Ap-
plying for financial aid is a full-time
job," said one LSA senior.
"THE RETURN trips are ex-
cessive," admitted Johnson. "But a
student has to keep on top of things if he

wants to get aid."
A shortage of counselors and the long
time required for hand-processing the
files, are the areas where the front desk
clerks see the need for reorganization.
In order to correct these deficiencies
in the financial aid office, the Univer-
sity is spending an estimated $200,000
on a badly-needed computer system.
"We should see some additional sup-
port by July," said Zimmerman. "But
it will still be far from meeting our
need. We'll be lucky to have it in by
1981."
The office also plans to put peer coun-
selors in the dorms toaadvise students
on how to fill out applications.
IN THE MEANTIME, students are
forced to be patient. Lily Chang, one of
the front desk assistants, said students
often bring in the aid forms one day and
expect their money the next, even
though funds such as loans may come

from the state or other agency, and not
from the financial aid office. Also, a
large number of}applicants make the
process more thin just an overnight af-
fair.
Some people have no complaints
about the financial aid office. "They're
always been efficient and I've always
found the counselors to be real good,"
said one student. Others have also
commented on the friendliness and"
quality of the counselors.
Front desk clerks described the
majority of the students and their
fellow employees as courteous. Dee
Wall, one of the clerks, said that some
people whom she has helped want to
pay her back forher work.
Ralph Ross, another clerk, has no in-
tention of getting out of financial aid
work. "I want to go straight to the top,"
he said.
As for advice for applicants, the
clerks said students-should not wait till
the last minute to find out what they
have to do to pay for their schooling.
They also said the office is least busy
between the morning hours of 8:15 and
10:00.
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-.-

Lying for financial aid commonplace

(Continued from Page 1)
application accurately and was turned
dqwn. He. reapplied, lying about his
savings account, and was awarded the
money;
Another LSA sophomore, with his
eye on a better financial aid package,
lied about his savings account, money
from his parents, and expected income
for the coming year;
i "They screwed me, I'm going to
-crew them," said an LSA senior who
Isified figures on his savings account
yabout 25 per cent because he failed to
receive all the aid he was promised last
year;
SOne student dropped ten thousand
dollars from his parents' income for the
purposes of his application. His parents
signed the falsified statement.
What happens, to parents caught
ing .
According to Paulette Stalworth,
assistant director of financial aid, since
financial aid usually is already in the
hands of the student by the time the
falsification is noticed, cancellation of
future aid is the only form of
retribution. ,
The responsibility for falsifying data
goes beyond students and their parents.
Stalworth said one student reported to
her that a high school counselor had
suggested she lie to increase her aid.
THOM JOHNSON, a financial aid
counselor, explained that there can be a
fine line between advising and en-
couraging misrepresentation. Coun-

selors can "leave the door open for the
student to decide whether to cheat or
not," by properly pointing out exactly
how allocations are figured and how a
student might legitimately increase his
or her aid.
TO SOME students, it's a matter of
survival.
"I have to lie," said one graduate
student, "because the budget
(allocation for the year) is too low. It's
impossible to live on what they think
you can live on."
Ironically, lying and low budgets
reinforce each other. Students react to
low aid offers with lies. But since the
University determines the allocations
in part on the basis of the claims made
in students' applications, students sup-
plying false information contribute to
the low budgets they complain about.
MOREOVER, lying contributes to
delays in application processing. Ac-
cording to Stalworth, "We used to
assume the students were telling the
truth, but we found students were lying.
Consequently, we are now required to
check applications for inconsistencies;-
and this causes a lot of red tape."
Financial aid recognizes the
predicament.
Jim Zimmerman, associate director
of financial aid, pointed out that the
housing fraction of students' budgets
for an academic year are based on
dorm rates, which don't compare with
off-campus rents. "The budget for the
off-campus student is modest to low and

in some cases, there does seem to be a
burden put on the student," he said.
Stalworth agreed. "It's unfortunate
that the students are put in this
situation. But in some cases they are
ying because they don't really under-
stand the bases of the need analyses,"
she said. She said that some students
lying on their savings accounts may be
making only 50 dollars for their efforts
since a mere 35 per cent of the savings
figure is used in figuring need.
Because of uncertainty about the
adequacy of the aid program, the
financial aid office is spending $15,000
on a questionnaire to determine how
well it satisfies student needs.
The populations of the black rhino-
ceros, Kenya's only native rhinoceros,
has dropped from 15,000 in 1969 to an
estimated 1,500 today. Most have died
at the hands of poachers, who covet the
animals horns. In the past few years
thousands of rhinos in Kenya have been
killed so their horns could be exported,
although it is illegal.
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3'ajo ai
These are the major aid sources
available to students through the
Uniyersity's Office of Financial Aid:
, Basic Educational Opportunity
Grant (BEOG) - Federal aid grant
requiring no repayment. Based on
need, which is determined by family in-
come and assets, size of the household,
and number of family members in post-
secondary schools. About 4,200 Univer-
sity students are on the program, all
tndergraduates.
* Guaranteed Student Loans (GSL)
- Federal loan program with a seven
per cent interest rate. Last year's Mid-
dle Income Assistance Act removed the
income ceiling, but eligibility is still
based on the school allotment minus

7

programs
other aid sources. About 7,272 Univer-
sity students are on the program.
* Michigan Competitive Scholarship
- State scholarship program based on
need and ACT test scores. The award is
limited to $600 per term, or full tuition,
whichever is lower. About 1,983 Univer-
sity students are on the program, all
undergraduates.
e National Direct Student Loans
(NDSL) - Federal loan program with
a three per cent interest rate. Based on
need, which is determined by the size of
the household, family income and
assets, and number of family members
in post-secondary schools. About 4,000
University students are on the
program.

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