By Chanel Watson
Changes to the way Lincoln University handles financial-aid refunds this year has confused and frustrated students, but administrators say the issues are being worked out.
“I still have yet to receive my refund, and now I’m getting impatient,” freshman Tametra Thomas said recently.
“Why does it take so long for them to put money back into my account?” she asked. “I already sent them their information. What more do they need?”
Warren Johnson, director of the Bursar’s Office, said several factors converged this year to create the issue.
“This year, we had a lot of students who had incomplete financial-aid records, entrance-interview counseling, selected for verification, all kinds of financial aid-related issues that precluded the transmittal of the financial aid money,” Johnson said.
Also, Lincoln added a new option for receiving their refunds. Students can now get the money on a Visa debit card, as well as through direct deposit into their checking accounts.
The debit card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa, and students can add money to the card, if they want.
With the direct-deposit option, the money first goes to a Wells Fargo account and is then transferred to a student’s personal account as a regular bank transfer. The amount of time it takes varies based on when a student’s documentation is cleared.
The other problem with the refund system this year is that students have been complaining that the Bursar’s Office has been too slow giving students back their refunds.
Freshman Makeda White said she’s been limited by delays in getting her refund.
“It’s ridiculous,” White said. “I have other things I need to pay for.”
Johnson said students sometimes play a role in the slow transaction of their money.
Students cannot receive their refunds until the drop-add period is over, which was an extra week longer than last year. Also, students must send the proper documentation to validate their identity, which then must be approved by a series of people before receiving the refund. This process takes an extra two weeks, which makes the wait seem longer.
“We want to make sure that we are not an impediment to any students completing their studies or learning here at Lincoln,” Johnson said. “We actually want to be a benefit to them.”
To check debit-card balances or add money, go to www.lincolnchoice.afford.com.
For more information, go to the Bursar’s Office. Walk-in appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The office is open until 5 p.m. every day.