Glitch in system gives refund check recipients high hopes

Paola Marizan

Brittany Bailey, a junior social work major and 21st Century scholar, almost lost that scholarship because of a glitch in the system that a number of students noticed this week.

“(21st Century and I) saw that I was supposedly getting a refund of $3,000 and they almost took my scholarship away,” Bailey said. “If I am getting a refund, then they don’t expect me to need a scholarship.”

She said she has never experienced anything like this in her three years at USI. She went to the Office of Student Financial Assistance, where a student worker showed her a different amount via the administrative login.

“I told them the situation and that I didn’t know where the money was coming from,” Bailey said.

She said she didn’t want to take money she didn’t need and have to pay it back later.

“It would’ve been nice to have a refund,” she said. “But it just wasn’t right. It wouldn’t have been right to have possibly gotten the refund without knowing where the money came from.”

Bailey said the process of receiving her scholarship will take longer now.

Students who receive the 21st Century scholarship may have noticed a larger credit amount on their USI account than what they will actually receive.

Director of Student Financial Assistance Mary Harper said students who are seeking a cash advance, are waiting for a refund or have a debt with the university should check their accounts regularly.

“On the student’s award screen, students should be able to see what their financial aid is – on their MyUSI. If a student feels that the amount is incorrect or that an award has been duplicated, then immediately (they should) come to the financial aid office,” Harper said.

She said there are things students have to do to make sure their award is sent to the office from the State.

“In other words, if the student has done everything that they are supposed to do, then the State will notify us that they’re a 21st Century eligible recipient,” Harper said. “And then everything pretty much for the most part goes on smoothly.”

Harper said the State sent an email indicating some technical issues that have since been resolved.

“State aid eligible recipients at USI have received notice from the State of Indiana, student aid division, that they have been experiencing some technical difficulties,” Harper said. “We have experienced a bit of a delay in receiving award recipient names from the state.”

Harper said the financial aid office has been delayed in applying aid to the students’ accounts, but by the time refunds are ready to be calculated, they don’t anticipate any problems.

“We feel like we have the correct information in our system,” Harper said.

She said students with any questions can go directly to the financial aid office and talk to a representative.

“In general, the USI student population is very respectful of the fact that we also have to follow federal and state regulatory requirements,” Harper said.

Junior Social Work Major Carina Phillips also had some trouble with her refund amount.

“I kept checking my refund and it said I was getting nearly $8,000 back, so I planned accordingly with that refund in mind for my bills and other debts,” she said.

But when Phillips checked her account Tuesday, she noticed she was getting a $5,100 refund.

She has not addressed the situation yet because it doesn’t affect her schooling in any way, but she said it will affect her personal life.

“I am so grateful to have a refund at all because I know some students don’t get anything back,” Phillips said. “But I really wish they would have double checked accounts before (putting an amount) into the system.”