Robert Riccius-Gilbert is fed up with waiting in line for help with his financial aid.
Riccius-Gilbert, a senior organic agriculture major, has spent more hours in the financial aid lines than most over the past week. And after waiting more than eight hours in seven visits in the lines outside the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, his questions remain unanswered.
On Monday, Riccius-Gilbert finally decided to stop waiting in line even though he had not received all of his financial aid.
“I was just hoping my financial aid would come through and set me straight, but no,” he said.
The disbursement delay has affected almost every aspect of Riccius-Gilbert’s life. Without grants and loans, he is unable to pay rent, purchase books for his classes or even buy groceries.
Carly Engstrom/The Daily Evergreen
He reuses the back pages of old notebooks to get by in his four classes and three labs, he said.
If it gets to the point where Riccius-Gilbert must have textbooks and new notebooks to complete assignments, he will use his credit cards to purchase them, he said.
The situation has left Riccius-Gilbert with hardly any options aside from using credit cards or taking out private loans to pay bills for his cable, Internet and utilities.
“I come from a family where my mom is disabled and my dad is bankrupt,” he said.
Calling his family would only cause worry because they cannot help him, he said.
Riccius-Gilbert relies heavily on the financial aid he receives each semester, he said.
Normally, he gets enough financial aid to put aside an extra $3,000 after paying tuition. However, this year Riccius-Gilbert has only received enough in grants and loans to put aside an extra $800.
Zzusis glitches are to blame for his financial troubles, he said. He worked all summer to resolve issues he encountered at every turn.
During spring semester, Riccius-Gilbert dropped a class due to a registration error. The change brought him from full-time status to part-time and he had to file a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal to continue receiving financial aid.
“I came in three different times and they said (the appeal) was in the system waiting to be approved,” Riccius-Gilbert said, “and the fourth time that I came in they said it was no longer in the system and that I had never turned it in.”
It took him an additional three weeks to resubmit the appeal and get it approved, he said.
“It’s just frustrating because I want to be mad at somebody, but it’s no one here’s fault,” Riccius-Gilbert said.
Student error can play a role in disbursement delays, said WSU spokesman Darin Watkins. Last year, funds for about 1,000 students were delayed because of filing errors, Watkins said.
“I know this is an issue, but it’s not a problem,” Watkins said, referring to the ongoing disbursement delay.
It would be a problem if students could not attend classes, pay tuition or eat in the dining halls, Watkins said.
“The good news is nothing is really affecting the academic process,” he said
Though, that’s not the case for students like Riccius-Gilbert, who missed classes while waiting in line during the first week of school.
“It’s kind of ironic that I’m waiting in line to get money to pay for classes that I’m not there for because I’m in line trying to get money to pay (the university) to be there,” he said.