By Viviana Vidal
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not have a 2015 budget approved, which is creating a freeze in dispursing
refunds to higher education schools.
The notice means that students receiving PHEAA grants or a EAP award will not be receiving financial aid refunds starting Friday, Sept. 2.
As a result, many Pennsylvania students are left without anticipated funds to pay for their education and living expenses.
On Sept. 4, Jerry Silberman, vice president for administration and finance, sent an email to KU students providing insight on the delay. The office commented that the budget year for the state of Pennsylvania usually begins on July 1.
Within the email, Silberman noted the budget is normally resolved before students return to school, but since state officials have yet to agree on budget terms, students are left at a standstill.
Communication studies major Brandon Nelson told The Keystone, “I depend on that refund to help pay for bills, such as phone, food, gas and others. Right now my phone is off. Others are in worse shape. This is affecting a lot of people and it needs to be
One way KU is attempting to help students is by extending and increasing the normal bookstore account program. Students affected by the delay will have a chance to take out a second bookstore account, if needed.
Wendy Pursell, director of Office of Student Accounts, commented on the budget impasse and said, “We understand our student’s needs, and we remain on standby to release any funding that comes our way quickly and with urgency.”
For students who live off campus and rely on the refund to pay landlords, the Office of Student Accounts suggested to print out Silberman’s email and see if landlords would be willing to give extensions. They want students to be forthcoming and let their landlords know that delay in financial aid is due to state budget impasse.
Still students are feeling increased pressures as the semester continues without a finalized state budget.
Senior social work major, Tytianna Williams said, “As college students, we already have enough on our plate as far as studying, attending class, making ends meet on our own and the list goes on. We shouldn’t have to also worry about the financial cost when we qualify for grants to aid us to be able to attend school.”
One student concern is what will happen if a student gets less grants than they expected and then cannot pay the balance of tuition?
Pursell said, “If a student’s grant package does decrease because of changed enrollment or withdrawal, we will communicate with the students via electronic invoices and subsequently collection letters. The collection process is three months, so that would allow students time to look into other funding options and repayment.”
It still seems like deja vu for some who are comparing it to a similar budget incident occurring back in October of 2009. The impasse from 2009 went on to last for 101 days.