ASU students still struggle over financial aid -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

ASU students still struggle over financial aid

Santo Nina Santo Nina
Bria Williams Bria Williams
ASU President Dunning ASU President Dunning

Financial aid problems continue at Albany State, prompting Interim President Art Dunning to issue a statement this week, saying an investigation revealed serious misconduct by several employees.

We're learning more about years of improper actions and misspent money at the Albany State University Financial Aid Office. A University System investigation shows many students who were denied aid were granted more appeals than allowed.

One office employee got more than 270-thousand dollars in federal student financial aid even though the student had a long history of changing majors and dropping classes.

Three employees processed class withdrawals, which is only supposed to be completed by the registrar's office. Students were also being "over-awarded", given a year's tuition for a single semester.

ASU Senior Bria Williams has stayed busy all semester, finishing up classes and getting ready to graduate. That's why it was stressful when she didn't get her financial aid money on time.

"I'm a graduating senior and I graduate in December, so I have things like cap and gown and books to pay for, and other expenses, so I kind of rely on aid, because as a student worker I can't work all the time because I have classes and I'm taking an overload this year."

We're working to learn more details about the investigation into the Financial Aid Department, but no one from Albany State will talk to us.  ASU's Interim President Art Dunning did release a statement, saying the investigation revealed serious misconduct, and they are taking appropriate disciplinary action, but gave no specifics

Students are relieved to hear these issues are being resolved. "I actually like the way he's handling it, it's very professional, the only thing I would hope for is it's better for the students next semester," said Williams.

"Well I felt like it's amazing, because it assures us that the president has our backs," said Santo Nina. "I'm glad he's handling this because a lot of students are just now receiving their money. I actually have a friend who just received his refund."

But Williams says it's also embarrassing as rumors swarm about what exactly happened. "It's kind of like this is our home, so this is how people look at us, and we are Albany State University, so for us to actually experience something like that, it touches our hearts and it represents us."

And for students like Santo Nina, who have several more semesters until graduation, they hope for the best.  "It was good that they handled this correctly because I have to deal with financial aid for another two to three years."

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