Having A Loan Moan

, , , , , | Learning | February 1, 2018

(I work at the Student Services department at a college. My office processes scholarships, grants, and loans for students. The general timeline given to new applicants is 12 weeks for processing after submitting the official application, and we hold workshops regularly so students are fully informed before requesting a federal loan. This happens the morning after a workshop was presented the previous night, after business hours.)

Student: *who has been waiting in line since we opened the office* “Here’s my ID. I need to check on the status of my loan.”

Coworker #1: “Let me check on the notes, since I see you submitted an application two weeks ago, but nothing shows that you have submitted a loan request in the system.”

Student: “I already know both are separate processes, but I was told you guys would expedite my loan request.”

Coworker #1: *looking confused, since we do not expedite loans, generally* “I see… Well, maybe it was not properly logged into the system and one of our specialists has the actual loan request on their desk. When did you say you submitted the documents?”

Student: “A long time ago! Does it not show that it will be expedited in the system? I need the money today, so I need to know when the funds will hit my bank account.”

Coworker #1: “Oh, I am sorry to tell you this, but you must have misunderstood. Expediting a loan request would be prioritizing it and reducing its processing time, but you would still be scheduled for the very first authorized disbursement, which is not until four weeks from now, in February.”

Student: *audibly and visibly upset* “That’s not what I was told at the workshop! I was told my request would be expedited!”

Coworker #1: *who has led workshops in the past and knows current procedures* “You must have been misinformed; we apologize. There are many factors that have to be verified before the loan is approved, such as enrollment units. But I will find your request and confirm whether someone is working on it and has any updates for you.”

Student: “Yes, and I would also like to speak with your boss.”

([Coworker #1] then leaves to check on every coworker’s desk, looking for the student’s file. [Coworker #2], who happened to lead the loan workshop the previous night, walks into the office and asks what is going on. Both coworkers then realize that this student just attended the required workshop last night; therefore, his loan request could not have been logged in or reviewed by today.)

Coworker #1: “Thanks for waiting. I found your request on our pending files, and that is why it had not been logged into the system. You turned it in last night, after business hours, when our system was already turned off. I thought you said you had submitted it long ago?”

Student: “Long ago, a while ago… I submitted my documents yesterday after the workshop and I was told they’d be expedited.”

Coworker #1: “So… your documents were submitted yesterday night. It’s been about twelve hours since then, and we just turned our computers on again this morning half an hour ago. I am sorry, but there has not been enough time for us to even log your documents into the system, much less review them and process them.”

Student: *audibly upset again* “I thought I’d be getting my funds by this Friday!”

Coworker #1: “If approved, we can expedite your request, but it would still be scheduled for February. How many units are you enrolled in?”

Student: “I haven’t enrolled in all the classes I want yet. So, how do I know when my loan request will be ready, then?”

Coworker #1: *frustrated* “One of our specialists will call you to give you an update as soon as your request is fully reviewed. But you have to be enrolled in at least six units.

Student: “Six units? You guys make it hard to get money! I will be contacting your boss and the Department of Education.”

(The student left in a hurry before our director was called to the front. Later that day, we confirmed what we suspected: no one had told the student his request would be expedited. Even so, how can a college student that has just attended a comprehensive workshop assume a federal loan will be manually processed overnight and be ready the very next morning?)

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