Financial aid sees major changes

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

Bakersfield College’s financial aid department and Kern Schools Federal Credit Union will part ways after their five-year contract comes to an end in December.  U.S. Bank will take over the responsibilities of dispersing financial aid payments starting in the spring semester after winning the bidding contract with BC, and students will be receiving new identification cards early in the spring semester according to Primavera Arvizu, director of financial aid, scholarships, and EOP&S.

“All financial aid students will receive a notification via email explaining the process, and then pretty soon there will be some marketing in regard to informing students of how it’s going to work, options that they have, the website they need to go to and so forth,” said Arvizu.

Students receiving financial aid in the 2014 spring semester will be mailed a check for the first disbursement of that semester because of the small window of time the financial aid office has to switch the disbursement process between banks.

“I think just the timing of everything in regard to getting cards and the timeframe of setting that up, the first round will be mailed and then after that the card should be received,” said Arvizu.

She doesn’t expect too many hiccups in the process, and said that as long as financial aid students have met all the requirements and obligations to receive their disbursement, the payment should be in the mailbox at the same time they normally would’ve gotten the payment directly deposited into their bank account.

“There’s not going to be any delay in the process in regard to wherever we’re at in awarding, but in regard to the students receiving their aid, it’s just going to be the first time they’re going to receive it in the form of a check,” said Arvizu.

She said that she’s received many questions from students worried about how this transition will affect their payment, and how it will affect their current bank account with KSFCU.

“We are getting concerns from students, which they have every right to be concerned with, because they’re wondering ‘What’s going to happen with my Kern Schools account?’ So I made sure I voiced

the concerns at the meeting to make sure we’re on track so students can be properly notified in regard to what’s going to happen with the old card, when are they going to get the new card,” said Arvizu.

KSFCU senior vice president of operations and marketing Michael George said that students need not fret as any BC student who currently holds a campus checking or campus savings account will be able to keep those accounts without any changes.

“If you have a campus account, you will get to keep it, the parameters are the same.  We’re not closing any accounts or anything like that,” said George.

He also said that the KSFCU office located in Campus Center 4 will be closing at the end of this semester, and the KSFCU ATM located across from the Fireside Room will be taken out as well.Students on financial aid will be able to determine themselves how they want to receive their financial aid payment once they get their new ID cards.

“The students will have options.  Once the information starts coming down to financial aid student, because they are the first group that’s going to receive the cards, it’ll let them know what their options are.  So if students want to keep their account with Kern Schools, there will be options to choose from,”said Arvizu