At a forum last night, students raised concerns about the way financial aid is distributed at the University.

During the event, hosted by the Michigan Student Assembly, about a dozen students, including MSA representatives, discussed their negative experiences with the financial aid process.

Numerous students complained about the ambiguity of certain charges on their student accounts, saying the University should better organize student costs on Wolverine Access.

LSA sophomore Maricruz Lopez described a lengthy, difficult process in which she struggled to find scholarships for which she was eligible. After being turned down for different scholarships and, in some cases, misinformed about their requirements, she continued to press the University’s financial aid department for what she thought would be an appropriate aid package. Lopez said a meeting with the financial aid office’s appeals director helped boost her grants and Perkins Loan.

“All in all, it ended up increasing my financial aid by $2,100.” Lopez said.

Lopez then described other concerns also with her financial aid. Lopez, a Mexican citizen, said she was forced to take off a semester because of complications with her visa. Though her visa was approved for renewal in September, Lopez said the University wouldn’t disburse her full amount of financial aid grant because her previous Visa was set to expire in December.

Lopez said she thinks it’s a problem that many international students face when their visas expire.

Most students at the event agreed that the University should do more to boost financial aid and lower the burden on middle-class students.

Lopez provided advice for those present at the meeting, saying a student sometimes has to have a certain mindset when looking for financial aid.

“Go in with the attitude that, ‘I am not leaving this office until I get the money,’ ” Lopez said.

MSA Rep. Gibran Baydoun, who led the panel, said it was the first time MSA has specifically cited financial aid as an issue the group would like to address. He said he was pleased with the event, because it generated discussion among students about widespread financial aid issues.

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