Erroneous student bills cause temporary panic

Contributed photo: Students and parents alike were shocked when their bills did not include pending financial aid, resulting in exorbitant charges.Contributed photo: Students and parents alike were shocked when their bills did not include pending financial aid, resulting in exorbitant charges.Recently, Student Financial Services encountered a problem with the bills sent to students for the spring term. They were able to respond and find a solution as soon as they became aware of the situation.

A parent called inquiring why the aid was not displaying on the bill, according to Carrie Newman, Director of Student Financial Services.

Apparently, the bills did not include the pending financial aid for students. It was then that they noticed the problem and immediately sent an apology letter before they sent out the new bills.

According to Ruth Ettwein, Student Accounts Administrator, under a thousand students were impacted by the problem, which was solved in less than 24 hours.

The call was received at 8:30 a.m and by 9 a.m a solution was in place. They sent the statements to a company and it takes them a couple of hours to process them.

Even though not all students were affected, e-mail was sent to a little bit over a thousand students.

“We produce bills for all different populations across all of our campuses and recently this year in 13/14 we have gone from one calendar for all campuses to multiple calendars across campuses and we have multiple student populations and the complications that have arose from those multiple calendars, I would say has led to just a manual update error,” Newman said.

Fortunately, the problem was solved as soon as they possibly could and they did not receive any complaints from parents or students besides the call that made them aware of the situation.

“We do make every effort to ensure the correctness of the statements and we are always willing to answer any questions that the students or parents may have,” Newman said.

“We do work very hard on our customer service commitment and providing superior customer service to our students and parents. So we were saddened by the error but knew that the students still qualified for the aid.”

Newman also wanted to remind students that FAFSA renewal filing has already begun, so those who want to file a refund should remember to do so by March 15 and spring financial aid refunds will begin Feb. 14 for most students. Students may also view their e-bill anytime via the portal.

For more information the Student Financial Services office is located at old main 115, open from 8:30-4 p.m Monday through Friday.

Students can schedule individual appointments as well. They can also be reached at or 814-824-2288 for any further questions or concerns.