Debiting from efficiency: new refund system hurts students

Money is something on every college student’s mind; loans are often something they wish to never think about, but are, unfortunately, a malfunctioning reality.
An added stress factor is the refund check process at Mercyhurst, which lately seems to be malfunctioning.
The Office of Student Financial Services did not respond to requests for comment, leaving us to hash out what we know: Bills were due by Jan. 5.
The last day to Drop/Add classes was Jan. 7, but bills are for spring term and J-term, meaning the Drop/Add date was actually Feb. 4. Refund checks were not released until almost two weeks later. It makes sense that it takes time to process each bill for each student, but the negative effects this has on students throws a red flag on the entire process.
The typical refund check process is as follows: students take out a loan with more money than is on their bill.
The extra money shows up on the e-bill as a negative number, the amount the school must pay the student. That money comes in the form of a refund check.
This extra money is used for school-related expenses, such as purchasing books or buying food, even rent money for those who live off campus.
There is, however, a snag in the plan. The time it takes to process the checks seems to be getting longer and longer; which is detrimental to students who need this money.
Take for example text books: putting aside the fact that the booklist was not released until a week before classes this spring, students need money to buy them, often needing their text books for the first week of class.
If that money is in a refund check, you must go to the financial aid office to get a voucher that only works in the bookstore on campus.
Your money is only good at the bookstore where you will be paying sometimes three times the price of a book you could find on Amazon or Chegg.
According to Mercyhurst’s website, Student Financial Services is “committed to the pursuit of excellence” in “providing timely and appropriate information” regarding scholarships, grants and student loans, among other things.
The confusion many students faced over the new shift to direct deposit, in addition to the difficulty or lack of money when it is needed, shows a lag in Mercyhurst effectiveness, feeling shared by many students.