Students at Haskell Indian Nations University have been waiting for their award letters and many are wondering why the process is taking so long for some of them? HINU student Kaitlen White said, “Ever since financial aid has moved to Stidham Hall the process of receiving award letters and pell have gotten slower than how it was at Navarre.”
Carlene Morris, HINU’s Financial Aid director, has been working nonstop to make sure that the students of Haskell get what they need. Morris said,
“There’s many factors that play into why students are not getting their award letters. First and foremost we had moved from the Ed-Express system from the past couple of years into the Cam system. So we had some challenges with the system not working as fast or as accurate as I’d like it to work. Because I am responsible for all the funding and keeping the university in compliance then I have to make sure I dot my ‘i’s’ and cross my ‘t’s’. If we should get audited… the fines can go anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 per incident.”
Morris also explained that the Financial Aid office struggles underdeveloped technological infrastructure that slows Internet speeds and greatly increases the time it takes to process student files. She also suggested that the administration could save time and decrease foot traffic in the Financial Aid office by implementing a student portal which would allow you to see your financial aid status online.
Another challenge that the Financial Aid team face is staffing shortages, Morris explained to the Leader that her staff has decreased by half since the office was relocated to Stidham from Navarre, leaving only two fulltime employees (including herself) and one part-time student worker. According to Morris, her office is not currently equipped to handle so much with so little.
Kelli King, the Financial Aid office’s scholarship coordinator, said when asked about the scholarship process,
“it generally takes about two to three weeks from the time we get the scholarship in at Haskell. And like Carlene said sometimes that timeline is impacted by staffing, getting a hold of your tribe, and getting the information we need to process the awards.”
Morris ended the interview by saying that she wants to thank all the students who have been so patient and understanding about the struggles her office faced this semester.