Opinions: Long lines and headaches

Trent Gautney, Opinions Reporter

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To many students, the most stressful part of college has nothing to do with the educational aspect of it. It is the seemingly endless battle to secure financial aid.

Making this struggle even more difficult for UNF students in particular is the fact that the university’s center for assisting students with this task is at times completely inept at doing so. 

Many students will have the same experience when going to UNF’s One-Stop for any sort of help: long lines and headaches that in many cases yield no resolution to a particular issue. 

Considering that a large number of students rely on financial aid (69.5% of students at UNF apply for financial aid), it would seem as though the service provided to help students receive this aid would be quite important. For many students, whether or not they receive their financial aid can determine how many classes they are able to take in a semester- or if they are even able to take them at all. 

Unfortunately, UNF’s One-Stop is notorious for providing very little help to students trying to receive funding. Emails containing important documents are ignored, forms take weeks to process, and issues with financial aid paperwork are never resolved. These problems lead to many students not receiving their financial aid on time, if they receive it all. 

It is unacceptable that any student should lose their financial aid based on a lack of communication and timeliness on the university’s side.

The idea of One-Stop is not problematic in itself. Rather than being forced to go to different departments to deal with issues surrounding admissions and finances, One-Stop was created as a place where students could go to take care of a range of issues all at one time.

According to One-Stop’s website: “One-Stop Student Services provides a single point of communication for issues ranging from undergraduate admissions, academic records, registration and financial aid.”

On its face this sounds like a great way to streamline the entire admissions process for students and make it easier for everyone. However, UNF’s One-Stop has proven less to be the one place for all issues and more so as the place where issues remain unresolved. 

This is not the fault of the employees at One-Stop, many of whom genuinely seem to want to help students. It is just very difficult to do this when they are given the task of dealing with all of the aforementioned issues at any given time.

With a student population of just under 17,000 students, it makes sense that one modestly sized department cannot handle issues with the same quickness, intensity, and care that multiple departments focused on each issue could. While it may not be as streamlined as packing all of these issues into one department, I would assert that splitting these departments would lead to less issues and more convenience in the long run. 

While it would be nice if I could walk into the post office to send mail, renew my driver’s license, register to vote, and file for taxes, there is a reason that these things have different departments: to make sure that stuff actually gets done.

One-Stop may have been created with the best intentions, but something clearly needs to be done to prevent more students from losing out on their financial aid. 

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