Washtenaw Community College in Michigan copes with new federal financial aid requirements

 
AnnArbor.com
 
Shelly McKinney spent part of an afternoon going back and forth between the financial aid office window and a nearby computer at the Washtenaw Community College Student Services building.

Her financial aid hadn’t posted and she didn’t know why; she needed to figure it out in order to register for a nursing class.
McKinney’s issue was that she hadn’t verified online that she’d started a new program.

That verification will allow WCC to track McKinney’s pace of completion, part of new requirements rolling out this fall under the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act. Students didn't have to take this step before this fall.

While the changes to the federal law aim to boost dismal U.S. college completion rates, the only thing they gave McKinney last week was a headache.
At WCC, there are headaches all around as the changes bog down staff and slow down services for students.

When McKinney identified and fixed the hiccup after about an hour of wrangling with the system, she jumped up and down when she confirmed her aid had posted online. She could take her course.

Those who haven’t verified programs by next week will be automatically dropped from classes, said Linda Blakey, the associate vice president for student services.
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