2,500 UDC students don't have their federal aid checks
The University of the District of Columbia is two weeks late in getting federal aid checks printed for an estimated 2,500 students, essentially the entire UDC student population dependent on aid.
Spokesman Alan Etter said UDC was caught unprepared this fall after the federal government changed lending rules to put more responsibility on colleges to disburse aid.
Legislation approved in the spring eliminated a $60 billion program that supported private student loans with federal subsidies and replaced it with direct government lending to students. By ending the subsidies and effectively eliminating the middleman, the student loan bill yields $61 billion in savings over 10 years.
UDC converted to the federal Direct Lending Program on July 1, along with all other higher-education institutions. Direct lending put a greater burden on colleges to issue aid checks to students, Etter said.
House Republicans and lending industry lobbyists who opposed the measure had envisioned a messy bureaucracy replacing well-run private-sector operations.
Colleges spent many months preparing for their newly amplified role in lending. But UDC was not ready.
"We didn't have the technology in place that would allow us to cut a great number of checks at the same time," Etter said.
No checks had been issued until yesterday, when the institution began printing them in "small batches."
"We hope to have this cleared up within a week, maybe a little longer," Etter said. "It was a technological glitch. We should have realized that we couldn't handle that capacity."
In a letter dated Oct. 8, UDC Vice President Valerie Epps told students, "please accept my sincere apologies for the delay." The letter promises checks "on a daily basis" until everyone is paid.
Etter said U.S. Department of Education personnel are helping UDC get the checks mailed out and that "we are getting control" of the tardy mailings.
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Daniel de Vise
| October 14, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
Categories: Aid, Community Colleges | Tags: UDC aid, UDC aid checks, UDC student aid checks late, UDC student loan checks late
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