By Allen Mena
Despite Lehman’s relatively low-cost tuition of under $10,000, most Lehman students still rely on financial aid and have mixed feelings about their experiences with the office of distribution. A majority of students receive financial aid; around 85 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. However, several students reported difficulties with the process.
“It hasn’t always been a pleasant experience,” said Samantha DiDonato, 19, an undeclared Lehman sophomore. “Part of the staff is friendly and cooperative during complicated situations. Others have been rude when I ask questions and made some processes more difficult for me than they need to be.”
“Sometimes the staff would become annoyed with me if I didn’t have the proper information or documentation at the time of my visits,” said Catherine Rodriguez, 20, a junior biology major.
“There have been times where the staff have breaks and do not let anyone on the waiting line know, which I found rude to everyone trying to get help with their forms,” said Steven Morano, 19, an undeclared sophomore.
Other students reported overall positive experiences with the office.
“I believe the experience with financial aid is helpful. In the end I get the money I need for my classes,” said 19-year-old Richard Castillo, a nursing sophomore at Lehman. “Because of my specific case, it hasn’t been easy, but by asking questions, taking notes down, and following directions, I’ve been able to get through the process.”
Lehman’s financial aid system works similarly to that of other colleges. It gives students the funds for college in three main ways: loans that must be repaid with interest, grants that do not have to be repaid in most cases, and work-study, which provides students with a part-time job to earn the money to pay for their tuition, room, and/or board. Each track comes with its own prerequisites which can seem less daunting when financial aid staff explain them to students.
“My experience with Lehman financial aid office was positive and the staff really took the time to answer my questions and fill out complicated forms,” said Precious Oporum, a sophomore biology major.