Problems with Southern University’s financial aid system, which occur at the beginning of almost every school year, are spilling over to the Southern University Law Center.
Southern Law Center Chancellor Freddie Pitcher said Tuesday he is frustrated the new computer system implemented this year is keeping law students from receiving their financial aid refunds to cover textbook costs and other expenses.
Pitcher said he is hopeful the issue can be resolved Wednesday. Nearly 600 students can then begin receiving their checks.
“Students are complaining, and I want them to get their money,” Pitcher said.
Banner is the Southern University System’s new, computer-based student information and financial aid system that was installed in every Southern campus.
“We’re at the mercy of the people who are running the system,” Pitcher said.
“They should’ve had a backup plan,” he added.
Ed Pratt, spokesman for the main Southern campus, said, “We are aware of the situation, and we are working around the clock to solve it.”
Southern law student Yesha Pittman, who is the student liaison, sent an email to her fellow students Tuesday after meeting with Pitcher to express optimism that the problems could be resolved this week.
“While I understand the growing level of frustration and declining level of patience with this process, I am asking ALL students to maintain your professionalism when addressing members of faculty, staff, and administration,” Pittman wrote.
As for the main Southern campus, the financial aid problems are largely fixed after nearly two weeks of students standing in lines and dealing with rescheduled meetings.
“It’s actually mellowing out,” Student Government Association President Demetrius Sumner said. But the initial transition to the new system was “rocky,” he said.
“I’ve likened it to using Microsoft Word for the first time and having a dissertation presentation the next day,” Sumner said.
But Sumner did say he expects the process to be much more “seamless” next year once everyone is adjusted to the new system.