Chancellor to address refund check process

Many students breathed a sigh of relief in the event of the early arrival of refund checks last week. Prior to the disbursement of checks, a number of students were angry about having to come out-of-pocket or get a book voucher to purchase books for classes that had already begun. Another major concern was that other students in the UNC system had received their refund checks already, although their schools had not opened as yet.Aggravated students joined the group “The NC A&T Refund Check Uprising” on the popular online community, the Facebook, and shared stories of financial despair. The group reached 1,087 members as of Tuesday morning.Antoine Lilly, a graduate student from Durham and creator of the group, says that his focus is being a positive voice, and that students must learn how to get their point across without negativity.”We’ve made a difference, but money doesn’t quiet the movement. We are agents of change, and we will continue to voice our concerns to help our university become what we need it to be.”The term “Aggie Tenth” is used to describe the 1,000+ population of the group, representing over 10 percent of the A&T student population. Described as a “peaceful, organized group that is looking to make a change,” it attracted over 600 students in its first two days of establishment and served as a central location for breaking news and information on the disbursement of refund checks from the Dowdy Administration Building, including a letter of concern which was sent on behalf of the members of the group. The spring 2008 refund information has been revised and updated. It is now on the Web site for all students to find all the details that they need. The information has been disseminated via the student listserv, according to Mable Scott, associate vice chancellor for public relations.Lilly, along with a few students including Marcus Bass, Student Government Association vice president of external affairs, developed the idea to start a movement after becoming aware that many students were financially unstable upon the first week of the spring 2008 semester. They also met with Chancellor Stanley F. Battle, where they discussed the issue and voiced their concerns.Battle says that the registration process has been an ongoing problem at A&T for several years, and that a part of problem is that students are not filling out their FAFSA forms on time, which holds up the refund checks. In some cases, students will get a refund check and withdraw from the university. Nonetheless, he is fully aware of the students’ anger.”They have a right to be upset if we don’t do our job,” he said. “If students are upset, it is unsettling, and this has an impact on how we run our school.”Several students have already received their refunds by way of direct deposit, and continuing full-time students have been able to access their refund checks since Jan. 23th. New, transfer, and part-time students will receive theirs on Jan. 31, 2008, and first-time direct loan borrowers on Feb. 15, 2008. “We want to be responsive and responsible,” he said. “It’s a two-way street and a responsibility for the student as well as the cabinet. The priority here is to serve students, but if there are forms to fill out, they must be filled out.”The administration has plans to drastically improve the registration and refund check process by the summer of 2008 in preparation for the upcoming fall.”We are going to have a much better process,” Battle said. “We certainly will.”

  • Keisha Thomas