It is that time of the year again—waiting in long lines. Although fall semester is the destined busy season for many offices on campus, with even more new students admitted this year, are they ready for the challenge?
Despite the long line to purchase parking permits, Financial Aid Office also entered the wait-time contest. If you want to talk to a staff about your Pell grant or Cal grant during the week, be ready to wait in line for over an hour no matter how small your problem. And don’t bother to call either, because the staff would be working the front desk and all you will hear is the hoarse sound of a long introduction and “All our agents are busy, please wait for the next available agent.”
Friday was a better day to visit the Financial Aid Office; at least the line did not extend outside the door. Robert and his friend Janie waited in line for 40 minutes, he was a junior majoring in Chemistry. “I honestly just have minor problems with my financial aid, I’m sure a lot of people are. And that’s why the line is so long, because we all need to talk to the staff to solve it.”
With only three windows available and financial aid supervisors calling students in line one by one, the efficiency was poorly performed. Several students reported standing in line for over two hours, while others just quit to try again another day.
One staff member collected paperwork outside attempting to make the line shorter, but only a few raised their hands. Many came with questions about their documents. Although you could witness the staff trying to work as fast as possible, the number of students in line sometimes tripled or even totaled five times the number of staff.
Also, GET only tells you what you need to do and brief information on your financial aid situation, but if you want to solve a problem or have additional questions, there is no way to communicate with a staff other than calling or visiting the office.
Ana is new to Cal State LA and pursuing her teaching credential. “I work during the week so I could only come here [Friday afternoon]. GET doesn’t have the feature for me to take care of things online, so I have to come back here myself. The line before school started was really short though, I only waited for ten minutes.”
Perhaps more developments on the website or on GET would help with the highly jammed situation and save the staff from having a heart attack. Many online platforms have representatives answering questions live on the Internet or coded automatic replies to common questions.
As students, we should also note that taking care of your financial aid problem before the first week of school would save you a lot of time and energy. Need motivation? Just think about all the things you could do instead of waiting in line and staring at your Pokemon.