Student Association Columnist
Recently, SUNY Oneonta began enforcing a pre-existing federal policy regarding financial aid. This policy states that financial aid is only to be granted toward Degree Applicable Credits (DAC) for a student’s primary major. Once completed, that student would be on his or her own to fund any additional studies.
The change in enforcement resulted from Academic Advisement’s switch in degree auditing system from Arrow Sheet to Degree Works. This new system clearly states the status of completion of the primary degree for students. Because of this, the college can now enforce the aforementioned policy easily, thus requiring them to follow federal policies.
Many students who planned on coming back to school for the Spring 2015 semester to complete a second major were not expecting these changes to be enforced. Some could not come back this semester since they had already completed one degree and would not receive any funding for another.
News of this enforcement was not well received. Many students, especially those who were enrolled in a dual-major program, were outraged by the college’s sudden enforcement as they were not aware of the policy. Some even insist that the federal policy discourages higher learning and goes against the college’s mission as a whole.
While I do agree that this policy’s sudden enforcement is rather unfair to many people, it’s also important to realize that the college has no choice but to follow federal regulations when it comes to such policies. With the ease of finding course requirements through Degree Works comes the ease of auditing a student’s coursework. Government financial aid providers can now easily see if a student’s course requirements for one degree have already been met, so in the case that the student is a dual major they can follow this policy and disqualify him or her from any future financial aid.
It’s important that any student currently pursuing a dual major checks in with his or her financial aid counselor regularly to ensure that he or she can receive as much aid as possible during their undergraduate career. The Financial Aid Office at SUNY Oneonta is here to make sure that all students stay on track to get a degree in as little time as possible while also accumulating as little debt as possible. It’s important to stay informed on what you, as a student, need to do to ensure that you receive the most from financial aid.