North Texas Daily

Students trapped in murky finances

Students trapped in murky finances

April 10
15:31 2013

UNT Financial Aid is at it again.  They have yet to post anywhere useful about the origination fees on student loans.

In my case, it was a discrepancy of $73 between the amount reported on my award letter and the total listed under pending aid in the MyUNT website.

I’m not happy with the existence of such things, but accept them.  What I do not accept is that I had to go hunting for information on why there was a difference between the two totals.

I did eventually find the information, but only by calling the Financial Aid Office.  They’re nice folks there, trying to be helpful, so please be nice to them. This problem isn’t of their making and due to automation, there’s no way for them to stop it in action to explain.

Sadly, however, while they could include the relative information in the award letters, they don’t.

One extra line of text could have avoided my confusion and what are doubtless many calls to their office each semester.

Further, in any other financial industry, they would be required to include that information in their notices, either as a general percentage for all loans or as a specific amount for each individual case.

That is, if UNT weren’t a public institution, they’d be breaking federal law. Go to any payday lender or car title place and they will tell you up front what the loan is going to cost with all fees and interest included as required by law. I write this hoping that UNT will be at least as faithful in reporting to borrowers as a payday lender.

I would be happy with just a generic note on the amount: a simple accounting line item would work. And yet, nowhere on either MyUNT or in their letters will you find it.

Every semester I’ve been at UNT, I ask about this line item because it isn’t on anything students get to see.

Every semester I suggest including it in future informational mailings and on the website.  It is available in the Financial Aid website, but you have to do some serious digging.

UNT is infamous for bad accounting. Its lengthy string of embezzlement cases in the last decade should be proof enough of that.

At its heart, this is just one more symptom of UNT’s terrible accounting that could be fixed with a single line item. This is an easy problem, but in the four years I’ve been asking about it, no one has done anything.

J. Holder Bennett is a history Ph.D. student. He can be reached at JasonBennett2@my.unt.edu.

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