Aid system to be revamped

Los Medanos College’s Office of Financial Aid will implement a new way for financial aid funds to be distributed to students. Starting this summer semester, the option to receive funds through direct deposit or a prepaid college cash card will be offered to students at Los Medanos College.

Students currently receive funds in the form of a mailed check. According to Los Medanos College Financial Aid Supervisor Jennifer Ma, there was interest across the Contra Costa Community College District to give students more options for receiving their financial aid funds. All of the district’s three colleges and its accounting office made the decision to sign a contract with a third party servicer, Blackboard Pay.

“We are excited to partner up with Blackboard Pay, so that students are given more options on how to receive their financial aid funds, and can receive their funds faster,” said Ma.

Once this is fully implemented, students with financial aid will be given three disbursement options — a direct deposit of funds into a bank account of their choice, a deposit sent to the prepaid college card or a mailed paper check.

Ma said the biggest problem they may face with this upcoming change would be getting the word out to students.

“It’s challenging to get students attention during this time of the semester, because they are too busy with what’s going on in their classes — midterms, prepping for upcoming finals,” said Ma.

LMC students Daja Stevenson and Rose Johnson think the new program will be a breeze. Johnson said she wishes the school had started this process a bit sooner because she is leaving this semester and it would have really helped her.

“It’s smarter, easier and you could get your money faster,” said Stevenson, who previously went to Antelope Valley College, where they had the same fund distribution system. “I didn’t think there were any downsides to having it,” she added.

Financial Aid Assistant Tamara Carreon said she sent out emails to LMC students regarding the first informational session April 12, in an effort to make students aware of Blackboard Pay and the direct deposit, but not many people showed up. Financial Aid assistants and coordinators have not yet received training for the new system, but the office’s goal is to have this done by May, before the start of the summer semester.

If you have any question you can email Ma at [email protected]. Additionally, Carreon will be sending out more emails to students with details about the new payments.

For more information visit the financial aid webpage on the school website or stop by the Office of Financial Aid in the Student Service Center, Room 309.