Federal Financial Aid Snafu Expected To Have
Minimal Impact On B.C.

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Despite nationwide delays in processing federal financial aid forms, Boston College will not be seriously affected in determining financial aid for 1996-97, according to administrators.

The delays have been caused by computer malfunctions and other problems at the federal level. Because the University has adopted a more streamlined process for determining financial aid, administrators said, it has largely avoided the difficulties some institutions might be experiencing.

Though some colleges and universities will push back their deadlines for deciding financial aid awards, Boston College will, in most cases, adhere to its May 1 deadline.

"Boston College will be sensitive to the situation, because we truly do not want any students to be disadvantaged in regard to financial aid," said Dean of Enrollment Management Robert Lay. "We do not anticipate any impact from the federal delay here. However, we will be offering some flexibility to those students without some financial aid-related information. We will stick to our deadline and make exceptions where truly necessary."

"Our staff has worked very hard and we have already processed more forms than last year," said Financial Aid Office Director Bernard Pekala. "The changes and refinements we have made in our system during the past year or so have served us quite well and we feel we'll be able to assist students and their families."

The main reason Boston College has not been affected, administrators said, is that it now relies on the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE system to obtain information about prospective freshmen, instead of the standard Financial Aid Form, which must be processed by the federal government. PROFILE reduces or eliminates the need for separate institutional applications and students can provide all the information up front to apply for private funds at the institutions or scholarship agencies.

PROFILE applications may be filed via paper, the telephone or electronically, enabling the University to process and award aid earlier in the academic year. Also, students who used PROFILE as freshmen do not have to fill out forms during subsequent years.

"We began using PROFILE last year and so this completes the first 'cycle' for our new system," Pekala said. "Obviously, we are quite encouraged and we hope to continue improving the service we provide."

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