Delays in loan payments for Trinity students from the United States sparked discussion this evening at Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council.
Several US students have experienced delays in receiving their student loan payment, which they expected to receive in January. Speaking to Council, International Students’ Officer Molly McCrory explained that students were facing issues paying Dublin’s “insane rent” costs, in addition to tuition and living expenses, while waiting to receive the delayed payments.
TCDSU President Shane De Rís outlined that he had contacted Academic Registry, which told De Rís that the US Federal Aid service had not authorised the payment of loans until last Friday, and that Academic Registry is now disbursing the loans.
However, De Rís noted that it is a “problem that could happen again” and warranted a discussion to seek solutions.
Speaking to Trinity News, McCrory explained that US students faced a “confusing” situation and had reported receiving different information in correspondence with Academic Registry.
“The most consistent information is that this was partly caused by the shutdown but is mostly an AR/Trinity problem,” McCrory said.
“These students are dependent on their loans to pay for their tuition as well as things like rent and food,” McCrory continued. “It is horrible that they are going through this.”
In an email from Academic Registry seen by Trinity News, Academic Registry issued a “sincere apology” to students for the delay in issuing funds. According to the email, Federal Aid disbursements were scheduled to be processed last Friday. The date on which students receive the funds is expected to vary depending on their bank.
Academic Registry assured students that “no late payment charges” would be issued relating to fees which were due to be paid by January 31, but were unpaid due to the delay in granting loans.
Speaking to Trinity News, Law student Sinéad Flynn, who comes from Illinois, explained that her experience with the loan disbursement process in Michaelmas Term left her “disheartened” due to delayed payment and slow communication from Academic Registry.
“There was so much uncertainty, non-existent replies, and no good explanations,” said Flynn, who was not able to register until October due to a delay in the issue of her funds.
Flynn submitted her loan paperwork in July, at which time she sent two emails to Academic Registry regarding the loan which were unanswered. At a meeting with Academic Registry on September 14, Flynn was told that she would be able to register on the my.tcd.ie portal within thirty minutes of the meeting. However, she remained unable to register until the following month.
“We pay incredibly high fees, incur a lot of interest on our education, and AR cannot process these requests in an organised fashion,” said Flynn.
TCDSU Council took place this evening in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI).
The second hustings of the sabbatical officer races are set to take place later this evening following Council, which will see candidates field questions concerning equality issues on campus.
Additional reporting by Michael Gilna and Finn Purdy.