Some WSU students still without financial aid due to computer glitch

PULLMAN, WA - From adjusting to a new set of classes, to investing in another semester-load of books, starting a new school year can be rough on a college student.

That's especially true for a large number of WSU students who were unable to collect their financial aid checks for the semester.

"On the first day of school, we had a glitch, if you will, that caused some 10,000 students to suddenly find themselves without financial aid," said WSU External Communications Executive Director Darin Watkins.

According to university officials, the glitch was due to a new computer program.

"What it was is we have a brand new system in place called 'Zzusis' that handles all of our student information," said Watkins. "We also have some older systems existing on what's called the main frame. Well, it turns out there was a program that was a bridge program in between the two that failed."

The failure was fixed within 24 hours. But some students experienced issues even before the first day of classes.

"We had to get it planned out and ready to go before we even got here, and my Mom couldn't even get onto it," said WSU senior Brooke Moore. "So it started early in July."

Between the students adjusting to the new computer program and the system failure, the financial aid office is dealing with an incredible amount of backup.

"We still have a number of students that are without their full financial aid," said Watkins. "Most students have partial aid."

School started more than a month ago and many students are still without money, and without answers as to when they will get their aid.

"I still don't know when I'm getting my money," said WSU Junior Sabolcs Pasztor. "I think I'm getting it next week."

Pasztor is able to laugh about the situation now, but he has become a regular visitor to the financial aid office. And he took out emergency loans to pay for his rent and groceries.

"I mean just yesterday, when I found out that I might not have enough money for tuition, I felt like crying... just cuddling up in a corner," said Pasztor.

Moore feels fortunate that her parents found some extra money to help her pay for school while she waits.

"My dad was able to help me out, but I'm just waiting at this point," said Moore.

And that's all the students can do until the financial aid office is able to work through the backlog of cases.

WSU has set up some financial aid programs to get students by. They are interest-free short-term and emergency loans available, and there will be no late tuition fees this semester.