Financial aid refund checks come in at the start of every semester. With 87 percent of students at CCNY taking out school loans, many receive the check, the remaining money a student receives after paying all of the school dues.
But are refund checks really being used for the right reasons, such as to buy school supplies? Or are students using them to splurge on unnecessary things?
Freshman Jacob Myers was completely shocked with the money he received, pretty much for free. “I did not take out any loans because I had enough financial aid awards for the semester,” he says. “The refund check I received, was literally free money!”
How did Myers spend the money? “As a first year student at City College, I didn’t know any better,” he says. “I ended up taking a shopping spree with the money.”
Other students used their refund check money for the right reasons. Rita Decker, a senior at CCNY, was one of the more responsible students. “Refund checks are supposed to be used to buy things like books, and school supplies,” she says. “I use my money for both school supplies, and for transportation (metro cards).” Although as a student you can receive refund check money, some students have to actually pay back the money that they borrowed. Many low income students are haivng trouble receiving their refund check money since CUNY First has been down.
Cynthia Jenelle, a financial aid staffer, says many students take out loans in order to get cash for splurging. “In the beginning of the semester so many students come prepared to take out a loan [and] many of the loans taken out are in order to splurge instead of using the money to buy school supplies,” confirms Jenelle. “Some students also have other responsibilities such as paying their rent, and other bills,” she adds.
Still, a loan isn’t free money. Students will eventually have to pay that money back.