By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University’s announcement that it is delaying financial aid and scholarship funds has some students struggling to pay bills.
“The tuition disbursement freeze is unacceptable,” student Frederick Moose wrote in an email to YSU trustees and administrators. “Some of us rely on that money to not only pay to tuition, but to also supplement a part-time job or to pay bills and rent while we’re in school. Without that financial aid, I’m going to have problems paying rent come September.”
Moose copied the email to The Vindicator.
“The students of this university have a right, as payers of tuition, to know what’s going on,” Moose said in the email. “I can’t speak for all of campus, but the faculty members in the Dana School of Music work very hard to make sure that we all get a valuable education, and any of us in the music program will vouch for it. ...”
The university sent an email to students announcing the delay and attributing it to the uncertainty surrounding contract talks with the faculty union.
“We have received many calls and emails from students who are concerned about the delay in financial aid disbursements,” said Ron Cole, YSU spokesman. “That’s very understandable. There’s a lot of concern, worry and angst, and all of that is very understandable.”
He said the university is doing “everything we can to resolve the contract so we can move forward” and get approval from the department of education to disburse financial aid and scholarship funds.
Last week, YSU trustees rejected a fact finder’s report that would have given union members raises of 0 percent, 1 percent and 2 percent and raised the amount they pay for health insurance.
The union, which had approved the fact finder’s report, issued a notice authorizing a strike if an agreement isn’t reached by Aug. 26.
Fall classes are to begin Aug. 29.
In a news release, Julia Gergits, president of the union representing YSU faculty, pointed out that in 2005 when the union went on strike, the university didn’t take action to delay financial aid and scholarship funds to students.
Financial aid and scholarship funds were to be disbursed beginning Friday.
The university said payment due dates also will be adjusted.
“The U.S. Department of Education has advised YSU not to disburse financial aid funds until we know for certain when fall semester classes will start,” said the email sent by Gene Grilli, vice president for finance and administration, and Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs.