Most post-secondary institutions across BC were affected by the glitch
Megan Amato // Associate News Editor
As students began to shuffle back into classes after the winter break, many faced new anxieties when they didn’t receive their student loan funding on Jan. 6. The delay was due to a glitch caused by a system change done by StudentAidBC.
“[StudentAidBC] was required to make a system change to the student financial aid system, which communicates out electronically and automatically with student information systems at the various post-secondary institutions across the province,” explained Kyle Vuorinen, Registrar at Capilano University. “It caused our automated process, which confirms that students are actually enrolled and eligible for financial aid funding, to stop happening.”
The glitch occurred across most large post-secondary institutions across BC who use the same student information system called Banner. Capilano University found out about the technical error via an emailed communication from StudentAidBC on the Friday before the holiday break—just as everyone in the sector went on holidays.
“We’re part of that Consortium that works with an IT consultant who has designed our financial aid system to work in conjunction with StudentAidBC’s financial aid system. So once we were informed about this issue, the contractor immediately went to work with coming up with a fix for the solution,” Vuorinen said. “Unfortunately, due to the time of year, […]the fix was not put into place until early January.”
Many students experienced a delay of up to a week after the expected disbursement date. This may seem like an insignificant amount of time to some, but for the many who count on financial aid for textbooks, rent, food and other living costs, the lag in funding may have added to existing start-of term anxieties.
“It was alarming for a bit that I didn’t get them right away. I generally find the whole process frustrating,” said Emily Bridge, a Liberal Studies student at CapU. “I use my student loans to supplement my living expenses on top of my jobs. Having to wait another week and not knowing when I would receive my funding created additional stress.”
While students were not informed of this issue by the University or StudentAidBC, the Registrar’s office at Capilano has since talked openly with the students who have contacted them about their missing funding. “One of the things that we communicate is that the earliest that funds will be available to [students] is the first day of the semester,” said Vuorinen. “While we were a couple of days behind in terms of releasing the funds, they weren’t significantly delayed and I was pleased to see the fix was put into place as soon as it was technically possible.”