By Emmanuel Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
The CSUSB financial aid website is too simple for its own good and potentially serves as a barrier to receive department guidance.
The cost of attending higher education continues to increase.
Receiving financial aid is becoming more and more crucial.
“The website was kind of helpful, but calling the office and talking to someone was easier,” said CSUSB student Christen Jennings.
“Put more info on the website so I won’t have to spend extra time on hold,” added Jennings.
The information provided on the CSUSB financial aid website is thorough in covering topics such as applying for aid, Dream Act information, and links to student employment.
However, the information “was very vague and some of the links did not work,” said CSUSB student Stephanie Rodriguez, when she checked the website as an incoming freshman.
To gain a better understanding of what a financial aid website should offer, I randomly chose three other Cal State Universities’ websites to compare: Northridge, Fullerton, and Long Beach.
After surfing through their respective Financial Aid homepages, I found that while our website may be more aesthetically pleasing and less intimidating in respect to presenting the information, the other schools’ websites are more helpful—much more direct from the get-go.I based my conclusion solely on their homepages.
The other Cal State websites do not necessarily offer more information, it all seemed standard.
However, the information is more accessible with links on their homepage.
I didn’t have to stumble through Cal State Long Beach’s financial aid website to learn of their policies on eligibility—it’s on the homepage under “Policies.”
“They could revamp the user interface, including more information on the homepage,” suggested CSUSB student Cesar Marin.
A telephone number to contact the office is not on the homepage or any other page relating to the financial aid office that I have encountered, which made it difficult to contact the office.
The location of the office on campus is strangely absent on the financial aid website.
The contact information and location of the office are shown when “CONTACT CSUSB is clicked—as well as on a “Connect with us” link to their Facebook account, which I overlooked because I didn’t want to “Like” the page, I wanted the information I sought.
However, not everyone shared my reactions to the website.
“It was positive, it steered me in the direction to finding a solution to some problems,” said student Julia Suarez.
I initially found the CSUSB website less intimidating when comparing it to the others because it presents the information in fewer giant blocks of text.
The CSUSB financial aid website offers vital information to students, but must elaborate—particularly with alternative procedures—and needs to be more accessible from the homepage.
Hopefully, soon, the website will be expanded and redesigned to meet the standards our fellow Coyotes deserve.