Tammy Mutasa, Mesquite Journalist
Issues with financial aid at Eastfield and other college campuses have forced students to drop classes and struggle with paying for school.
A financial aid disbursement mess left hundreds of Dallas County Community College District students without financial aid for months.
The district needed to reorganize its financial aid process, but encountered some technological issues with a new centralized call center along the way.
In addition, it did not have enough trained staff to deal with an influx of applications.
This year, 20 percent more DCCCD students applied for financial aid than last year.
"All of those pieces took time in order to implement the process, so there were some delays," said Sharon Blackman, of the DCCCD. "Therefore, the application process seemed a long time for students because, if they had it in by the spring, we didn't get everything processed until August."
Between 500 and 700 DCCCD students experienced delays.
Eastfield College students such as Alexis Edwards say they can't do much without money -- especially if they still have to buy books and supplies.
"I haven't been able to get half of the supplies to pay for my classes," she said. "I'm still waiting on my money to get books, to be able to get the supplies."
Edwards said she has been waiting for her aid money for nearly three months.
Bellamino Garcia said he ended up dropping a class he couldn't afford because his aid took two months to arrive.
"Now the students are worried about ... finding ways on paying for their classes, instead of focusing on the class," he said.
The district said it is working with students who do not yet have their aid on a case-by-case basis.
The financial aid reorganization will cost the district nearly $2 million.