By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Montana State University-Northern plans to try a new way to send financial aid information to its students - over the Internet.
"We'd like to give it a test run, maybe next fall," Vice Chancellor Chuck Jensen said told the Student Senate at a meeting earlier this week.
The information would be sent to all students via their assigned university e-mail address.
Dan Hartmann, president of the Associated Students of Montana State University-Northern, said some students oppose using the option.
Some of the concerns students have include not having a paper copy of the forms, having to check extra e-mail accounts, being unfamiliar with the university e-mail system, and having to forward the information if their parents handle the financial aid, Hartmann and members of the Senate said.
Jensen said Northern will still mail paper copies, adding that the university would like to show students that the e-mail method can work.
"I think there are a lot of benefits to it, but we want the students to be comfortable with that medium," he said.
Hartmann said he heard rumors that the university had decided to switch to only using e-mails for financial aid information despite student objections. That, obviously, was not what was happening, he said.
Jensen said many of the concerns students have can be addressed. The e-mail sent to the university address could be automatically forwarded if students would prefer to read it at another address, he said.
The university needs to educate its students about the university e-mail system, he added.
The electronic system has advantages aside from a cost savings to the university, Jensen said. For instance, students would keep the e-mail addresss if even they move. Students sometimes move several times during a semester, and Northern could mail the information to the wrong physical address.
"Your student e-mail address is your student e-mail address whether you move or not," he said.
Hartmann and Jensen agreed during the meeting that the students and the university administration would work together to find a middle ground.
"Just because other colleges are doing it doesn't mean we have to," Jensen said. "We have to do what's right for our students."