Editorial – UPJ throws lifeline to the burdened

Some students received a scare last month in the form of demands from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The agency was asking more than 300 students to pay back portions of tuition grants.

These additional sums in students’ PittPay balances were a result of reduced agency grants.

This problem was widespread this year because of state budget issues and Pitt campuses having different and rising tuition rates.

Students had balances of hundreds of dollars in their accounts and were even asked to pay retroactively for the fall semester.

It’s asking a lot for students to gather hundreds of dollars on such short notice.

College students, especially those who can show financial need for tuition grants, meticulously account for their expenses.

They are not likely to have  extra cash for situations like this one, nor would they wish to spend it on a grant they believed they had.

But Pitt-Johnstown administrators have stepped in to eliminate the cumulative anxiety.

It’s estimated that administrators will use budget money to cover more than $100,000.

About 10 percent of our students were affected by the surprise bills.

And the university had no obligation to make up for the grants’ reduction.

So kudos to Pitt-Johnstown administrators for understanding the problem as well as students’ needs and funding the money.

The administrators stepped in at the right time to take care of the students.

Officials said the surprise billing addition is unlikely to happen again, but we can have more confidence that, in a pinch the administrators will help out.

Financial Aid Director Jeanine Lawn said she is happy with how everything turned out.

It is certain that about 300 students would agree.