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A student advisory board to address concerns with financial aid will launch a semester later than planned.

In spring 2014, student leaders of the 5B — the coalition of umbrella groups for minority communities — met with Student Financial Services to propose and implement a board for early this fall. However, it will now officially launch in January 2015.

The board is meant to address a perceived gap between SFS and minority students, who may face financial circumstances that are not addressed by the standard financial aid formula. It will be made up of nine student members from across the schools.

The University’s Director of Financial Aid Joel Carstens said that he realized in spring 2014 that the board would not be ready to launch in the fall, but did not have a specific reason for the delay.

“We just wanted to make sure we were moving forward in the right direction and if that takes a little bit more time to accomplish, we’d rather get it right,” he said.

Students were worried when they first learned about the delay.

“One of my complaints was that I was speaking with people from our past board, and they heard the same rhetoric, like, ‘It’ll be developed in a semester,’” said United Minorities Council chair and College senior Reggie Stewart. “Hearing the same thing a year later is really frustrating.”

The 5B continued to email their contacts and brought up their concerns again with President Amy Gutmann at an earlier meeting this year.

“We let them know what our concerns were specifically with the timeline in hopes that they would advance it,” he said.

After a recent meeting with SFS, though, Stewart said that he and the other students are now happy with the results because the plan for the board includes more detailed guidelines. He called the meeting a “huge turnaround.”

In spite of the complications, he remains hopeful.

“Yes, it’s a semester longer, but I understand how things work,” he said. “It takes a lot of fighting to get something done, but as long as the University stays committed to helping its students and shows that through working hard to develop the advisory board, then I think myself and UMC will be happy.”

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