Request for a student ombudsman

By CLAIRE ANGLIMPicture 6

Mount Mary University should consider creating an ombudsman position for student assistance.

An ombudsman would have been helpful sophomore year when I switched my status to a degree-seeking student. I met with someone from academic advising and she had me fill out what I thought was the proper form; however, six months later when I met with my adviser, my status still had not been switched. I was then told to meet with someone else in advising … She found my form from the previous April that had not been touched and told me she would look into the matter.

After much persistence, I was finally told to reapply to Mount Mary and to provide the school with my transcripts again.

The following semester the registrar’s office miscommunicated my enrollment status to Fed Loan servicing, resulting in me having to pay a month of my student loan bill. When I went in to ask about this problem, no one showed any real concern or took responsibility for this mistake. An ombudsman could have served as a student advocate for me in this situation.

A final example where an ombudsman would have been beneficial is this most recent semester. I rely on my student loans for living expenses as well as to cover my tuition. I went to pick up my refund check only to be told there was a problem with my account. After making multiple phone calls and sending emails to the financial aid office, I finally called the loan office directly, where they were able to explain that my account looked great and that there was nothing wrong. An ombudsman could have helped me navigate the red tape of the university so that I didn’t have to go to the outside company to resolve my issue.

Mount Mary University is a small institution that prides itself on the individual attention it provides its students. However, I have never felt like “just an number” except here. An ombudsman would be a wonderful addition to a school like Mount Mary to provide students support and help when confronted with department issues.

Note: DEFINITION
An ombudsman is a neutral third party who assists in resolving problems, concerns and complaints through information means such as counseling, negotiations and mediation. The word originated in Sweden in the early 1800s when an office was created to investigate citizens’ complaints against the government.

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