No more lines at financial aid

Hour long lines at Pierce College’s Financial Aid office are a thing of the past now that they have implemented a virtual line system through the QLess app to cut down on waiting times and increase student productivity on and off campus.

This new system was implemented during the summer and has replaced the previous method of physically standing in a line. While not new to other colleges in the area, its introduction this July was a first for Pierce.

Anafe Robinson, the director of financial aid, saw that the new virtual line system be put in place as a means to keep student productivity high amongst students coming into the office without having to queue in a physical line around the Student Services Building.

“In the past we would have the line snaking all the way to the parking lot in a 110 degree weather,” Robinson said.

With this new line in place, Robinson believes that the students can attend more activities while waiting for the new queuing system to call their number.

“We initiated this queue list because students could then be in the library, they can be in the cafe, they could be at home, they could study and be productive in their time while waiting,” Robinsons said.

The virtual line system functions mainly as an appointment role call algorithm. Those who sign up for the line earlier receive a place closer to the front of the line, but if there is something that intervenes with their appointment, they may choose to go back further and come in at a later time.

According to Paul Mendoza, a student assistant, the line system itself operates within the Financial Aid’s office hours.

“Since we have a lot of students and there’s only a limited time, and the system takes in a lot of students, which gives us a lot of waiting hours, and the system automatically closes itself,” Mendoza said. “So, by the time of 8:30 a.m., it closes the system and we can’t handle students anymore.”

By the end of the first week of this semester, Robinson estimated that the number of people that had signed up for appointments at the Financial Aid Office was just over 200 people.

Laris Begin, also a student assistant, believes that she sees 90 people a day.

“The lines have been pretty hectic,” Begin said, “But the queuing system helps us manage them a lot more than the physical line did.”

The virtual line system can be accessed by students interested in making appointments with the Financial Aid Office via the QLess app or on the Pierce College website under the “Fees and Financial Aid” tab.