Hundreds of Rogers State University students received their financial aid reimbursements after a technical issue forced the school to dispense them for nearly two weeks, the school said Wednesday.
Even though 59-year-old Army vet, Alain Pepin isn't your typical college student, he still has school spirit.
"I love this school," Pepin said. "I think it's a jewel in this community."
But Pepin said it's partially because of Rogers State University that he has next to nothing in his bank account right now.
"Thirty-two cents," he said.
Pepin said his battle with colon cancer cleaned out his family's emergency funds. He was supposed to receive his $2,500 financial aid reimbursement two weeks ago, but he still hasn't gotten it.
Pepin had to stop going to class and picked up a job to make ends meet.
"I had no choice but to go to day labor to bring something in, just to meet the bills," Pepin said.
Pepin is one of more than 800 students who did not get their financial aid checks on the day for which they were scheduled, September 16.
RSU administrators said employees are working around the clock to resolve the issue.
"Our staff has been working a lot of overtime, a lot of weekends," said Tom Volturo, RSU's vice president of finance and administration.
Last fall, RSU started transitioning to a new software system called Jenzabar, Volturo explained. The software will eventually handle all of the school's accounting, HR, payroll and financial aid.
The switch is taking longer than expected; the school is working with Jenzabar staff to get through software bugs.
As a result, the school said it was forced to delay processing the refunds.
In the meantime, some students said they couldn't pay their bills on time.
"People that are getting medications, they're behind on their bills, rent's due on Friday," Pepin said.
RSU said about 800 students finally got their money Wednesday. The rest — less than 100 students — should get theirs by Friday.
The university said it notified students several days before the reimbursement deadline the school would not refund the money on time, and updated students in the interim.
University leaders apologized several times in emails and press releases.
"Students are our top priority," Volturo said. "This would have been the last thing anyone would have wanted to happen."
The school offered no-interest emergency loans through the Financial Aid Office and set up a food pantry on campus for those affected.