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Discuss financial aid transfer with old college before switching to a new one

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix woman says her financial aid is approved and sitting in an account waiting for her use but she can't access it because of bureaucratic red tape.

This specific type of problem can arise when you're getting financial aid and you've decided to withdrawal from one school and start taking classes at another.

Even if your financial account is square, there is an action you have to take at the old school if you want your financial aid to be accessible to the new one.

"I was anticipating a surgery," Angela Nieto said.

Nieto knew she would be hobbled for a while, so she decided to withdraw from classes at the University of Phoenix main campus and enroll for an online course at Gateway Community College. Nieto says her financial aid for 2012 was fully paid to University of Phoenix.

"I knew my next financial aid year for 2013 was coming up and I decided I would use it for Gateway," Nieto said.

But when she enrolled at Gateway, there was a holdup. University of Phoenix had sent her 2013 aid, $4,700, back to the lender. Gateway claimed it couldn't access that money because the old loan period was still valid. Nieto says University of Phoenix didn't agree.

"They never heard of adjusting the end date of a loan, they would not do it, and they said they could not do it," Nieto said.

The cash was stuck in limbo. Nieto says she spent weeks on the phone with both sides, but neither school could figure out the paperwork issue.

"I was very frustrated. It seemed like both parties did not want to help me at all," Nieto said.

When CBS 5 reached out to University of Phoenix, a solution was found.

"After you got involved, they did make contact with each other, and the disbursement went through. I appreciate your help tremendously. I don't believe they would have went through with this as quickly as they did, unless you got involved."

This entire problem boils down to one thing: Our viewer never talked specifically to a financial aid advisor at University of Phoenix during her withdrawal. She didn't see a need because she was paid in full and was moving on, but that's how she ran into trouble.

If you're getting aid and making a switch like this, the financial aid people at your old school must start the process of getting your lender to initiate future aid to the new school. Go over the paperwork involved with a financial aid counselor before you officially withdraw, and you shouldn't have any of these type delays in getting your money.

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