OPINION: Students need more working ATMs on campus

By Julie Santiago

One automated teller machines (ATM) for hundreds of ELANS is ridiculous.

There needs to be more options for the amount of students we have here at East Los Angeles College.

The lack of ATMs at ELAC has added another layer of difficulty for students this semester who are already dealing with problems with the SIS system and financial aid.

Hundreds of students receive financial aid at ELAC, and yet there is only one student-friendly ATM on campus located inside the library.

The other ATM located by the Grab N Go is not affiliated to ELAC and charges a fee every time it’s used, making it an inconvenient option for most ELANs.

Come disbursement time, it becomes a race to see who gets to this one ATM before it runs out of money or stops working.

ELAC has more than 25,000 students, the most in the Los Angeles Community College District.

Having at least two ATMs would be beneficial for the many low-income students who receive financial aid. Another advantage is the ATMs wouldn’t run out of money as quickly.

If a student encounters a broken ATM, they would be able to walk to the other.

The odds of both ATMs breaking down at the same time would be less if there were more.

“Sometimes it works. [the ATM] seems to [not work] when that one student needs it badly,” said librarian MJ Alonzo.

According to Alonzo, he’s seen the ATM reloaded about twice a month and more often when people begin to receive their financial aid disbursements and students. That’s when they begin withdrawing money in large sums.

The library does not have any official connection with BankMobile Vibe, the company in charge of the ATM, except that they call the company when it is not working, which is often.

Alonzo has worked as a librarian for 10 years and has never seen anyone repair it, but says the response time for money reload is good.

“If it is functioning, then it is out of money. I feel like it’s McDonald’s. The machine never works when I want a soft serve,” said Alonzo.

“It runs out. They need to have more on campus,” said student Cristina Moreno.

“I  download[ed] the [BankMobile Vibe] app so I know where they’re at,” said Moreno after seeing the ATM wasn’t working on more than one occasion.

According to the BankMobile Vibe website, there are four more ATMs within a mile radius of ELAC. However, it is unclear if they charge students a fee.

The library’s ATM location also poses some obstacles.

Since the ATM is inside the library, students can not get their money when the library is closed during the breaks or late hours.

In the past, Alonzo opened the door for students to use the ATM. Alonzo remembers when there used to be three ATMs on campus and thinks there should be more ATMs on campus again.

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