Thursday, August 05, 2004

Financial Aid?

I get these great ideas for posts and yet when I sit down to write, I draw a blank. Thus, I have begun a list of posts to write in the future. Every now and then, however, a daily crisis surges to the top of the list. Today's dilemma is the come from behind winner. The cost of higher education is outrageous. That's a given. Why is it then, that Universities get you coming and going? Bendover Rover, you're a college student.

For the first time in my entire drawn out college career, my account has been put on the dreaded "hold." I have not paid my summer tuition. There are lots of reasons for that, as you can imagine from previous posts. Sometimes real life gets in the way. More about the dreaded "hold" in a minute.

My financial aid for the 2004-2005 school year is considerably less than in years past. Why? Well, I called (and FINALLY was able to speak to a real live person in the Financial Aid office) and it seems I have now exceeded the lifetime max for unsubsidized loans as an undergrad. There's a lifetime max?! Who knew? Just because it took me 15 or so years (and numerous classes) to finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I am now penalized. But OK, I can deal with that. Luckily, when I go into Grad school in the spring, my odometer goes back to zero. This means that I can rack up yet more debt that will someday have to be paid back - but I don't want to think that far ahead. I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it. I want to continue on for a Ph.D., and yet I shudder to think what that will cost in the end. Let's just say that my current debt is second only to the mortgage at this point, and growing exponentially. Good thing I'm not a finance or math major, lest I'd never be able to sleep at night.

So back to the "hold" and what that does for me. First, it lumps me into a group of "deadbeat" students who are looked down upon by the administration. People in the Finance Office actually use a different tone of voice when speaking to me - like I'm a small child who has been caught stealing a candy-bar from the 7-11. Second, it allows me to do NOTHING. I cannot view my grades and transcript, I cannot add or drop classes, I cannot even fill out the evaluation for the crappy French teacher I just endured. My University handles most transactions online now. The only function I can access due to my "hold" is the "Pay by credit card online" feature on the website. OK, I get the point.

After C. talked me down from my state of hysteria (which he's so very good at), we determined that once my fall financial aid money hit, everything would wash out by September. Well that's not going to work either. Just for grins and giggles, let me throw a little math at you: the University has just billed me for the fall as well as the summer. I now owe them a total of roughly $3,681. My fall financial aid is $2,750. OK boys and girls, you do the math and you see that it's not going to cover it. BUT, there is hope. I am currently enrolled for five classes in the fall, two of which I no longer need as I took them this summer. *IF* I drop those classes, my balance would be $2,661. Bingo right?! Wrong. Because you see, since I am on the dreaded "hold," I CANNOT drop those two classes.

So you see my friends, they f*%k you at the drive-thru.

Cat

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Blogger Christopher said...

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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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