You know it is true what they say about the squeaky wheel…

by Janie Jones

So, Stickittoyou U upgraded their software in April.  Of course this creates all kinds of little problems.  The main one is that my summer class starts next Monday and they *still* don’t have the financial aid awards calculated.  This means I’m supposed to start class in a week but I have no real confirmation that there will be any loan money to pay for it.

The website said it would be available May 2nd.  On May 4th I skedaddled on down to the office to politely ask when I could expect to be told how much financial aid I could have.  They said hopefully by the end of the week.

Well the end of the week came and went and still no notification of whether or not I’ll be getting enough loan money to pay for my summer classes.  So this morning, after freaking out about this for the last week, I, the bundle of barely contained hysteria that I am, skedaddle a second time down to the financial aid office and try, with every frayed fiber of my being, to politely say I still hadn’t received any notice of my financial aid for summer.

Well, basically I was told they *might* *maybe* have that info by the end of *this* week.

But, I tried to say, I start class on Monday.  I need to know before then whether or not I’ll have financial aid to pay for it.

To which I’m told that I should just go to class on Monday and if it turns out that my financial aid awards aren’t ready yet, no biggie I don’t have to pay for tuition until June 22nd.

But, I tried to say, if there ends up not being enough financial aid, how will I pay for the class?

To which I’m told I can always withdraw.

But, I tried to say, you can only withdraw for 100% refund within the first few days of summer classes, and what happens if the withdrawal day comes and goes before you get your act together and tell me how much loan money I can have.

To which I’m told then I can petition for late withdrawal due to the late posting of insufficient financial aid.

But, I try to say, even if you approve my petition on these grounds, I don’t *want* to drop the class.  I *need* this class this summer if I want to graduate next spring.  Being forced to withdrawal due to not having enough financial aid will delay my graduation a whole year.

To which I’m told I should get a private student loan.

Okay, I say.  I’ve never had to do that, can you tell me anything about how that works?

To which I’m told I need to find a bank who will give me a loan.  I need to apply and be approved.  I should expect the process to take a week or two.

But, that’s not much help, still won’t know before I have to start class!

To which I’m told, it’s not their fault.

But I say, it sort of is, you are behind on your financial aid calculations you said you were going to have available over a week ago.  If you had told me then to make other arrangements, I would have had more time to look into private loans.  Now it’s too late, and I shouldn’t have to worry about this while I’m supposed to be studying for finals.

To which I’m told they understand but they really have no control over what’s happened and there’s nothing they can do.

I highly doubt that.  But I ask then who I can complain to because this situation is unacceptable.

It seems the main campus down south is responsible for the timing being delayed due to the system upgrade.  They chose to do the upgrade when they did, but no matter when it was upgraded there would always be some department or some system that would be inconvenienced.  I’m told I just have to be patient.

To which I said, I have been patient.  I’ve been a saint.  There is no excuse for this.  Students should have a right to have their financial aid information available more than the Friday before classes start.  And you can’t even guarantee I’ll have it by the end of this week.

Oh, yes.  I’ve been more than patient.  But I’m quite done being patient now.  And you’ll have to excuse me.  I need to leave before I become a screaming, raging mess.

But, once I finished screaming and crying (safely back in the empty lab), I called the science college office and complained.  I called the the Stickittoyou U Chancellor and complained.  I typed a very nasty letter to the editor I considered submitting to both the campus newspaper and the Big City newspapers.  A little later I complained to my boss when he showed up.  I complained to my coworker when she showed up.  By this time I was a little less Incredible Hulk and a little more Bruce Banner, so I went down to the campus bank to inquire about loans.

On my way I complained to my academic adviser.

I then discovered the campus bank doesn’t give student loans.

When I finally arrived back at the lab my coworker asked how it went, and I complained that the bank on the campus didn’t give student loans.

By now this was becoming so ludicrous we both began to laugh.  Me because it masked the steady loss of what little sanity I can lay claim to, my coworker probably because she was afraid not to laugh along with me.

Somehow in all this drama 5 hours had elapsed.  I decided I might as well go home and try to go through the charade of studying for my microbiology final tomorrow.  And, just as I was packing up my stuff, my cell phone rings.

Apparently someone instructed the financial aid office, and my money is on the Chacellor’s office, to call me and give me a verbal notice of what my financial aid would be when they finally finalized the award letters and sent them out at this unknown future date.

Amazing how suddenly they can release this information.  And, they can be very specific too.

So, it turns out that not only will I have loan money available but there will be plenty to go around.  Thank goodness.  You know, I hate having to take out loans for school and living expenses, but it’s the only way.  And, then when you don’t even know if you will have that, it really can put you in a spin.  With that one phone call to give me my information a huge weight lifted.

Now I can move on to panicking about my final.

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5 Comments to “You know it is true what they say about the squeaky wheel…”

  1. Well done Janie! They needed to hear that- it’s not just yourself you’ll have helped! Great stuff.
    Good luck with the exams x

  2. What a nightmare! I’m glad it’s sorted but you really shouldn’t have had to go through it.

    • Nightmare indeed. You know, in the midst of it all I kept telling myself that in theory there should be plenty of loan money and I shouldn’t worry or let the delay bother me. But then there was this voice screaming “What if?!?” and “You shouldn’t have to start a class not knowing, regardless.” It felt very unjust and I couldn’t let it go.

      I wish it hadn’t bothered me so much, but I was very glad to get some satisfaction out of all my complaining. Seems as though every one I talked to outside of the financial aid office thought it was shocking that this was happening, so there was some validation and comfort in that, too.

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