Every year with this sh*t. EVERY YEAR.
Now, I definitely know that this is a post my peers can relate to.
Every year as college students, we go through the process of filling out FAFSA and spending endless hours searching for ways to get more money to pay for school.
Whether you’re looking to find an extra loan or more scholarships/grants, Waldo has nothing on the hunt for financial aid money!
I can honestly say that it’s a struggle, but when you do find some, it’s like your favorite deity has come down and blessed you with their bare hands.
And just then you think “Wow, they almost got me this year…now I can relax.” If this is you, you’re either a Freshman or must have amnesia from last year’s fiasco. The problems have just begun my friend.
You would like to think that your work is over but it’s not. Now you have to spend the next couple of months on the phone (or at the stupid window) with your financial aid office trying to make sure they aren’t “f**king the money up.”
The financial aid and billing office of several colleges and university is the real stressor of students these days. Shoot! Dealing with financial aid has been harder than some of my classes.
First off, they never contact you to tell you something is wrong. They just sit there and wait for you to take notice or worse. Sometimes they will wait till the day before classes start to threaten to drop all your courses if you don’t have the $20,000+ dollars for tuition paid by 8 am. Like really? You couldn’t tell me this a month ago?!
Then it’s the “you have to get this form and that form” goose chase. It gets so crazy sometimes you end up filling the same app twice, for them to tell you to fill out a third because the information on the first two don’t match.
Gosh! It makes me so mad I could slap them with a whole ream of paper and yell, “Then you fill it out!”
I transferred from a small university to a large one and they both gave the run around, but my large university takes the cake.
Why are the billing and financial aid SO separate that they have no clue that the other even exists? In the past month, I’ve been going back and forth between the two, just to make sure they are on the same page.
This year hasn’t been as bad as other years though because, as a super senior, I found ways to conquer the financial aid battle.
I have developed (based on past experiences) a system of routine checks. This has been working for me since Summer 2010, the summer before my sophomore year (yea, I learn quick!).
The check-ups begin usually right after the fourth of July. I usually check my account online twice a week and call in once a week just to verify that everything online is what they have in office. You may think that’s doing a lot, but you’d be surprised at how often I catch mistakes. Between this week and last week they “lost” my master promissory note and overcharged my account $2,000. So trust me, the check-ups are worth it and have made my financial process go by WAYYY more smoothly.
Not many students can say they’ve had a positive encounter with their financial aid offices or advisor. Usually the interactions involve headaches, tears, attitudes, screaming, cursing, and this one time I even witnessed security taking a girl out.
This shouldn’t be the case at all. The financial aid office should be making the whole process of paying for school simpler, but we ALL know this isn’t the case.
My advice: Keep Calm and Stay on Them, Before They Get on You!