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Monday, July 29, 2013


What's an approaching college semester without a good ol' financial aid rant, right? The two go hand-in-hand.

I'm not going to name any schools, or any people, but I'm so frustrated! Frustrated for myself, for my friends, and for a number of young people I'm acquainted with. And yes, it's all because of financial aid.

First, you fill out the FAFSA. You attach your tax information to it or you fill the info in, and you have it all sent to the school. Then you have to wait eons to get any words from the school, and most often, you're ordered to jump through hoops with little to no time given to do your jumping.

For the past two years, I've been "chosen" for verification, which means I've had to fill out extra forms, provide tax transcripts, etc. At first, I though it was because I manually filled in the tax information on my FAFSA, but I've since learned of others who did theirs manually instead of using the retrieval tool and have never been "chosen."

My financial aid came through this year, and I'm comfortable to start the semester. Many other people I know are not so lucky. I know one person who has been given a large number of hoops to jump through, completed them all (and can prove it), and yet here they sit, on the day their bill is due, with still no word on financial aid. That person is currently preparing to forget college for the fall and get a job instead.

Many others I know are in similar situations. They've done all they need to do. Yet the week their bills are due, no word. My daughter even got an email 10 days ago from the person reviewing her application requesting additional information because, as it turns out, she MISREAD the FAFSA. My daughter immediately responded to the email, and because it was past closing time when she received the email, called the next morning and explained the error. Ten days later, the week the bill is due -- nothing.

And what if it finally comes through this week? What if it finally comes through the day before the due date? Then there's the additional fear that the financial aid offered won't cover the bill, and we have a mere 24 hours to find that extra money. We're not wealthy. The economy of the past 5 years has killed us. Nearly ruined us. We have absolutely no wiggle room in our budget. What do we do next?

These kids, these students, they've done everything right. They worked hard in school. They were accepted into college. They did all that was asked, and now may see their college dreams dashed. In a society where even menial jobs are starting to require college degrees, it's something worth ranting about.


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