September 04, 2007

I am THE one

Well, today I got urgent news. My add/drop abilities were canceled because I had not paid all of my college tuition. Johns Hopkins thought that I still owed over $11,000. That would then bring it to full price, even though I got financial aid, and I know that they know I got financial aid.

So, I've been having problems with them since April. Once they finally told me what I needed to do (after numerous phone calls with numerous people.... some of which no longer work there), I immediately sent it in so that I could get my financial aid. Turned out that I needed my lawyer to write a 3rd party "no-contact" letter. The day I receivedthe letter from my mom's lawyer, I faxed it over. almost immediately.

Then I got my financial aid offer. A $3500 federal loan, work-study, and a Hopkins Grant. This was better than the Cornell offer. To go on a tangent, Cornell & the other IVY leagues guarantee 100% of your financial need to be covered with aid. This, I have found is not the case. I can understand them offering loans, that is not my problem with it. Although i hate them, I understand that loans offer valuable skills for the future, such as budgeting and credit. However, when Cornell broke down the financial offer into different sections, it was different. In the loans section, there was, again, the Federal loan, a Cornell loan, and a loan that I had to look for MYSELF. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but what kind of aid is that to me.?! I would have to research and obtain a loan all by myself. that's not aid, but this isn't the point of the story (which, btw, keep up with the financial aid officers. call them. often.)

Then the bill arrives in July, and I pay off what it said that I had to pay through an e-check. the way the system works, you don't pay for the part that's expected financial aid. I signed the eMPN (federal loan), and accepted the Hopkins grant. I thought I was all set for the new school year. But then something funny happened. My bill said that I was all paid up, that i was completely ready, whereas my account summary had me owing over $11,000. Not fun. So I called up the office, and they fixed that. Okay, all done.

But today I got an email stating that my add/drop privilages were going to be denied because I hadn't paid. So I checked my account, and it said that I still owed them money! They weren't supposed to let me in the university if I still owed money at this point! For some reason, I checked my financial aid offer, to make sure it was still there. And yes, indeedy, it was still there. But it said that I hadn't completed it all. WHAT? that's what the lawyer letter was supposed to do. And the website said that they received it and accepted it. So why wasn't the other stuff waived?

So, I call them. Of course, no one answers, and after a long rant with my mother over administrations, I print all the pages, gather everything possibly related to my financial aid/billing, and I head over to the actual building to camp out in front of their offices. And what time do they decide to tell me? Right when I had an orientation activity that I paid for. I want my $30 bucks back for that Inner Harbor trip that I spent in an office trying to straighten out their goof. Anyway, I get there, and apparently, I'm not the only one with a problem with the financial aid. From the little bits of conversations that I heard, all the kids with the last name Kim got messed up, and well, they just didn't follow through on me.

After waiting FOR-EV-ER for the counselor to come, I grab the lawyer letter, proof that I faxed it to them on the same day as the letter was written (which was back in may) and the records of all the phone calls I had with them. They simply didn't follow through with what they had to do. They had entered in my letter, but they "conveniently" forgot to click that it waived the non-custodial stuff. Well, there's a fine howdy-doody. Now, folks, I know follow through is my big problem, but, that's usually with cleaning. NOT WITH OTHER KIDS COLLEGE CAREERS. As you can probably tell by this long rant, i'm really really mad about this.

Then, they had the nerve to tell me that it wont' be fixed until 4:00 pm tomorrow. bugger. So I work my way down to Student Accts/billing to go fix it myself. Really, these departments should be next to each other and/or integrated. no one talks to each other. I need the add/drop ability to get a required class (i'm dropping macro-economics for mechanical engineering 101+Lab), and I can't wait for the financial aid to clear, because, well, the way its been going, I don't know when that will happen. So I wait a few minutes, per the financial counselor's request, then I get to billing, and yet again, theres a line. Whooptido. lines. When its my turn, I tell the guy that i really don't owe the $11,000+, that I'm working on it w/financial aid, and that i need to get rid of the restrictions on my account. You see, it wasn't my fault that you guys don't talk to each other. Then, they had to go verify this information, because the written note + fax records + lawyer letter + numerous phone calls just couldn't cut it. Then, the guy said that i was right, but that he was only able to get rid of the alert, but couldn't fix the billing problem.

I immediately check the financial stuff once I get to my dorm. Its all waived now, but the money still hasn't credited to my account. If its not there by, like, 4:30 pm tomorrow, guess who's going back down to financial aid. Not to mention, now there's yet another form to fill out. Nice. Thanks for telling me ahead of times, folks.

Now, I don't drink, nor do I ever plan to drink. But after today, I was seriously like, "now I need a drink" sort of thing. Communication is the key. Follow through is the new f word. So I purchased a ginger ale from the market below the dorm and I binged on M&M's while watching two movies and knitting. by this time, I had already missed the bus for the Access Pass/Inner Harbor trip, so I was stuck around campus. So i might as well feed my soul with some knitting.

I ran out of yellow yarn for my knitting project. I guess that hat is gonna remain an UFO. I did a little more work on the scarf, but it really doesn't look that big of a difference. its about half way done. the next step for the scarf includes decreases in moss st. which I've gotta figure out. wish me luck!

My advice to the high school seniors applying for financial aid: Call, and call often. Things are often muddied up with administration, and will only get done if you consistently talk to them. It really is a good idea to get to know them. And you don't want to talk to the guy on work-study acting as a secretary. You want the actual counselors, and if they don't help you, the deans. don't stop until it gets done. Actually listen to this, by the way, it could save you a lot of hastle in the future. I even did this and it still got screwed up. talk to financial aid.

End rant. Tomorrow is gonna be a bright new day "with no mistakes in it, yet" (yay for Anne of Green Gables.)

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