- 2 years ago
- Wedding: June 2017 - Country Cottage and Gardens
This isn’t necessarily wedding related but in the end it affects my wedding and everyone I really talk to is at work. I work from home which is usually a blessing but then when everyone is not around when you need to vent then you’re out of luck.
A little bit of back story: I graduated a few years ago from a big state school, with an enormous amount of debt. My mom wasn’t able to help at all and for whatever reason I didn’t receive the financial aid that I believe I should have. My family contribution was only a few hundred dollars according to the government but I only received a few thousand in financial aid with a cost of attendance of over $20,000. Something is wrong with that picture. On top of that, the financial aid office there was a joke and was constantly making mistakes. There was constant fine print on top of that where I wouldn’t receive awards for various reasons. So I graduated with almost $50,000 of student loans. I’ve come to terms with that and know that it’s a big problem for people my age.
Then this year I got accepted into graduate school. I applied to a ton of programs and got into all of them. But there was one that was significantly better for my career and in the end they gave me most in scholarships. But of course it also happens to be in Boston, one of the more expensive places to live. But I found a service corps where you get a large portion of your student loan debt paid off if you work for them for two years (since I’m in social services). So I created my budget, accepted that I would be adding to my student loan debt and was still excited to pursue something that I really love. I had a few irritating encounters with my financial aid advisor. First, I emailed at the beginning of summer to find out when I would be getting my complete financial aid award, including loan amount, so that I could figure out what rent I could afford and whether I needed private loans. I got a reply from a general advisor saying my award would be complete by the end of June. Well the first week of July I emailed my specific advisor and she said that she missed me on her list of students and she would award me by the end of the week. The next week came around, never heard anything. So I emailed again and she said that apologized, that she had gotten interrupted while processing my award and hadn’t finished it. So in the end, by the time I got my award it was the second week of July. I decided that the loan amounts weren’t enough and started figuring out which private loans I would need. Then suddenly I got an e-mail towrds the end of the month saying that my financial aid had been adjusted. So I logged on and saw that my program had award me $10,000 in tuition remission. An absurd amount of money to most people, especially me. I was ecstatic. I figured out that I would need some of the federal loans the first semester for moving expenses but after that I could manage without any. The idea of going to school without any loans was unbelievable to me. I’ve had the worst luck as far as financial aid and it never seemed like anything was working out. It can be sort of depressing see friends getting help from parents or getting all this financial aid and I was getting locked out constantly on technicalities and just plain bad luck. So it was a really amazing feeling thinking that my program had seen my rough financial background and had actually decided to help.
The program sends out weekly notices that’s pretty much a newsletter and has been saying that they will give awards by the end of the month. I also had to go into the account and decline with loans that I didn’t need. I did that weeks ago and it said that my advisor had to approve the changes. I’ve checked 2 or 3 times a week thinking that my finaid award would suddenly change and it was somehow a mistake but mainly I believed it was true because that was my official record. Then this morning I got an e-mail saying my loans were dispursed to the school. Before my (I’m sorry but stupid) advisor had approved my changes. I got online, double checked that she hadn’t approved it and that the full, unaltered loan amounts had been added to my bill. They had and it was still exactly the same. They had credited the original department aid but not the tuition remission (the extra money I found out about in July). So I emailed her, yet again, asking when she would approve the changes and asked if she happened to know when my grad school would put the rest of the funds into my account. She answered and said that the funds were already added and that she would “get to” my award to approve it by the end of the week. I replied and said only half had been added. Got on my account (literally hours after I had looked at it the last time) and it was COMPELTELY different. Suddenly the department aid for fall was gone. So there was tuition remission for $10,000 for fall but no department aid. Which didn’t make sense because even before that remission was added I was given the same amount of department aid both semesters. So now all of a sudden the department aid is gone and the remission is still there. She answered and tried to claim that department aid and tuition remission are the same and my full award is $10,000, not $20,000. As if I’ve just been seeing things all this time.
The more I’ve thought about it, the only thing I can come up with is that she somehow mistakenly added the $10,000 to my account and is now trying to make it look like it’s always been this way by staggering the money between the two awards. I e-mailed my department and they saidI have to call. I’m not very hopeful that they’re going to say I really did receive it. Now I’m kicking myself for not taking a screen shot of the award or calling to verify but at the time I didn’t think I needed to. I was just so excited thinking I wouldn’t need loans and figured I could continue my current job online. Since I wouldn’t need loans I thought I could pay off some of my student debt plus put back money for the wedding. Since it’s not until 2017 I was figuring I had all this time to save that extra money. Now I have to get the maximum federal loan amount plus try and figue out how to get a private loan with school starting this week.
I know the story is very confusing, but I just needed to vent. If anyone has some knowledge on how I could handle this for actual repurcussions, that’d be great. I don’t think I’ve ever even really made a fuss with anything before, even with the mistakes at my previous school, but I think there should be some sort of repurcussion for this level of mistake on her part.