The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I'm glad they give me money, but must they make it so difficult?

Round 1 (April 17) - Me vs. the Crabby Secretary Lady (CSL):
I filled out my paperwork to an unprecedented degree of specificity. No box left un-checked. No information missing. Every "i" dotted. I knew that applying for summer loans for a program at another school would make things tricky, so I followed every instruction to the letter. Beaming with pride, I walked into the financial aid office and handed CSL my paperwork. As I pivoted and turned to leave, I was whipped back with an astoundingly rude "Sit Down." Oh, um, okay. Flip flip flip through pages. Click click click on computer. Then, the conversation that reminded me of one with my three year old niece:

CSL: "Wait, if you aren't going to summer school here how are we supposed to know where you are going?"
ME: "Well, um, on that line beside 'other', I wrote G-Town Summer Program in London. Additionally, I attached the information from them about the program highlighting for you the costs of tuition and room and such. I also added it up in the margin for you."
flip flip click click
CSL: "Hmph. Well, where is your acceptance letter?"
ME: "At home. Nothing on that checklist said you would need a copy of my acceptance letter."
CSL: "Hmph. Well, where is your approval from our Dean saying you could take classes there?"
ME: "Well, I sent that to G-Town in order to get in."
flip flip click click
CSL: "Hmph. Where is your consortium agreement?"
ME: "I don't know what that is. Am I supposed to get that from someone?"
CSL: "Ugh. No, we get that for you."
ME: "Then, why would you ask me where it is?"
flip flip click click
CSL: "Where are your parents tax forms?"
ME: "They are with my parents. I am independent, my parents give me no money, you should not need their forms."
CSL: "We need their tax forms."
ME: "I'm pretty sure you do not need their tax forms."
CSL: "Well, I am not approving this. You are just missing too much information. Come back when you have it all."
ME: "Ma'am, with all due respect, y'all really should include a listing of your expectations on the form if you want students to actually know what you are thinking."

...I then spend a few days gathering the information including my parents tax forms in anticipation of...

Round 2 (April 20) - Me vs. the Financial Aid Lady with an Office (FALO)
FALO politely tells me to have a seat
ME: "Here are all of the forms that were missing from last time. I have my parents tax forms but I really don't think you need them...however, CSL demanded I get them."
FALO: "You probably forgot to mark the box saying xyz so she assumed you did need them."
ME: "I though for sure I marked that box."
FALO: (looking at my file) "You did mark that box. In fact, someone circled it your marking of that box. Strange."
ME: "What does that mean?"
FALO: "It means you are correct, you do not need your parents tax forms."
ME: (smiles)
FALO: "Okay, well everything looks good and is in order, nothing else for you to do we will handle it from here."
ME: "CSL mentioned something about a consortium agreement. I don't know what that is, but do I need it?"
FALO: "We handle that. We will contact G-Town and get it."

...you would think at this point I'm good to go, right? Nope...

Round 3 (April 25) - Me vs. Financial Aid Man At G-Town (FAMAG)
I received an email from Head GW Financial Aid Lady with an Office (Head GW FALO) "We still have received no response to our faxed consortium agreement...cannot certify your summer loan...You may want to contact them directly and let us know what's going on." I then place a phone call to G-Town financial aid. After explaining who I am, he pulls up my file online. (They HAVE a file for me online which is a good sign.)
FAMAG: "Yes, we received a fax from your school."
ME: "Well, do you normally respond to them? I don't know what a consortium agreement is, so I'm a little confused."
FAMAG: "Hold on....(still on hold)........(still)......(still)........Oh, so, there was a problem with the computer. The person who does consortium agreements said she will fax this back to your school Friday at the latest."

...are we done yet? Of course not...

Round 4 (May 10) - Me vs. My Pride
Tuition is due in a week and as of today I have received: an email from GW that they still have not gotten anything from G-Town, my tuition bill from G-Town, and a bill from GW (which is interesting considering I am not going to school there this summer.)

Phone call #1 to G-Town FAMAG: "Yeah, Law-Rah, let us get your number and call you back. Someone needs to, um, check on something with, um, someone else." (that was two hours ago)

Phone call #2 to GW Head FALO: listen to long recording that says in essence: "There is only one person in the office this week, so things will be slow. Oh yeah, and we are closed on Wednesdays."

(Look at calendar. Sigh. Realize that both GW and G-Town have their heads up their asses this is not going to work.)

Phone call #3: (swallowing pride) "Dad, I need a huge favor."

Anyone else got fun financial aid stories to share???