I Have So Much To Tell You

As the evil spaceship said in Event Horizon . . .

Well, I’m not an evil spaceship–well, at least I don’t think so–but the statement still rings true. 🙂

However, if I told you everything that has happened since we last talked, we’d be here all night. So even though yesterday was sorta lousy, I’ll leave that out (for now) and tell you primarily the good stuff.

A few weeks ago, I checked into my school account and discovered, much to my dismay, that the school said I owed $3,385 to them before the semester beginning.

Oh shit.

Right.

So for once in my life, I decided to fight back.

Earlier this summer, I had a similar problem with Financial Aid. They dropped my summer 2 class because of a communication difficulty that THEY were having with the loan company. It had nothing to do with me. That time resulted in me going up the line of administrators until I finally found one that would do something to help me. Before I knew it, they had found some scholarship that I didn’t even know existed (and trust me, I know which ones exist), and suddenly I was scot-free.

This time, I started my fight by analyzing my account and doing the math between what I saw on my copy of my award letter and what I saw according to what was online.

And that’s where I saw it.

There was an $1872 difference between the two; meaning that they were overcharging me by $1872. I also looked back at my bills from 2007 and noticed that my tuition fee was much higher than what it had been. So I go onto the school site and managed to track down, with great difficulty, the tuition fee chart. The chart is organized by what you are classified as (i.e. – undergrad/grad), and whether or not you are in-state or out-of-state. Well, in my somewhat hazy memory, I thought that I could remember being awarded in-state tuition for 5 semesters of school.

With those questions in hand, I made up a 6 point list (I had a few other minor questions, like why my total account figures from Summer 2 read that my balance was $-517.97), and started my grand email saga. In addition, I also noticed that my meal plan was much higher than what it was supposed to be. Once again, I tracked down a chart and realized that they had charged me for the 8 meal plan. True, I was on that last fall and spring, but this summer I had found out about another option that was much better for me, and cost a great deal less.

When I had emailed all of those folks back in mid-summer, I had just emailed them one by one, hoping that someone would get on it without the threat from above, but no such luck existed. I had to go all the way to the #2 person in the financial aid department.

This time, I decided to do something with a little more finesse.

I directly emailed two different loan counselors that I had met on previous times; one of them was the lady that I worked some with initially on the problem mid-summer, and the other was a lady whom I had met when she came to my office looking for a lady who works in our office. We talked a bit and she seemed, oh I don’t know, like a real person!!! She was nice and seemed like she could be a really helpful person to know.

So I directly emailed those two ladies; then I CCed both of their bosses . . . and here comes the kicker . . . in addition to that, I BCCed (Blind copy – no one sees that I added her except for me and her) the #2 lady who had helped me previously.

While waiting for a response, I also emailed the housing department and tried to figure out the whole meal plan crazy wackiness. Eventually I got referred to the right person (yay!), who turned out to be really nice (that’s 3!), and we worked out a better plan, effectively dropping my bill by about $600-ish. Woot!

That left me with a bill of $2800-something. Still bad, but better.

Meanwhile, I get a reply from the nice loan counselor. She’s able to answer questions 3 and 4 (I listed them in order of importance), but no more. However, she also forwards my email on to someone who works in the Bursar’s office.

So I waited and got no answers. The problem was that the deadline was swiftly approaching. If I didn’t have my financial aid stuff worked out by 4 pm on the 19th of August, they were going to drop my classes . . . again. And while I could pay the bill (barely), I wasn’t about to pay something that I didn’t owe, you know? Who knew when and if I would ever get a refund? My last refund took 8 months to process.

I started looking for other people to email. In the meantime, I got a reply from the loan counselors’ boss. She didn’t help much at all. She said that the missing $1872 was actually part of my work study package, which wasn’t included in the screen that I was looking at. Okay, so I responsible for it? Okay. I could handle that. What she didn’t do, however, was adequately answer the in-state vs. out-of-state questions I had. I got forwarded to someone else once more.

Finally I found the email address of the Bursar herself. I emailed her. She emailed me back very promptly, more or less saying the same thing as the previous lady. But she also forwarded me onto someone else. *rolls eyes*

Finally, finally, finally . . . late Monday night, the 18th, I get an email from the #2 lady. She answered my questions in very fine detail and thanked me for laying them out in such an orderly fashion. I kept my best English going the entire time and wrote like an adult. *laughs* BTW, I sent my mother a copy of the initial letter and she wrote back, very impressed with my rhetorical skills (as she put it).

I didn’t get any really helpful answers from the #2 lady, but she did forward me on to two other people (again): the Cashier and one of the loan counselors’ bosses.

Well, I check in the morning of the 19th, thinking that maybe I can just set up a payment plan and only pay part of my bill in order to be able to keep my classes until this thing gets worked out.

I opened the payment page and looked at what I owed.

$-517.79

I looked again.

$-517.79

I looked at my e-bill, which shows more of why I owe what I owe.

Amount due read $0.00.

OMG!!! I shouted out loud at work, where I was looking at all of this. Luckily no one was in the room (lol).

So all of a sudden, in one week, I go from owing the school $3000+, to their owing me $500+.

If that isn’t a good moment, I don’t know what is.

Of course I wrote the #2 lady and gushed all over her. I told her that while I could pinpoint several different BAD days in my life, I would now always be able to remember that day as a GOOD one. 😀

Then I danced around the office like a wild woman. *laughs*

Now, not only that, but I got my car to start once more and have gotten it into the car place! It should be done this afternoon! And with the refund, I can pay for it!!!

WHEE!!!

P.S. That refund that I mentioned? It was refunded to me yesterday, a mere 2 days after I got the email from the #2 lady.

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~ by lastcrazyhorn on August 21, 2008.

12 Responses to “I Have So Much To Tell You”

  1. Jeeze kid, you’re turning into a real hardass!
    Good on yer!

  2. Yay for you! Great job keeping on top of things!

  3. Well done!!

  4. And you should point out that when your mama says you have impressive rhetorical skills she knows what she’s talking about because she is an English professor who teaches rhetoric! You rock! (I say this with pride, not arrogance.)

  5. YAY! Glad that got cleared up. Silly financial aid.

    Chey

  6. Hot damn! If I were faced with such financial aid weirdness, I would probably completely freak out and have no idea where to start. Go, you!

  7. HOLY COW! That is amazing and major KUDOS to you for being so dang persistent. You SO ROCK. Congrats lady. A great start to the school year, I’d say. Great idea to focus on the positive.
    😉

  8. Great story. I know the feeling. Congratulations for cutting through all of that red tape with finesse and excellent rhetorical skills.

  9. OMG. Next time I have a problem like that, YOU’RE HIRED!! LOL

    Good goin’ kiddo.

  10. w00t!

    Way-so worth it. Plus, now you know whom you need to discuss things with should you ever have such problems again.

    But boy, that kind of stuff can just eat hours and days from your life! (been-there-done-that-too)

    andrea

  11. Go you!!!!

    *does a stir the soup dance just for you*

    b.

  12. […] over at the financial aid office on my campus.  As you might recall, I had to do something similar last summer.  My oh my, perhaps that’s why the bursar’s office has been sending me personal email […]

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