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Jo-88

my world came crashing down today...

15 posts in this topic

I have no idea why I am posting this here... but I feel I need to let this out.

My entire life just took a turn for the worse today and I have no idea how to cope with it. I don't know how to explain how serious it is without telling the whole story. As some of you may know by now, Im a graduate student I have 3 more classes to complete and I was supposed to graduate at the end of June. As my graduation gift my mom was going to help pay for me to move to san francisco and I was really hoping that the new degree will help me land a decent job out there (finally).

Well last week I was supposed to receive another federal loan disbursement to cover my final tuition and fees ($12k) as well as my living expenses ($8k). Unfortunately I got a call saying that there was an issue with my financial aid. Early last year I had taken one class at another school (FIT) and even though I withdrew they still had my academic year set for 2011-2012 and now the school I am actually enrolled in can't get the funds disbursed. For the last week I have been calling both schools back and forth (and I even got them to talk to each other) but the old school simply refuses to change the date back to when I actually withdrew. They say its against their policy and federal regulations for them to change that date, but the lady I've been working with at my current school says thats simply not true and that they do that all the time actually.

Well today after once again speaking with both schools and several departments of the federal government the reality is setting in... this can't be fixed. I won't be receiving any more financial aid until I finish the program at the original school which I have no intention of doing. Which means not only am I going to have drop out of my program now, but I actually owe them a balance... not to mention the $36k in additional loan debt Ive incurred trying to finish the degree at the new school...which now I wont have. So I have more money to pay back without anything to show for it... all I have is my bachelors in IT which so far hasn't helped me find a job at all.

Im going to have to move back home with my parents and since my brother already lives there means Im gonna be living on the couch...and I don't have a single friend where they live. Also my San Francisco plans are going to have to be shelved because part of that living expenses check was gonna be saved to help with that. Also I am probably going to have to stop my transition for the mean time as I was paying for everything out of pocket.

I am absolutely devastated... I've been crying off and on all day, I am more depressed than I think I've been in years. I don't know what to do, I just want to lock myself in my room and cry myself to sleep...

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Oh Jodie this is so sad for you.

It is hard to believe just how hard it is to deal with the government when they are the ones who should be working for us.

Have you tried or can you try to go to legal aid for some advise on what to do.

It is just unbelievable how much students have to pay to get an education even at a so called public school.

Give yourself some time to work this out and take it easy on yourself. Maybe things will work out better in a day or two.

Remember we care here and are here to support you.

Mia

Who is really glad she worked her way through school back in the dark ages.

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Oh Jodie this is so sad for you.

It is hard to believe just how hard it is to deal with the government when they are the ones who should be working for us.

Have you tried or can you try to go to legal aid for some advise on what to do.

It is just unbelievable how much students have to pay to get an education even at a so called public school.

Give yourself some time to work this out and take it easy on yourself. Maybe things will work out better in a day or two.

Remember we care here and are here to support you.

Mia

Who is really glad she worked her way through school back in the dark ages.

Thank you for the words of encouragement. Also I have considered speaking to a lawyer to see what my options are but frankly I don't have the money and Im not sure if they could even help. I hope this works out, but at this point from all I've been told that doesn't look like its going to happen. My hopes and dreams have just been squashed... Im not sure how to move forward now, Im completely lost.

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This song helped me get through something similar I hope everything will turn out better for you sister hugs

You Tube

Otis Rush Double Trouble

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filed a complaint against the one school with the Florida Dept of Consumer Services (think state level BBB)... I have no idea if it will help but I don't have a lot of options right now... this sucks so bad

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This may seem insurmountable at the moment. But give yourself time, I have faith that you WILL be able to get what you need. You will find a way. <3

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Jodie:

This may or may not help, but what I have found helps convince people they made a mistake is documentation. If you can find proof that you were enrolled at FIT in a specific program and you have documentation that you withdrew (there must have been some papers regarding that) then get those together and send them to the financial aid folks.

It seems to me that the problem is not that FIT wont change the date, but that the gov needs proof of the dates. They depend on the schools to give that to them but might respond if you walked into their office and said "Here, see, this is the withdrawal date, Its March, not October. I was there in 2010-2011. See this, its my enrollment here for 2011, 2012, I was here, not there"

Be nice, be cordial, don't get peed off. Ask if you can get something that will help you at least get enrolled for the final quarter untlo this gets straightened out.

If that gets nowhere, try going up the ladder. Supervisors, Managers etc. Always be nice, always be cordial. Make an appointment with a higher level person.

Failing that, find some student advocacy groups there.

Do you know anyone or know of anyone who gives a lot of money to the school? Any alumni? They have a lot of influence.

Remember that you are the consumer, you spend the money there. Be relentless.

Its been a while since I was in graduate school but I was on VA, and I ran it out to the very last dollar they had to give or guarantee and it was a squeaker.

Keep your eye on the prize.

Good Luck

Zoe

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Thanks for the encouragement Maia... Zoe as far as proving I am withdrawn, well apparently that isnt the issue. When I called NSLDS earlier I explained the situation and they looked up my FAFSA, it only lists my new college which is correct. The service rep basically said thats all they can really do, he said he saw where the issue was but that it was something the school had to fix. I even asked him point blank if they could help if I proved I was dis-enrolled from there he told me no. He gave me the phone number for some agency in Atlanta that he said might be able to help but when I called them I got some lady's cell phone... Im being thrown for a loop

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Thanks for the encouragement Maia... Zoe as far as proving I am withdrawn, well apparently that isnt the issue. When I called NSLDS earlier I explained the situation and they looked up my FAFSA, it only lists my new college which is correct. The service rep basically said thats all they can really do, he said he saw where the issue was but that it was something the school had to fix. I even asked him point blank if they could help if I proved I was dis-enrolled from there he told me no. He gave me the phone number for some agency in Atlanta that he said might be able to help but when I called them I got some lady's cell phone... Im being thrown for a loop

Be a tiger - don't let go. Call back again and say you apparently were given the wrong number,

Lizzy

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Spoke to NSLDS again (they are open till midnight apparently), anyway they told me I needed to contact these people http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov/ their entire purpose is to solve student loan disputes where the student has already tried and failed to get it resolved. Im going to call them in the morning... I'll let you know what they say.

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Taking one class at another school does not mean you were matriculated in that school. I would expect that the financial aid applies only to your matriculation.

I have one child out of grad school (graduated with honors) and another in grad school and yet another in undergraduate studies. All my kids had financial aid while going through college. My eldest needed financial aid while going through grad school, my middle one secured a stypen to go through grad school (guess it depends upon the degree). My eldest child was going through a divorce while trying to find a graduate school for her carreer choice (veterinary medicine). She managed and so can you.

One thing that I have learned in life is that monetary isssues are completely solvable. If time is part of that solution then so be it.

A year fom now, you will look back and realize that you really had nothing to worry about. Financial aid is from the government, therefore it is full of snafoo's just be patient and work with them to reconcile this misunderstanding. My eldest has $200,000.00 to pay back in school loans. She just does it without question.

Brenda

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Jodie, I just had a son graduate with a BA here in Florida and am familiar with FAFSA, loans, etc. Two thoughts:

One, did you withdraw before the drop/add deadlines? If not, it may be necessary to get a higher up to authorize something that a lower level employee can't or won't do. So don't think quit too easily.

Second, its possible that FIT would have to reemburse that Feds a portion of the loan money if they showed you as a withdral, rather than a whole credit hour student. And maybe they don't like that idea? Again a manager's attention may be needed.

Good luck and don't give up too easily!

Michelle

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.... My eldest has $200,000.00 to pay back in school loans. She just does it without question.

Brenda

Yea I owe about $180k and now Im not gonna have the graduate degree... over the last 5 months I have been unemployed entirely and unable to find work in my original field (IT), my bachelors is basically worthless when your competing against recently laid off 40 somethings with 20 years of experience just for entry level positions... I wish just "paying them back without question" is an option but its just not that simple.

Jodie, I just had a son graduate with a BA here in Florida and am familiar with FAFSA, loans, etc. Two thoughts:

One, did you withdraw before the drop/add deadlines? If not, it may be necessary to get a higher up to authorize something that a lower level employee can't or won't do. So don't think quit too easily.

Second, its possible that FIT would have to reemburse that Feds a portion of the loan money if they showed you as a withdral, rather than a whole credit hour student. And maybe they don't like that idea? Again a manager's attention may be needed.

Good luck and don't give up too easily!

Michelle

To answer your question, I completed 1 class at FIT and then dropped out after the add drop period during my second course at FIT. I actually had a balance with FIT as I ended up having to pay for most of that second class out of pocket, but I've already paid off the balance and was assured that wasn't the issue. Theres a few funny things I've noticed, and Im starting to think there are multiple issues going on. I've been pouring over my paperwork all day. One of the things is that theres a difference between the dates of disbursement from the school issued financial aid award letter and my federal direct loan disclosure statement, one says 03/08/2012 and the other 03/14/2012 (respectively). Also when I log into NSLDS is shows my enrollment status dropped below half time on 02/22/2012 which is not true, this could either mean that the new school (FullSail btw) is reporting incorrectly or that somehow FIT is still reporting I am a student but that Im not enrolled in classes. The frustrating thing is that both NSLDS reps I spoke to said that they don't have the information on what institutions report what, so I can't find out whos reporting that im not enrolled in classes. Also the academic year supposably being reported by FIT ended on March 4th 2012 so even if FIT won't change their academic year period couldn't FullSail just adjust their dates to go from 03/05/2012 to 06/29/2012 instead of 02/22/2012 to 06/29/2012 so that there is no overlap? Something is fishy here, none of this adds up.

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Good news today...sorta. Since this is out of my control FullSail has agreed to maintain the tuition balance until I finish my last class, so I can continue school but before I can actually graduate Im going to have to pay off the balance out of pocket. I have no idea how I am going to do that yet but at least I can continue working on it. Jeez this whole affair is driving me nuts.

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Hi Jodie,

This is good news. Keep working at it, it is bound to get straightened out!

Also, your reps in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives can be helpful in getting some of these federal agencies to move along more quickly. You may contact those from your state and share your story. They will usually have a staff person call and/or will issue an official letter of inquiry to the agencies involved (on your behalf). They usually request a response, in writing, from someone in the federal agency.

Nice job, so far! :D

Keep us updated.

My Best,

Brad

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