Friday, 21 January 2005, 16:29:12 EST
Last semester I was able to acquire financial aid by appealing to the financial aid office. I had not been completing school fast enough for them to consider me a "good student" to support with financial aid. Well, my appeal was successful and I was granted financial aid on the stipulation that I not earn below a "C" average in any class. I finished the semester with a 3.0 GPA, as mentioned previously, so I figured I was good to go for the Spring 2005 semester. I registered for classes in December and made sure that my financial aid was covering the fees via the Digital University Campus Kiosk (DUCK); I was good to go. Wednesday, my calculus instructor mentioned an email that she had sent to the class email list which I did not recieve. So, after class I checked on the DUCK to see why I didn't receive the email. It turns out that I was no longer enrolled in any classes! This was a complete shock to me so I went up the registrar's office to learn why I was no longer enrolled in any classes. It seems that I was dropped from my classes because I never paid for them. The folks in the registrar's office called financial aid to inquire why I never paid for my classes and they said that I violated the terms of my appeal. After doing a little more inquiring I found out that financial aid views my not having passed the regent's test, a required test in the state of Georgia, as not having passed the regent's remedial class.
Let me explain this remedial class. Every student in the state of Georgia is required to take a test that covers reading comprehension and writing ability. You can take this test once a semester, every semester, without penalty until you complete forty-five hours of school credit. I was dumb enough to wait until I had completed forty-five hours before taking the test. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not a very good writer (at least not when confronted with time and topic constraints) and thusly failed the test. So, last semester I was required to take RGTE 0199, the remedial writing, course. During the orientation for that course last semester the program coordinator discussed how they had changed the grading scale from the traditional four point scale to a "U" or "S" classification for "unsatisfactory" or "satisfactory" so as not to conflict with financial aid. I ended up failing the writing test for a second time and earned a "U" in the course. Well, when financial aid got my final grades from last semester last week they decided that the "U" constituted a failing of the course and a violation of my appeal; it doesn't matter that I probably would have made a "B" average in the class were they still on the four point scale. Keep in mind that the remedial class is nothing more than a class to teach you how to pass the test. This class does not affect your GPA or graduating credits. It is mandated by the state that you take the class if you do not pass their test.
So, I spent the better part of three hours Wednesday trying to figure out how to get this resolved. I ended up writing two letters of appeal: one to the financial aid director and one to the registrar's office. I appealed to the director of financial aid to get reinstate my aid because I was never informed that my aid was being revoked. I never received and email, phone call, or even an automated letter on the DUCK. They just refused to pay my tuition and proceeded to not give a damn if I knew about it. I had to write an appeal to the registrar's office in hopes that they would let me re-enroll in my overfilled classes and pay tuition today by 5:00PM EST. My appeal to the registar's office was successful, probably because they realized I was getting screwed, and I could pay my tuition plus a late fee today. My appeal to the financial aid director took a little more work though.
When I turned in my letter to financial aid one of the higher ups in that office sent an email to my old boss to inform her that I should hear about my appeal by Friday, today, at the latest (Debye, my old boss, was helping figure out who to talk to about all this). When I went up to the financial aid office this morning to speak with the director I was informed that she never set a date when she would get back with me and to go ahead, pay my tuition out of pocket, hope for the best, and basically to just plain fuck off. This did not go over well with me as I bet you can imagine. I proceeded to schedule an appointment with the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Kevin Rome. At 3:00PM today I sat down in his office and explained everything to him. He went over to the financial aid office for about an hour, during which I composed about a quarter of this story, to see what he could come up with. When he got back he had the best news possible. Not only would I not have to rush over to the bursar's office and pay tuition with money borrowed from my father but I would be receiving an email from financial aid on Monday with details about my reinstated financial aid.
I thank you Dr. Rome for doing whatever it is you did to get this straightened out. It is preposterous that I even had to deal with this for the past three days. The financial aid office is quite possibly the worst, service oriented, office on campus. Their attitude and complete inability to actually help people is infuriating.