Friday, September 4, 2009

Textbooks redeux and Finaid is in fact still screwed up.

It's taken me almost a week to write this post without swearing.

I had been told several times by several different people that there was now way to get access to my expected financial aid to buy books except to wait for the check, cash it and then buy books with the cash.

They were wrong.

One of the financial aid officers (while I was standing in line) mentioned to another student that his book loan had been approved. When I got to the front of the line I enquired, and for a $30 fee I could take a loan out up to $500 against my expected return.

So I did.

It took them a couple hours to process it and when I got out of class I verified that there were funds on my student account and then marched over to the book store.

Selecting only the needed items brought my total to $416. I happily marched up to the register. Standing in line I overheard people at the front complaining about problems with their cards. I didn't know if they meant their student account cards or credit cards. (See it's helpful to pay attention to your surroundings)

I got to the front, we swiped my card, and it refused to print a receipt giving a "Cannot connect to host" error message. Subsequent attempts to re-ring up the sale were declined at three other registers and the customer service desk. I was the directed to go to the bookstore accounting office in back where they would help me.

This was in fact a lie.

The swiped my card and discovered that I couldn't buy books because I only had $84 on my card. Me being a clever bloke pointed out that $500 - 416 = $84. Please print me off a reciept so I could go.

However the office person would be having none of that. I pointed out that I had already paid for the books, she assured me that the sales droid had canceled the sale (by writing cancel on the error receipt printout) Her solution was that I wait until Wednesday when she would manually refund the money to my card and then I could buy the books then.

10 minutes of arguing ensued...

I won. I won't bore you with the details. But suffice to say I out-stubborned and out-escalated her.

Oh and regarding the financial aid.

Let me present to you two sentances:

"We are waiting for the paper checks from the loan provider"


"We failed to fax back the paperwork the loan provider sent us three weeks and they are waiting for us to do our damn jobs so you can get your student loans."

Do these sentences look even remotely alike? Do any of my beloved readers think these sentances have the same meaning?

Because one of them, I have been told every single time I have gone into the financial aid office since class started last week, and the other one is what really happened. I will leave it to you, dear reader, to discern which is which.

Oh, and just to give you the tiniest hint... only one person processes loans in the Finaid office. That person went on vacation the week school started, the single busiest week of the year for them. Anything that wasn't processed before the vacation is only being looked at now.

I swear to god if this keeps up they are going to have to prescribe me anti-psychotics.

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