Summer Funancial Aid

Hani Rachidi, TMMBA Student

So only read this posting if you are not a trust fund baby, work for a company with full tuition reimbursement, or are so well off you should be in the Executive MBA program. This post is about why financial aid for summer tuition is so much fun.

Firstly, you must realize that the academic calendar is like a fiscal calendar it ends with the spring quarter, roughly June. So that means you have to apply for Summer quarter onwards for the 2009-10 academic year. Okay, I realized this the first week of June, great, that means I technically have about one month to get my financial aid information completed to meet the Summer Quarter tuition deadline of Friday, July 10th. Plenty of time, oh ya summer fun and travel and financial aid no worries. I even had a month off of work and barely made the cutoff, in fact I missed it but was saved by the secret Monday, July 13th actual deadline….here’s the drama and why I termed it funancial aid.

1) I go to fafsa.gov and fill out all my information – 15mins to an hour depending on the amount of fabrication you want to submit. For me I don’t fabricate so it takes me longer to look up stuff about how much I cannot currently afford this $60K+ program

2) The UW funancial aid office receives my submitted fafsa form – felt like a week could have been less/more doesn’t matter when you call them you are on hold for at least 10 minutes every time if not 30 minutes so it feels like the experience is longer especially with the awkward moments of pause silence where you don’t know ifyou have lost cell phone coverage or somebody on the other line is playing a game on you or that you’ve listened to the background music so long that it numbs your sense of hearing so you hear nothing although there is something

3) UW informs me after I call them and proactively ask what’s up with aid that I need to prove that I’m a citizen and fill out a form and go visit the Social Security Administration – okay I like jumping hoops and wasting beautiful summer afternoons proving that I voted in the last few elections and that I am a citizen and oh wait you gave me financial aid the last two quarters, yes this is fun

4) Now after submitting the proof of citizenship I’m awarded aid another phone conversation with the UW Funancial Aid office confirms that yes I should be ready to go we are now around 1st week of July and my aid is awaiting my approval/acceptance of it

5) I accept the aid and it’s a couple of days before the cut off – so the story is over but wait i have to sign some electronic promissory note at some obscure website that is not posted in my UW funancial aid web page, so another converstaion with the UW funancial aid office i get a letter by letter read out of this 80 letter obscure website

6) I click through the website reading nothing because it takes 72 hours from the point of completing it to hit UW office of funancial aid, this takes about 20 minutes even with reading nothing and filling out a few pieces of personal info, there’s like 15 steps it feels like a weight loss program for typists my fingers were skinnier when i completed it my ring fell of my left ring finger it was weird, surreal, fun experience i felt like i became divorced from reality and married to the financial aid process in some weird literal, figurative way

7) Next I call the UW funancial aid office on deadline day July 10th, and ask did you get the money yet, this was after waiting 25 minutes on hold, the answer was no

8) It’s Monday, July 13th grace period day for tuition deadline, I call funancial aid UW and ask money present? the response was umm well you need to contact UW fiscal services on this issue we have seen a lot delays for aid funding not sure what’s wrong. So Fiscal Services pushes through the aid it was like sitting in some electronic funds gateway just like waiting for some manual intervention, no clue, stopped asking why is this happening to me and was just grateful at that point that I could incur tens of thousands of dollars of debt

Unfortunately this may be the story of people in debt all across our great country and why sometimes I feel like my older friends are right when they say save then spend. Then again, financial leverage, to a certain extent, is healthy just all the trouble to get there puts a bit of strain on your health.

I hope your experience is better than mine and that you are fortunate enough not to have had to read this blog, meaning don’t need financial aid.