Financial Aid Fiasco

BY JOHN REED
SC Copy Editor

For the majority of college students, getting an education is synonymous with accumulating a mountain of debt.

For us older students, the responsibilities of payment, and re-payment, are heaped squarely upon our shoulders.

Every semester I dread the incoming FAFSA deadline, and all the issues that follow. Applying for aid is quite easy, but having it approved is another story.

I work for a living and attend ESU full-time, so meeting the financial requirements necessary for loan authorization is next to impossible.

What follows makes me further indebted to whichever unlucky family member is willing to stick their neck out to help me.

With trepidation, I make phone calls that involve groveling, fawning, and begging and pleading, to acquire that elusive signature.

This signature forever attaches whomever co-signs my loan to my fortunes.

Unbeknownst to most college students who require aid, a co-signer’s signature saddles them with the knowledge that if we, the students, default on our loan then they will be required to pay back the lump sum that was borrowed.

I have tried to ask close family members for help, and most have relented, but there is a clear and present tension when school and money are discussed.

Whew! All this work and I’ve only accomplished getting my loan processed.

Now, I have to decide upon my interest rate. By doing a private loan, via Sallie Mae, I have to decide how much I’d like them to rake me over the coals. Pay more now or later?

Either way, I am burdened with this outstanding debt for a decade.

As soon as Sallie Mae approved my application and processed my loan, the required funds are sent on to ESU and I can only pray that they are used properly.

I needed the financial aid to cover the six classes I was enrolled in because prior to the semester’s beginning I was bombarded with tuition payment emails.

Summer was still upon us, yet I was already scrambling to ensure that ESU was properly paid for the privilege of attending class.

With a week left to summer vacation, I had dropped my class total from six to five.

I needed time to work if I ever planned to pay off these ungodly student loans.

Two days in to the semester, another class was thrown by the wayside in an attempt to establish a flexible work schedule.

Tracking my financial aid, in the hopes to see the changes reflected upon my account balance, I was astonished to find out that I am paying ESU for eighteen credits, but I’m only enrolled in twelve.

The new semester is two weeks old, meaning there have been ten business days of opportunity to reflect the appropriate changes to my disbursed student loan.

This leads me to two conclusions—either my account has not been updated in all that time or there is the hope that I wouldn’t catch the discrepancy and the money would just disappear.

Email John at:
jreed18@live.esu.edu

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