Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apparently, I Am a College Graduate

I got a letter yesterday afternoon from the University's financial aid office. It's not time for them to send anything out for the spring semester, and my fall award information was emailed to me back in June, so I was a little puzzled before I even opened the letter.

With good reason, apparently. This letter stated "As you have already earned a baccalaureate degree, your Pell funding has been rescinded for this semester. Pell funds cannot be used towards graduate level studies."

What?

This morning, I went to the Financial Aid office on campus to get this resolved (or get them to give me the degree I supposedly already earned!). Initially, they tried to push me off on the Registrar's office, saying that the registrar handles student statusing. I held firm that it was Financial Aid that sent me the letter, therefore, Financial Aid was going to resolve this issue and get my funds applied correctly.

At first glance on their screens, I'm listed as an actively enrolled graduate student, but it says January-as it should. It took two reps checking several different tools at their disposal to say "Oh, yeah, you ARE still an undergraduate!"

A message was left with the person who generated the letter and she's supposed to email or call tomorrow once this has been resolved.

It appears that my admittance into graduate school prior to funds distribution for the 10/11 school year threw the system into a tailspin. Students can apply to the graduate programs up to 365 days prior to enrolling, but most wait until after they've donned a cap and gown and marched to 'Pomp and Circumstance.' The age of computers does not know how to handle a student who has split statuses in one financial aid year.

The down side? Everything that has to be placed in my files as an undergraduate must be done manually. At least I know this and can head it off at the pass. For the most part, this is done on my home campus, where everyone knows me and will help.

The up side? I've been applying for graduate assistant positions that I meet the qualifications for and since the system is listing me as a graduate student, I may just get one of these positions prior to taking my finals in December.

Oh well, I was hoping that I'd be able to skip classes today since financial aid's letter made it seem that I didn't need them!







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