I ran a couple of France-related errands:  I bought plug adapters (at Radio Shack – who knew?), and a small gift for my host.  I get home, feeling good about life, when I spy not my passport (because, really, why should I?), but a letter from the Financial Aid Office.  I think to myself, “Ooh, did I get my aid check already?  Sweet!”  Alas, no.  It was a letter, dated the 4th, stating that I have not made sufficient academic progress to qualify for aid, and that I had 4 weeks from the date of the letter to appeal the decision, or they would never give me aid again.  Oh, and by the way, the pending financial aid would not be coming.  Now, I’m baffled.  I was pretty sure that a 4.0 is sufficient academic progress.  I mean, I’d be willing to get a 5.0, but they don’t actually give those out.  Then I read further, and the letter explains that since one only needs 120 credits for a degree, any more than 50% over the 120 mark, and they cut you off.  Well, this semester I reached that point – and it would have been nice if I had known this…oh…say…last semester.

This is the thing – I have another degree.  I came with all those credits I earned a billion and three years ago when I was the Junior Junior.  I didn’t even get financial aid back then, so it isn’t like they’ve been shelling out money that I’ve been frittering away.  I need a minimum of 62 credits to get my French and Linguistics degree.  I AM NOT DONE YET!  After all, I only have 35 of those credits.

So I call the number, and yes, I’m practically near tears, as without the financial aid I cannot pay my tuition bill or…eat…while I’m in France.  And I can’t change my plane ticket (or refund it, for that matter).  And the appeals process takes three weeks.  And did I mention I was informed of this less than a week before I leave?  I’m on the phone, near tears, explaining the situation (“But don’t you understand?   I can’t leave without my financial aid?  And I’m scheduled to leave next week!”) .  The first woman I talked to was nice enough, but I explained to her that I couldn’t wait the three weeks for this to work itself out; wasn’t there anyone who could help me fix this?  So she gave me to another woman, who was also very nice, and explained that they most likely could help me in the three week interim (advancing me the aid money, which would be paid back when the appeal went through).  One can only hope.

But it’s enough to give a woman a head full of grey hairs (pay no attention to the hair dye in my bathroom).  You might think (if you were that sort of person), that the Fates are conspiring to keep me in the country, what with this passport nonsense and now the financial aid hullabaloo (and there were a few other snags, but I’ll pass over that).  It isn’t that I am that sort of person, but I could be if there is much more of this nonsense.

All I wanted to do was change careers and be a happier person.

Thank God I’m not a single mother, or I’d really be screwed (although I wouldn’t be going to France, either).

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