Saturday, July 1, 2017

The $5,750 Phone Call

I am not well-versed in the meaning of IRONY. In fact, I used to consult my resident couch academian, The Pony, before he left me high and dry (or low and Diet-Coke-soaked), on the proper usage of the term. I think it applies here, but The Pony is on a camping trip, and incommunicado.

Yesterday, I mentioned that the student loan scammers had called on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I saw that the #1 Son's tuition statement for fall semester was ready for payment. Unlike every other semester statement of his illustrious college career...this one did not show ANTICIPATED AID. #1 usually has 5 scholarships listed at the bottom of his statement. And an adjusted amount that is due this pay period.

#1 is due to graduate in December. He has used his scholarships for 7 semesters so far. During the spring of 2016, he did not attend classes on campus, but worked for an engineering firm in a co-op arrangement. It is quite common for students at #1's university to take a co-op semester. They work a real job, 40 hours a week, to see if they are suited to the work they are educating themselves for. Their scholarships are put on hold until they return. There was no lapse in the scholarships when #1 went back to school during fall of 2016, nor during spring of 2017.

I texted #1 to ask if he needed to do anything about his scholarships. Without them, the fees will drain his college account quicker than he anticipated. He is fortunate, even if that happens, to have the Hillbilly Family Safety Net to allow him to complete his degree, should his living expenses cause a shortfall in his funds. #1 sent a reply to my text, saying he would look into it. That everything he had researched before his co-op said the scholarships would be there after the co-op, and that he didn't have to do anything.

I sent him another text the next day, asking if he found out anything.

"I have not. SOME of us work a full time job, you know."

"How unfortunate. Some of us drink 44 oz of Diet Cokes and peruse conspiracy sites all day, yet are responsible for paying the bills."

"OK. It's hard for me to call because their office closes at 4:30. I am off early at 3:30 on Friday and will call."

"If you think they will talk to me, I'll call. Once I take the money from your account to put in mine to pay, the bank is going to put a 10-day hold on the check. And the bill is due on the 15th."

"They should talk to you. You're on my student account so you can pay. Here's my student number."

So...I called and talked to somebody who sounded like a student answering the phones over lunch. He said this happens a couple times a week. That there's a glitch in the university's system, and it doesn't pick up the scholarships after a co-op semester, and the only way that the university knows is when the parents of the student call asking where the scholarships are.

You would think, wouldn't you, that a university known for churning out TECHNOLOGY geniuses would be able to fix something like that?

Anyhoo...he said it was nothing that #1 had done wrong or neglected to do. That it was a glitch in the system, and it would actually take an appeal process for the scholarships to be reinstated, but that if #1's GPA was okay, it should be fine. But the lady who handles it was out of the office until July 5. So he would send her an email. Then he transferred me to a financial aid counselor.

The financial aid counselor looked up the account, and saw the scholarships, and said that even though the scholarship lady had been emailed, he was going to push them through right then, and to give him a half hour, then call the finance office, who would be able to see them, and give me a new total for the bill due on July 15.

I did that, and all but one of the scholarships was showing up. So I'll pay the new total and deal with that other one in the coming months.

It might have cost me a few dollars of long distance on my landline, since our cell phones don't work in the house, but I'm pretty sure #1 can kick in several bucks (whether he knows it or not) from the savings on his college fund.

[From the DOO DOO DOO DOO Files: Not 30 seconds after I hit PUBLISH on this post, an email popped up from the BURSAR'S OFFICE that said "Billing Statement." I swear, this computer is reading my mind! The time on the email was 6:22, same as the posting time. EXCEPT the email was from OU, about The Pony's summer tuition, with a balance of zero.]


Sioux Roslawski said...

HM--You are one lucky lady when it comes to your boys' college fees. They've worked hard and aren't going to end up with a debt to pay. (Your sons are fortunate as well.)

Maybe YOU could go away to school to work on another degree, once Farmer H is retired?

fishducky said...

It's a good thing your boys can avoid student loans; they can haunt you for ages!!

Hillbilly Mom said...

Yes I am. Those boys have had their noses to the grindstone since they were little shavers, and were fortunate enough to do well on the ACT, which is what got them their scholarships.

#1 has a friend who graduated in December, who has a full-time job, and is living at home right now. #1 showed him that if he put most of his earnings toward his loans now, while he has few expenses, he can have them paid off by the end of this year. Then he showed him how long it would take at a lower payback. I think he made a believer out of Friend.

Or maybe I can scrape up a fund to send FARMER H to work on a degree, instead of enduring him giving me the 3rd Degree all the time.

Yes. One of my colleagues at Lower Basementia is still paying on her own student loans, and she's ready to retire.

When #1 saw his initial scholarship letter, he read to me from a pamphlet about student loans. He knew his scholarships would cover about half of his expenses. I told him no way were we taking out a loan, that we'd dip into our savings if needed. Thank the Gummi Mary, we'd been putting money aside for him since he was a toddler. It should come out just right after fall semester. He has worked for three summers and contributed.

Six more months, and it will be one down, one to go!