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FeralPolyglot
*sigh* Ok... I haven't really posted any complainy posts on here... So this'll be the first. I feel kind of bad because I don't want to have to lay any of this at your feet like a stinky fish. So feel free to look over this one if you wish because it's just about one of the weights on my mind.

Alright. So today I go to my advisor to try to schedule classes, I go get my pin number (necessary for registering) and go off on my merry way. I'm planning to Graduate in December so this registration is kind of important... So I go to a computer to register and I can't... sleep.gif"

*rewinds back a month or two ago* From my student loans, my school gives me refund checks for the balance left over after the loans. This year they gave me the loan, just like every other year... Then about three weeks later they give me a letter saying that they had to reduce my loan amount because they "received some information that may affect my loan status." They apparently just "found out" that I was an RA (Resident Assistant) and they'd given me too much in my refund check. That's just peachy except that the refund check went toward Tuition and Fees for my Study Abroad for this summer. So I owe the school around $2,500. I passed the information on to my dad so he could figure this out because the Study Abroad stuff. He called the Financial Aid office and apparently hasn't done anything about it because I still owe the school $2,600.

*flash back to now* So I can't register for classes for next semester (my last semester) until that's resolved. And I don't have $2600 coming out my bum so I need to go find a job. I put in an application at the local grocery store and we'll see how that pans out.

*breathes* Ok.. I feel a little bit better... Oh, and to make things even better......... My school blocks all IRC in/from its network. sad.gif *tear*
Phyllis
I'm confused...how did they *just* find out you were an RA? Any sort of income you get is put on your FAFSA when you apply for the loans in the first place. blink.gif
FeralPolyglot
QUOTE (candice @ Mar 30 2006, 05:04 PM)
I'm confused...how did they *just* find out you were an RA?  Any sort of income you get is put on your FAFSA when you apply for the loans in the first place.  blink.gif
*

I don't know. It's even more bewildering because RA gives me a free meal plan and free room, and they pay me $60 every two weeks. So I guess it's too much for them to talk from one office to another in this school...?
Phyllis
I'd make some serious complaints if that info was on your FAFSA and they're just *now* altering your loan. I mean...presumably you already received money for fall semester? Complain to someone who is above the financial aid department about the situation they've placed you in. It is their fault if that information was there in your FAFSA and they didn't take that into account until later (if you omitted the fact that you receive income, that's another story).

When I was out of school for a semester due to illness, they had to reduce my loan amount the next year because I was technically a sophomore rather than a junior, and there's a limit to how much you can receive each of the years, apparently. However, they informed me of this before my loan funds were dispersed, and gave me a smaller refund check. Your financial aid office should have done the same.

In the meantime, have you looked into getting a loan for the $2500 from a bank? They aren't as good as federal student loans, but the interest rates are still bearable, and it's a pretty small amount. If you don't have good enough credit, you can have your parents as co-signers.
FeralPolyglot
The guy from Financial Aid explained it to me and it seemed to make sense what he was saying about how, due to the miscommunication, they had given to me more than was permitted by some Federal law. I approached them once already to make sure an error had not been made and the guy seemed to be knowledgeable on for what reason the money was being asked back from me. (As far as the bank loan goes...) Is it difficult to get a bank loan? I don't have a credit rating I don't think seeing as I've never had a credit card...
Phyllis
Getting the bank loan should be no problem *if* you have your parents as cosigners and they have an okay credit rating. If not, then it may be an issue. But I'd still go in and talk to the bank if that's the case. Tell them your situation, bring documentation of what happened. Since it'll be a student loan rather than a personal loan, they may be a bit more willing to fork over some money.

Can I suggest something totally unrelated to this, in terms of your credit score? Get some cards with department stores. You don't have to buy anything on them...just keep them around. If you do buy something, just pay it off in the first month to avoid interest. It'll help you build credit, and just about anyone can get them in the US.

So, was the miscommunication your fault or theirs? If it's their fault and their error, I would fight to make them pay. This is just my opinion, though...I'm not certain if they actually have to pay if it's their fault or not.

Good luck!
FeralPolyglot
Ok, so I went over to the bank and they gave me the info. My bank here does not give student loans and the minimum loan they provide is $3,500. They also said that to be an applicant, I need to have collateral and an income. I have neither. Being an RA doesn't pay by the hour. They said that I could possibly apply with my parents as co-applicants, but the undersigner may wonder "Why is this guy who doesn't have an income on the loan?" I'll look into getting some minor credit cards so I can build my credit; I hear that's a good thing to build.

As far as whose fault it was, While it may be their fault that they didn't notify their Financial Aid department about me being an RA, I can't totally exculpate myself. I did find out about this mix-up about a month ago and I thought my dad had been handling it. My dad's the one who fills out the FAFSA too. There has never been a problem in the past two years so I never knew that this would be somewhere that difficulties could arise. sad.gif It's almost like being an RA is hurting me more than helping now...

I hope my dad has the resources to help get this sorted out; normally he and my step-mom'd be the ones with this loan because this is basically the money that went toward my Study Abroad in Brazil for May 2006. They would have had this hit to their pocket either way... I tried calling my dad twice, but he's on a business trip and won't be back until the weekend and his voicemail inbox is full. :-6
Phyllis
Ask around at other banks about student loans. You don't have to go through your own bank by any means. Look up some banks you know are in your area online, see if they offer student loans.

Okay, it's your dad's fault that it happened if the info wasn't on the FAFSA, then. Sorry, but the uni isn't to blame if you didn't supply the info. You don't need to apply for any more years now, since you're graduating next December, but if you did need to apply for more years I'd really suggest you filled out the FAFSA yourself. You know your information better than your dad, and the only info you need from him is a copy of his tax return. It tells you on the FAFSA application what line on his tax return you should get the numbers from. It's really easy to fill out, and your dad shouldn't be doing everything for you anyway. smile.gif

Anyway. Have you applied for any scholarships for studying abroad? Might be too late now, but it's worth a shot.
bryden42
as bad as it is in the long run you might want to consider getting a credit card and using it for essentials. I dislike credit cards but they can help out in sticky situations, Just make absolutely sure that you manage it well as a large, unmanaged credit card debt can be criplling.
Phyllis
QUOTE (bryden42 @ Apr 1 2006, 01:54 AM)
as bad as it is in the long run you might want to consider getting a credit card and using it for essentials. I dislike credit cards but they can help out in sticky situations, Just make absolutely sure that you manage it well as a large, unmanaged credit card debt can be criplling.
*

I would really advise against that, if you're saying he should use it to help with expenses right now. Credit card interest rates for students are absolutely insane. You should also never, ever pay for any part of your education with a credit card. It is always preferable to get a student loan. Not only are payments deferred until 6 months after you graduate, they also carry a much lower interest rate.

As far as building credit goes, it is my understanding that it's more difficult to get credit cards for specific stores in the UK than it is in the US (based on information given to me by other expats). They're really easy to get here, and help build credit even when you don't use them often. They're always a better choice here for credit building, because you usually aren't tempted to overspend on such cards.
FeralPolyglot
I don't think I'd use a credit card to pay for another debt I have. That sounds like it'd feed way too easily into the snowball effect. I may look into getting a credit card from a store or something relatively small. My color guard was doing a fund raiser and getting credit card applications for Citibank and I filled one out. I didn't put my income information on there because I don't really know if I want that card. Sure, it's 0% APR for the first 6 months... Then it's like 16.99% APR with a whole bunch of fine print for the rest... :-6

I know that I should have already begun to handle my own finances. I'm getting an apartment next year and I'm planning to take care of all the bills for that on my own. Between the financial BS between my parents and all that junk, anything I can do to keep from getting in that is my chosen course of action. (The beef between my parents is a whole nother thread's worth of stuff.. heh..blush.gif)

As far as scholarships for studying abroad, no, I didn't apply for any. I think that deadline's passed. I used the refund check that got me into this mess (albeit caused by the school's shoddy communication) to pay for that anyway. My study abroad trip to Brazil is all paid for and whatnot. Thank God for that.
bryden42
QUOTE
I would really advise against that, if you're saying he should use it to help with expenses right now. Credit card interest rates for students are absolutely insane. You should also never, ever pay for any part of your education with a credit card. It is always preferable to get a student loan. Not only are payments deferred until 6 months after you graduate, they also carry a much lower interest rate.


I agree with candice here, it isn't a good option but it is an option. if you do get a credit card shop around, you can also do balance transfers to other credit cards which will allow you to always have the inroductory offer (normally 0%) it's a lot of work but worth it, or you can hagle with a credit card company phone their customer services and tell them you are going to be leaving, you will be put through to the customer retention team who will be authorised to do you fantastic deals on interest rates,

I am not saying go for a credit card, I am saying that if all else fails it's a last resort option and there are ways you can play the credit card companies.
FeralPolyglot
Ok, update on the money/registration situation... My dad called up the school's financial aid department and got it sorted out. I think he paid the balance because almost the exact amount would have gone to my Brazil Study Abroad. I got to register for my classes today and, lucky for me, none of the classes I needed were filled up yet. smile.gif So graduation plans are still on. *whew* :relieved:

I'm planning on getting a credit card sometime in the not-so-far future. I just don't know where to look to get one or what to look for. It's good to build up a credit rating before you need it.

Thank you to everyone who has posted and helped. I really appreciate it. happy.gif
Phyllis
Yay!

As for the credit card thing, like I mentioned before...small department store cards. Like Sears or something. Very easy to get (in the US, anyway), even for a student with little/no income.
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