Ha! I am so excited! I have been having problems with the Financial Aid department of my school since November. It’s really not worth getting into the details, but suffice to say that waited three months to tell me that my financial aid request was being halved (without reason), leaving me with a week to come up with my tuition for Fall 01; they lost TWO checks that were supposed to cover my tuition for this semester and winter semester; they took several weeks to process paperwork that should have taken days, which left me with no record of recieving sufficient aid; and though they made all the delays and mistakes, they sent my tuition bill to a collection agency where it was accruing 17% interest.
The bitch of it is, I spent at least an hour a week in their offices trying to get it straightened out. I was accused of flat-out lying about the existence of the lost checks (luckily, I have all my paperwork and copies of everything, so I could prove it). I was told that the Office of Accounting has never recieved a check - but after I signed it I sent it Fed Ex Express and had a freaking copy of the signature of the person in their office who signed for it! They sent me from one side of campus to another because they were unwilling to help me solve their problems. I discovered that the checks were missing; I discovered that the parent loan company had actually sent them and that the office lost them; I figured out why I recieved word so late that my tuition was insufficient. In the past three weeks I have visited the offices nine times, figuring out all this nonsense, and realizing how many mistakes they had made. I (no one else but me) got everything straightened out so that I was definitely recieving aid. I visited the offices, waited patiently, and was told that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that I was lying (which really pissed me off). I dealt with people who looked quickly at my file and then dismissed me, because they didn’t feel like dealing with this situation. I dealt with people who said, “we can’t help you, sorry” without even looking me in the eye. It was infuriating. I don’t like confrontation, but time and time again I was forced to say, “Your department made the mistakes. I have fixed the mistakes for you. I know it’s against the rules, but I have done nothing wrong and am being punished unfairly.” I just kept getting doors slammed in my face and worthless apologies.
I did all of this, and they weren’t going to let me register on time because the tuition isn’t paid still (it’s not being paid because they lost those checks and took so long processing them; the checks are in the mail, but it will be two weeks before I recieve them, and I’m supposed to register on Thursday).
Now, I didn’t complain too much about running their damn department for them. I didn’t complain when I had to trace all their mistakes and solve my problems without help, even though I don’t get paid to do that. I didn’t complain when some untrained student aid told me that obviously I wasn’t handling this situation properly (I did, however, ask her if she recognized my face and explain to her that I spent so much time in her office, I should recieve a paycheck; I did tell her she better remember my face because she was going to be sick of it in a week). I went to the highest level official in that department, and regardless of my situation, she still wouldn’t let me register. I was being punished for mistakes that were not my own, and I was incensed that I wasn’t being allowed to register on time.
So last week, I wrote a three-page letter (single-spaced) to the president, with copies sent to nine department heads at the university. I explained the situation in detail, told them that I was outraged, and asked them to remove the block on my registration and retrieve my balance from the collection agency, minus all the accrued interest. I hand-delivered the letters on Friday.
Today I got a phone call from the Dean of Financial Services (who recieved a copy). Apparently, the president of the school read my letter, and this guy got the brunt of it. He apologized profusely, promised that I would be allowed to register, told me to tell my friends that if they ever needed any help to call him, and said that he would do his best to retrieve my balance from the collection agency and see if he could speed up the checks I am waiting for.
I am so ecstatic about this! I battled with at least ten people in the past two weeks alone, moving higher and higher trying to get my registration clearance. Of all the countless people I spoke to, TWO actually helped me in any way. I got called a liar to my face and was treated like a pesky moron for questioning their actions. But I won this battle. I didn’t think anything would come of it (even the letters, I thought they were pointless). I am proud of myself for pursuing this - I was so sick of this bullshit, but I kept telling myself I had one more battle in me. I felt like I was being done a gross injustice, and so I fought against it, and I won!
I have been questioning whether law school is still my passion lately, just because so much seems to be decided based on money, privilige, class, and power; justice never seems to be served to the people who do deserve it. I believe in justice above all else, but I was losing faith and beginning to think that justice was a figment of my imagination. But I was dealt an injustice (however minor it may seem), I stook up for myself, I did what was necessary, and I earned the justice I deserved. This makes me very, very happy.