Friday, September 28, 2007

Coming and Going!

This guy (I say guy) probably has to work together with him/herself all the time just to make the decision to move toward food - here I was just about to complain that I couldn't make heads or tails of the financial aid fiasco at Oklahoma State University OKC where my daughters (often seen hugging so closely they closely resemble a two-headed animal) are in attendance. Actually, to be perfectly honest with you, the two daughters I actually claim from time to time have NOT been attending college regularly, but have been typical freshmen in so many ways. If I hadn't received a letter from the Financial Aid Department alerting me to the various inconsistencies on their FAFSA forms I wouldn't have known of their extreme negligence and they wouldn't be the subject of this blog -- but they are.

You may be like me, you may have freshmen living with you. If you are, I would encourage you to bring them back to reality as often as possible - freshmen seem to have a new and wholly inclusive way of dealing with problems that occur. Because of the Privacy Act (which in my opinion is WAY overly used and abused) the school officials are unable to talk with me, a person with experience and a brain, about my daughters' needs. My daughters (as your daughters and your sons probably) have NO CLUE as to what is expected, they listen with their eyes, nothing comes into their ears, and they nod a lot, which equates to making as many mistakes as possible, which equates to nothing really getting done, which equates to mom having to come to the rescue - so why not talk to me in the first place? SQUASH the Privacy Act if the kid says its OK to talk to MOM -- finally, someone directed my girls to write out "It is OK for anyone at OSU-OKC to talk to my mom about my educational needs." THANK YOU!

The FAFSA was created using the wrong name because my daughters recently changed their last name from their birth name to my last name, Stringfellow (it's a beautiful thing). This created a really really big circus at the government level, but no one told them in the first place (i.e. the SCHOOL OFFICIAL)to fill the forms out in their OLD name since they hadn't gotten around to having their social security cards changed - yet. After what, 6 weeks of class, they're being asked to leave because they haven't paid - they haven't paid because Financial Aid hasn't received money from FAFSA, which hasn't come in because FAFSA was filled out incorrectly, because why - OH I KNOW, because the SCHOOL OFFICIAL misdirected my kids because of the PRIVACY ACT and they couldn't tell me how to do it correctly. Now, I won't let my little darlings off the hook - they are old enough to pull the headsets off their heads long enough to listen, but even if they had they would have been misled because they were told to fill them out "correctly", but that wasn't explained to them. They actually showed their respective S.S. cards to the official, it would have been a good idea at THAT point to say "RED FLAG", Hello, change the names to the name on the card JUST FOR NOW and then you can re-do it when it's time to. That didn't happen.

So, what to do? Well, we're re-doing it the only way we can - with time. We're resubmitting the SAR, the Student Aid Report, the yellow copy you receive from FAFSA, and that should take oh, 3-4 weeks minimum. Meanwhile the girls have to stay in class, pass the tests, read the books, do the work, be the freshmen they were meant to be, and hey - MAYBE, just MAYBE they'll get to stay the rest of the semester without having to withdraw for failure to pay - if the school realizes that the responsibilities of this event could have been avoided.

I taught at the college level for a long time. I taught freshmen. I think I'm the ONLY professor I know that said to every student I have "Write out on a piece of paper that an adult of YOUR choice has the right to discuss your educational needs with me, and anyone else at this school - because you're not listening to me." I had hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper to file the next week during class! Not one freshmen (save the older adults returning to school) refused, because money is a confusing issue when it comes to paying it, receiving it, and just dealing with it. Grades aren't that big of a deal really, freshmen don't actually care about grades the first semester - hence the drop out rate for the spring of every year at every college across America. Freshmen need to be loved into reality sometimes! Hugs, and loves, eye-to-eye contact, take out the earbuds kids, and listen to the old people!

It's OK - I'm OK. I have my education, and when I began it I was actually a parent, I had a mortgage, a full time job, and owed everyone in the world - money was important. The babies (I call all of my freshmen students my babies) have fared far better than most freshmen because the first two classes we have are designed to keep them straight, keep them informed, keep them lined up - but that's just me. Oh, that I had been asked to teach English this semester at OSU-OKC.....none of this would have happened....but then again, it's a great great great experience for the girls....I just hate going through it because I know better and I'm OLDDDDDD.

I think I'll be OK. They serve coffee in the Student Union!

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