Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Speed Bumps.




Firstly, an update on my grades this semester.  Every class was an A, save for Body Parts and Functions, which was a B.  Since this was an online class combining two subjects, with a lab, my heart is not broken.


This is my heart.  Lo, it is unbroken.

But recently, I saw an update on how the rules regarding Financial Aid are being handled, allegedly on a federal level.  I spoke to a few people and it seemed unlikely that it would affect me, but I thought it best to be sure.  So I sent the following missive to a Financial Aid expert on campus:

"Ms. Savagehenry

Greetings.  I hope that you and your family are well.  My name is Coyote Kishpaugh, my student ID is XXXXXXXX.  Now that I am out of finals and the magnificent madness that accompanies, I have a concern.  Looking over the new SP policy, I encountered this: 

3. Maximum Time Frame
The maximum time frame for students to complete their academic program may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program. For example, if the published length of the program is 48 credit hours, the maximum number of attempted credit hours may not exceed 72. After 150% of the published length of the program has been attempted (including Wossamotta U. and all transfer credit hours from accredited institutions), students are no longer eligible for federal financial aid. There is an option to submit a SAP appeal.

So, while this in theory would change nothing about my status, I wanted to check and be sure.  My first foray into college, decades ago, was an attempt to keep insurance while dealing with health issues.  My grades at the time reflect this.  I have already used my one appeal per lifetime keeping this from canceling my financial aid.

Because Wossamotta includes all classes ever taken for this record, this semester puts me over 150% of the Associate's Degree program length.  Therefore, will this new policy affect me?  If so, how, and what are my options?

Thank you for your time and consideration,
--Coyote."

I have not yet received a reply to this letter.  However, I did get the following, sent automatically:

A review of your academic performance for the semester just completed at Wossamotta University indicates that you are no longer eligible to receive federal student aid (grants, loans or work-study).  You did not meet the conditions of your financial aid probation/academic plan.  These conditions were specified in your prior satisfactory academic progress (SAP) appeal approval letter.  You are not eligible to submit another appeal as outlined in the SAP policy.   

Your awarded federal aid has been cancelled.  You will be responsible for making payment on your future student charges or withdrawing from your classes if you are unable to pay your tuition and fees.  Go to (their website link) to view payment information.  Also be prepared to purchase or rent your textbooks.

Eligibility to receive student financial aid may be reinstated at a later date once you have met the minimum satisfactory academic progress standards.  Make an appointment with one of the Financial Aid Coordinators if you think you may be eligible to once again receive financial aid. 

If you have questions, contact our office at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or email us at (their email address)

Sincerely,

WU Financial Aid

Please do not reply to this email.

 

Fascinating.  So far as I could tell, this was a new wrinkle entirely.  It didn’t mention any changes in the SAP.  Rather, the letter acted as though I had failed to keep up my end of the Academic Probation these dinks had put me under last semester.  After careful consideration of the matter, I sent them the following:


“To the fine personnel at Financial Aid,

Greetings.  My name is Coyote Kishpaugh.  My Student ID is XXXXXXXX.  A matter of some import has been brought to my attention, and I am hoping that this is just a simple misunderstanding that can be quickly worked out.

I just received an email and letter indicating that I "did not meet the conditions of your financial aid probation/academic plan," and that "These conditions were specified in your prior satisfactory academic progress (SAP) appeal approval letter."  However, following my so-called "successful appeal" regarding Academic Probation and Financial Suspension, I was under the impression that I was neither on Financial Aid Suspension, nor Financial Aid Probation, any longer. 

Further, I was told after my "successful" appeal that I was remaining on Academic Probation for reasons unrevealed, and so long as I kept my semester grades at least 2.0 I would be fine.

My GPA this semester was 3.61.  I received a letter earlier this week congratulating me for keeping my grades up in accordance with the terms of my Academic Probation.

So in summary, I was only put on either FAS or AP for grades over two decades old, and those only due to health matters at the time.  The one appeal your system allows me resulted in my being taken off FAP but being kept on AP (with all restrictions implied) so long as my semester GPA was at least 2.0.  

Now I am told that my Financial Aid is being taken away.  Since I have consistently been on the Dean's List since my return after a 20-year hiatus, I would very much like to know what on Earth is going on.  

Therefore, I am writing you now.  Please look into this matter, as it seems likely there has been some mistake.  If there has not, please supply a detailed explanation of these events to further my own understanding.

Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this matter,
--Coyote.”


So.  I await their response.  It what looks like two concerns but might for all I know be one, I can only hope that some semblance of sanity will reign.  If not, then I will work my way through, attending classes part time.  While I have no objection to this in spirit – I know friends who have done so, and done it well – this does mean taking a lot more time to do it.  I had so hoped to get my doctorate before I was 65.

Still, my continuing education is obviously a worthwhile endeavor.  There are enough forces aligned against me to prove it so.

Sometime again,
--Coyote.


(Beurocracy picture courtesy of  shamrachronicles.com; clown photo courtesy of frugal-cafe.com.  Original artists unknown, but inclusion here is in no way intended to infringe upon the original artist's copyright.  Spock is created by Gene Roddenberry and Leonard Nemoy, and Mr. Nemoy's image is all his own, so there.  All rights still reserved by the rightful reservists.)

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