Friday, September 2, 2011

Financial Aid Troubles

PICTURE THIS: Two adult females in there thirties fighting over a paper.

It was a friday morning and I have an 8am Spanish class. After class I planned to go to the Financial Aid office to obtain a signature, so I could mail off my scholarship activation form. I knew that this errand should be quick, in and out. All I needed was contact information and a signature. The Financial Aid  office only needed to fill out five lines and then I would take the form to the post office to mail it. I went to Financial Aid  after class and the line was short, surprisingly and I was relieved. It was a miracle, this never happens. As I stood in the line eager to get this process over with and take a nap there was a lady is standing in the line asking if people need help. She approached me as I explained I only need contact information and a signature. She glances over the paper and says, "Oh you have to go to the scholarship office." So, my miracle was over as I left the line and headed to another office. Luckily it was close and not difficult to find. I entered the scholarship office and spoke to lady at the front desk, hoping this would be my last stop. I have been up since 6am and I'm already exhausted. The receptionist looks over the activation form and says, Oh no you're in the wrong office; this must be filled out by financial aid." I sarcastically reply "Oh really that's funny because Financial Aid just sent me to your office."
        I head back up the hill and down the steps to Financial Aid. As I approach the window and hand them the form for a second time, the woman behind they glass says "I think you're going to have  to send this to the controllers office". No, I refuse another duck chase around campus for a form with five lines! I say,  "No this form only needs contact information", as she scrutinizes the paper. Then she says, "Well can you stand to the side for a minute; I'll be right with you. I had a feeling in my gut that this was another run around and I am becoming antsy. All I need is a signature and contact information from a financial aid officer. I wait patiently with no attitude or any form of rudeness. I give them respect and I follow their instructions. The lady behind the counter motions me to come over to the side door that leads to offices behind the counter. She opens the door and says, "Well this will take two days and we will fax it". Fax it? Fax it? It clearly has no fax number and it says mail documents to this address. The portion I need her to fill out is actually five lines which can be written in pen! I think two days for something you can do in an instant is ludicrous; it makes no sense! The lady informs me that I did not sign the bottom half of the form, I reply I will sign it after she is done signing it. She repeats, "It will take two days and students may change information; the university will fax it to the address". She closes the door and returns behind the counter.
       I fill out the bottom half of the form and wait for her motion again. She motions and the side door is opened by another woman. I explain to the woman who opens the door that I need contact information and a signature. She is reading the form and we are in an agreement that she will sign it. The first woman that claims it will take two days races to the side door to confront myself and the woman at the door. She says, "Oh I already informed this student it will take two days and she must return to pick up the paper".  So, she leaves her working station with a student at the window and a line out the door to argue about a situation that was about to be resolved until she interrupted. The other woman replies, "All the student needs is contact information you can write that this instant". She replies, "No I can not I have to type it, I don't like my handwriting". Yes, ladies and gentleman you heard it correctly a faculty member refuses to sign a form based on her repulsive penmanship. I laughed out loud; I honestly cannot believe she will not sign a form due to her penmanship and that she would rather take two days to type it. I look to a student to my left and I say, "Can you believe this"? She shakes her head in amazement. There are two civilized adults arguing over a form with only four lines and they are hold up a students scholarship check because they are bickering.
           I interject "If you don't like you're handwriting tell me what to write and I will sign it. She replies, "No no no it will take two days". The other lady replies, "I will write it if you don't like your handwriting. The student has already wrote in pen; it does not matter. There is no need to hold the student up". As I stand there like monkey in the middle, the deadline for my check gets closer and my pocket becomes smaller. Before I get pushed out of the office, the lady says "Two days as the other lady says get her name so you know who told you this information". The door closes and my paper is left with them it is 10:30am. I arrived at the Financial Aid at 8:30am, I spent two hours in a goose chase,  my scholarship form is due August 19th and it must be mailed.
      The office is closed until Convocation is over; I will return and someone else to sign my documents because that incident was extremely unprofessional and most importantly childish. I returned at 12pm and the line wrapped around the hallway; not as bad as I thought. I stood there wondering how I would get another faculty member to sign the form. Eureka! I could ask a question then I could slide in the signature for the form. It seemed like a solid plan until my thoughts were interrupted with a loud yell  , "Precious," I tried to mentally prepare my self for ignorant questions on why I returned to the office. I stood in front of her window and listened to her rambling. Basically she mentioned three points which were: you didn't have to leave, I would have signed it, You didn't have to go to anybody else. I did not have time to argue these allegations and it would be impossible to get anything done if I did argue with her. But I didn't get it the first point and the second point had no connection and the third point was up in the air. I tried to add her points up but they didn't make sense. Then the rambling subsided she slid the notebook of chicken scratch to me and pointed to a paragraph in the middle. Then she said "Well you can write it; the information is right there." I wrote everything down and then I said to her "I still need a signature." She said, "Well I don't know if this person is here today, i don't know if she came back, hold on a minute". I watch my paper being slid to another officer as they whisper to each other publicly. Then the lady who hates her own signature signs the paper but not with her own name nor the name she had me write down. And I was finally on my way tired mentally and physically over five lines on a paper!

The "Paper Pushing" Phoenix

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