Pre-departure Finances

May 14, 2008

DO NOT expect anyone to help you. I’m a little frustrated right now, but in simple and plain honesty, there is not a single person who has even a clue as to what the hell is going on. If you think something is right, you need to make someone agree with you or explain to you in legal, unchangeable terms why what you want can’t happen.

Getting a loan was a pain in the ass, but that’s the market’s fault. My loan is currently in the process of being finalized, so I called my financial aid office just for fun to verify that as soon as the loan is dispersed, they will direct deposit it into my bank account so I can pay the $14,000+ fee due on June 1. Nope, no. They don’t do that. I argued with the counselor for a few minutes with the general idea that, yes… they must do that. Every single person who studies abroad with AIFS needs their fees prior to summer quarter start date (which is June 16th and the day they would release any over-payments on your account) and if they wouldn’t release the fees- surely, someone would have told me that… one of my study abroad advisors, someone at an orientation, any of the pounds of literature they have handed me.

So I talked to my advisor. Apparently it is against federal law for them to release any money before the start of the quarter. Federal law, eh? Might it have crossed her mind to mention that? Might it have specifically crossed her mind when I asked her THREE times about the negative repercussions of registering at OSU for ONLY fall and not summer? Or when I went into her office hours to talk about financial aid, specifically LOANS?

So I am in the process of re-registering for summer and autumn quarter. That is awesome, because now my federal aid will be split four ways… and winter and spring quarters will be messed up.

But, in fact, this is no help whatsoever. I can get my money in the middle of June, but as I said, the due date is JUNE 1. AIFS, on the other hand, is actually very helpful, and my point-of-contact, Shannon Sanctuary, is friendly and it seems like she might has a clue on what she’s doing. I can fill out a form and delay payment on almost all of my fees until the loan is released. Awesome. Thanks. Except I have to pay for my airfare, insurance, and damage deposit by June 1, no matter what. Understandable, those things really need to be done. So that is about $3,100 that I need by June 1 that I have not accounted for. I don’t know about you, but… I don’t have $3,100 just laying around. I can completely max out my credit card and my checking account and pay the fees, but then I cannot pay for rent, bills, food, ect… literally anything. I will have $24 left to last me until the middle of June. Something like this… you know… is kind of a major thing. Again, no one mentioned anything concerning it ever, at any point, not an illusion to it, not a statement, not a warning… nothing.

So I called Financial Aid to find out my exactly packaging date for my financial aid package, because Jenny said three or four times “Call about your packaging date so you know exactly when to go in to do your financial aid” and the guy said “We do not, ever, give exact packaging dates. It’s the end of May sometime.” Wow, dude, thanks so much… so helpful. Appreciate it greatly. So I have to call them every single day (or I’m going to) to find out my date. When I find out, I sprint there, have them fill out a form (that, I can forsee, they will NEVER HAVE SEEN EVER BEFORE DESPITE THE FACT THAT EVERYONE THAT STUDIES ABROAD HAS ONE) I’ll fight with someone, I will tell them what they need to write, and they will sign it. Then I guess I have to fax it to AIFS immediately, hope they receive it and verify it, and then with luck, I will be okay to wait to pay the rest of my fees until the middle of June.

Then I have literally absolutely no money for two or three weeks (actually, starting now, since if I spend anything I won’t be able to pay my fees). Come June 16th or whenever they decide to do their jobs, I’ll get my loan money. Then I can pay AIFS. Then I can payback the CD I released to pay for my all-of-a-sudden $750 acceptance fee. Then I can pay my medical bills from my vaccinations and travel appointments, and hopefully purchase a camera. It’s just sweet that all of this is going to need to be done so last minute, and that no one warned me it would be that way. I’m just preparing to go to Africa, no need to plan ahead.

I will try to upload my budget sheet. I’m going to do my best to keep all receipts and update that budget sheet while I am abroad, so if someone is looking for help, they can have a real idea on what to expect, as opposed to the budget sheet I received, which allowed $800 for clothes. Really?

I also need to apply for my visa, but I need my loan to come through first because I need to be able to prove that I can afford to go. I’m not worried about that yet, though.

I wish I could be excited. I’ve just been sick to death about this crap for weeks and I thought it’d be going away soon, not getting worse. Thus far, this experience has not been even slightly enjoyable.

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One Response to “Pre-departure Finances”

  1. Anita Roessner Says:

    Really proud of you, Jess. Bo would be, too. Enjoy yourself and stay safe.

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