The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

Posts Tagged ‘financial aid’

Got Punk’d?

Posted by isntshelovlei on August 26, 2009

106ca7d1630b9072The only nursing program I applied to but was not accepted was “Sage of Monticello University” (you’ll notice that at least for now I use a lot of codenames; but if you read between the lines—or do a bit of googling—they’re fairly easy to figure out). It wasn’t that I wasn’t qualified or anything (I mean I have a 4.0 GPA what else could they have wanted from me—blood?), but the program is so competitive that the class was full by Christmas and so I was waitlisted. And on the waiting list I stayed from January until…today— August 25, 2009. For months the waiting list candidates received monthly emails stating that no, no one had come off the waiting list…if a spot becomes available they will call you (don’t bother calling them)…if you still have prerequisites to finish—they suggest you finish them…and they still encourage you to complete the pre-matriculation requirements such as their $77.00 background check even though you may not be offered a spot and of course none of these expenses are refundable…etc., etc. Every month, I would open one of these templated emails with one eye shut and the other squinted open hoping that this time I would glimpse some good news—and always nothing. I just received one of these emails as recently as August 11th.

After months and months of this routine, I had accepted the fact that I just wasn’t going to SMU. Besides, it’s not like I didn’t have plenty of other options—with my grades I could go anywhere (else) I wanted to. I had just about forgotten about SMU and their maddening monthly emails. So imagine my surprise when I came home to find a message on my answering machine from their Assistant Director of Admissions. Why else would she be calling unless a spot had opened up?

At first I hesitated before I called her back—I needed time to think. In the program I currently plan to attend I will be working AND going to school—I have a mortgage to pay. But of course I would LOVE to be able to just go to school (you’re not “allowed” to work during SMU’s program and so they certify your financial aid to include a “living expense loan”). I would LOVE to be able to abandon the daily grind as a gofer and to not have to go to work an hour early just to get a damn parking spot. Sounds great!—where do I sign?? …But wait a minute! It’s frickin’ August! The end of August at that! School starts in a week! You want me to just quit my job and pull some miracle financial aid package out of my ass a hat in a week?!? I don’t have some long lost relative who recently died and left me a stockpile of cash or a trust fund. And last time I checked it was still illegal to sell your organs on eBay—and my blood type is O, so I’m sure I’d get a nice amount of bids. Wasn’t the kidney that was posted on eBay back in 1999 going for about 5.7 million before eBay yanked the auction down?  Man, what I wouldn’t give for that kind of cash right about now…

So basically that woman got me all excited for nothing—trying to sell me a pipe dream. I think I just got Punk’d…

Needless to say, the economy sucks and the financial aid situation is bungled around here. To add insult to injury, we’re not getting any PHEAA grant money until the PA state budget is passed. And these colleges and universities want us to apply for (like we’ll actually get approved for) these insane amounts of student loans—it’s ludicrous!  I’m about to have to set up a lemonade stand or sell plasma just to pay for books.

And I don’t know if Ashton Kutcher was behind that phone call I got today but as Sagat would say…”Man…funk dat!”

Posted in Nursing school | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Can I pay my VISA with my Mastercard?

Posted by isntshelovlei on July 21, 2009

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Did I mention how expensive nursing school is—before you even get there? I have spent a small fortune on application fees, transcripts that have to be updated after every semester, state background checks, child abuse clearances, FBI fingerprinting, physicals, drug screens, and CPR certification. And don’t forget before classes start you still need to buy uniforms, shoes, a stethoscope, lab kit, and oh yeah—BOOKS! Books at my school (or at least for my program) run $700-1000 per semester. Hopefully since these are textbooks related to my major I will actually be able to continue to use them beyond their assigned semester (unlike, say, the $125 art history book that would probably be more useful as filler for Marshmallow’s litter box). Most of us know that selling textbooks back is close to pointless. You might be lucky to get even 15% of what you paid for them—though in this economy I guess every little bit helps.

Not that I’m complaining (okay, maybe just a little), because I am about to embark on a journey to fulfill my dreams. But money still doesn’t grow on trees. My current school does not even let you use your financial aid to pay for some of this stuff (at least my old school gave us a “book credit”)… The recommendation of the student financial aid office?—“just charge it on a credit card until you get your refund.” Gee—thanks.

The student loan thing is seriously getting out of hand. Last year I was accepted to a school, we’ll call them “Pretzel University” ;). So PU (ha-ha, but no pun intended), sent me my financial aid paperwork stating that my estimated cost of attendance was about $54,000. My financial aid award totaled about $16,000—this including Stafford Loans! Now that is a serious gap! I was told that as they are a private institution, PU is not required to meet my full financial aid and that I would have to apply for private student loans to cover the difference. So let me get this straight—you want me to rack up $38,000 in additional student loan debt per year (and this was not even for a nursing degree)?!? I highly doubt that I could even qualify for such a loan anyway. Thanks, but no thanks—and so I said sayonara to PU.

I came across a campaign on Facebook suggesting that student loan debt be forgiven in order to stimulate the economy which I think is a great idea. I don’t know about you, but that “stimulus” we received—did not stimulate me at all. I probably used it to pay my growing stack of overdue bills. I am also not seeing much of these minute tax cuts in my check (maybe that extra $30 is just making my gross a little higher so I can pay more what?—TAXES!). Okay maybe I’m exaggerating but the cost of living is steadily increasing—did you know that a gallon of milk costs about a dollar more than a gallon of gas? Do you know how long one gallon of milk lasts in my house?—maybe 24 hours if I’m lucky. Too bad I can’t fill my three-year-old up at the local Sunoco.

So instead of bailing out all of the rich folks (that General Motors CEO made out quite nicely and will be retiring next month with a $10,000,000 pension/benefits package), the country should bail-out our future nurses, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, who once they finally finish all those grueling years of college will actually be able to help “stimulate” the economy provided that they are not engulfed in hundreds of dollars per month in student loan payments.   I hope Renegade is listening… 

Posted in Nursing school, Odds and Ends | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »