I know I am probably guilty of this too, but something that just really irks me is when you email someone and they reply with some stupid answer that doesn’t even address your question.
For instance: earlier this week I received an email from the school I was planning on enrolling at for a library science degree. I was a bit surprised since I had made the decision to defer my enrollment and thought I was set for a year. This particular email was about the financial aid form I submitted. Apparently, I had not indicated enough credits per term to be considered for financial aid. The email requested I complete a new form, which was attached to the email, and send it in at my earliest convenience. Okay, I thought, no big deal. I will just complete a new form and send it back in.
I put it off for a bit while I did other internet things: reading other emails, browsing through my FaceBook news feed, catching up on my favorite blogs. Then I went back to the email and took a look at the form. The form states:
To be considered a full-time student you must be enrolled for at least 12 credits (undergraduate students) or 9 credits (graduate students). To be eligible for federal loan funds, you must be enrolled at least half-time. Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible for most federal funds.
How do you interpret this? The way I interpreted it was that I had to be enrolled for at least 9 credit hours for the school year to be considered full-time and that would be more than what was needed to be eligible for federal funds since it was full-time which is more than half-time. This may be totally off, but I read it several times last night and each time came to that same conclusion. There are 4 terms in the school year, so on the original financial aid form I submitted, I wrote I was planning to take 3 credits per term for a total of 12 credits for the year thinking I would be exceeding the requirements stated on the form.
I still planned to get a new form completed and mailed in, but I was now confused since the email from a guy who’s signature says he is the Assistant Director for the Student Resource Center/Financial Aid stated that I needed to be enrolled for at least 4.5 credits per term to be considered for federal funds. I decided to reply to the email to see if I could get clarification on the issue. Here’s my email:
On the financial aid form, it states that to receive aid a graduate student must be enrolled at least half-time and that to be considered full-time, graduate students must take 9 credits. Is this 9 credits per quarter or 9 credits total? I was reading that I would need to be enrolled in 9 credits total, and the 3 credits per term would fulfill this requirement since there are 4 terms and I would then be taking a total of 12 credits. Your email and the actual form seem to say two different things to me.
I am also deferring my enrollment. How does this affect the need to redo this form? Thank you for your assistance.
And here is the reply I received today (again from the Assistant Director for the Student Resource Center/Financial Aid):
Thank you for your e-mail. Under federal guidelines, a student must be enrolled at least half-time per term in order to receive federal aid for that term. If you are planning to defer your enrollment, then you will want to fill out the revised form indicating the number of credits for each term that you plan to be enrolled. Once we have received your revised form, we will be able to process your financial aid based upon your specifications. Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions!
Well, Mr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid, I did ask you a question and you kind of just glossed over the entire thing even though it was the bulk of my email to you. Yes, I understand that there appear to be Federal guidelines in place dictating how many credit hours I need to take, but why does your financial aid form seem to contradict this? If it doesn’t contradict the Federal guidelines and I am confusing things, why did you not explain things for me?
It is probably a lost cause to again email Mr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid again, so I guess I will place a call to a person and actually speak to someone. The entire thing is most likely a lost cause since it is very unlikely I will qualify for any financial aid no matter how many credits I am taking.