Thursday, January 26, 2012

Philosophical and Financial Run Around

Brain has to recharge.  Can’t get clear.
Things I’m pondering with no real answers right now:

Continuing the degree.  My school is being unreasonable and though not actually coming out & saying they’re refusing to send me an itemized bill, I’ve asked for one seven times now and still have nothing.  They just keep referring me to the online finances tab but that’s where the confusion has come from to begin with.  They say I owe $834, the financial current due reads $151.  Most recently I was told that, since I didn’t have a payment schedule set up on my finance page to pay for the thing they’re saying I owe but won’t provide a bill for, I’m going to be suspended from continuing classes.

When is the last time ANYone just forked over $800 because someone said ‘Oh I know your finance tab says you only have a current due balance of $150 but this is for last year.  Last year’s bill (that the disbursements from federal aid covered) is what you owe.  Pay no mind to the actual figures.  Oh yeah & sorry but we don’t generally send out bills.’  Or something to that effect.

So here’s the deal.  The real deal, the crux of it all.  In bullet point format (which doesn’t make it any easier to choose the right answer but it does make it faster to type).

Ø  I’m a year away from graduating with a bachelors in English.
Ø  I’ve wanted to finish school for a very long time.
Ø  I’m too close to the end to give up now.
Ø  I recently read some disturbing news about Ashford University and some financial practices that make this situation sit even less well in my gut.
Ø  I’m tired of being in debt.
Ø  I’m never going to stop accumulating debt if I continue going to school anywhere.
Ø  I am nearing the end of a long road but no matter how tough the battle does it really make a difference in the end?
Ø  I want to be able to say that I hold a bachelor’s degree in English.
Ø  I am about to publish a book without a degree.
Ø  I don’t need to take classes called Mind & Machine to self-publish a novel and be a Writer.
Ø  I’ve been a writer for years, now I’ll be a published Author; all still before any diploma would show up.
Ø  I’m sick of school impacting my everyday life.
Ø  I’m afraid of leaving now only to have to start repaying loans in 6 months when I haven’t even sold a single book on the open market yet.
Ø  I’m less marketable in the mainstream job market without a degree.
Ø  I could give a crap less about the mainstream job market and will do just about anything to ensure I can work the way I want – from home, typing for a living and on “tour” singing for my supper.
Ø  I join organizations and no one has asked where I went to school, only what my book is about.
Ø  I’m getting a headache thinking about all of it.

I’m lost with no clue how to solve this volley in my head.  And I could go on for about 600 more bullet points but somehow I don’t think that’s the best source for curing writer’s block you know?

It’s really something to consider because the money already spent isn’t entirely a waste, I gained a lot of knowledge so far, but how can I really truly show that without having that piece of paper in my hand?  And if I leave now isn’t that money all a waste in the long run?  Or is it?  I just don’t know anymore but I do know that I feel like getting a degree is great but getting it from a University that has apparently been using potentially shady practices with hundreds of student’s money really catches in my throat.  Mostly because now I feel like I’m one of them.

Matt says I should just contact the Attorney General in the state of Iowa if they continue to refuse to give me an itemized bill.  Maybe I should do that anyway.  None of this stuff showed up when I first Googled Ashford University when I first considered them as a higher education option.  I’m a 4.0 student but this entire thing just escapes me as making any sort of logical sense.

I know I have to dig deep into my heart & soul to find the answers, I was just hoping I didn’t have to dig into my wallet because that was what financial aid was supposed to be for.  And if I do decide to just pay them so I can resume my classes how invested am I really going to even be now?  Will I slack off knowing all that stuff above has bubbled to the surface or will I continue as usual studying hard and getting good grades?

Most importantly though, what if the exact same thing happens at the end of my next year of school? 

My brain is about to cave in.


Maine-y-ac said...

Have you contacted the Financial Aid folks to find out exactly what they paid? That might be a place to start along with the AG in Iowa. I can't believe they won't get you an itemized bill (even if it's online).

It all sounds fishy to me.

If I can help at all, let me know!

Suldog said...

I agree with Matt, but it may be easier than actually contacting the attorney general. Just putting a "CC: Iowa Attorney General's Office" on the bottom of your next written inquiry may be enough to get them to come clean with you.

Jenn said...

" the Attorney General in the state of Iowa if they continue to refuse to give me an itemized bill."

Yeah, I was wondering if this wasn't the sort of case that the Attorney General exist to investigate.

They can't tell you where the money is owed, just that you owe it. That would get my inner mule in full 'oh no way Jose' mode, for sure.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

It is way fishy to me too because the entire back & forth is like a big brick wall. The one I'm beating my head against I mean where I request something and instead of providing it they direct me to the online course catalog and tell me to have a great day.

I actually just pulled up the emails back & forth & updated the total number of times I've asked and its seven. I told my Advisor I will not be asking again and all future questions will be sent to the Attorney General of Iowa. I'm contacting them regardless because another friend of mine here in PHX was given the same schpeel but an even higher figure. This is outrageous.

And there was an investigation launched last February by the AG. Sadly one month after I had started.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I can only imagine what a pain this is for you. Definitely do not pay! To have to fight for what is right....never makes sense to me. The right thing should just be done, and they are not doing it. Life!!