The B.S. Wasn’t Free and I Didn’t Get A Car

Your career was based on the spin of the wheel and you had to get married.

The original game: Your career was based on the spin of the wheel and you were forced to get married.

Every semester was the same story.  Info from the financial aid office took at least half the semester to be communicated to the bursar’s office.  This meant every month another invoice demanding payment.  If you weren’t paid in full when it came time to register for the following semester, you were banned from registering, which meant you might not get in to needed classes.  Then you would need a creeper.  Yes, it was really called that.

I would deduct all scholarships and grants at the beginning of the semester since the monies went directly to the university and I only needed to fork over the balance.  So I would ignore the bills until just before the end of the semester, when the amount due finally reflected the aforementioned monies.  My mother would call, once a month, at 8 am on a Saturday, to remind me that ‘they’ (my parents) were not going to pay my bills.  This act did not endear her to my roommate who looked forward to sleeping in…

Some semesters, for unknown reasons, there would be about $100 outstanding.  Where they came up with the discrepancies, I had no idea.  But I would clear the account just before registration.

One semester I had to argue with the bursar when I was turned away from the registrar’s office due to non-payment.  All they had to do was call the financial aid department across the street, but nooooooo.  Time was wasted reviewing every single dollar charged, paid and owed.  If I could afford to pay the full bill, then I wouldn’t have been getting the grants and scholarships….

Final semester and I kept getting bills for another $1000.  A friend – also on aid – reminded me that if you weren’t paid in full before graduation, they withheld your degree.  I knew there was no way I still owed that much.  Besides, I had no desire or need to display my degree once gotten in an office, and B.S., M.S, PhD. after a person’s name doesn’t mean they aren’t also an A.S.S.H.O.L.E.  But I intended to square my account anyway since I already had loans to look forward to paying.  Because I’m that kind of person.

Having experienced the charms of the bursar’s office for seven preceding semesters, I had no intent to argue, whine or plead my case.  I went armed with every bit of paper regarding promised monies and receipts and simply asked to see a statement of my account.

I got That Look.  The one that said ‘I hate wiseass college students.’

She couldn’t find my name in her printouts.  Well, you certainly were able to find my name to send me this bill for $1000.

And I got That Look again, which said ‘I really hate wiseass college students.’

She searches again, finds my name and announces proudly that I was carrying 24 credits that semester – as if that justified the bill.

I may be crazy, but I’m not certifiable.  I was only carrying 21 credits.  Thus began the paper war between us.

We review the classes I’m taking and she comes up with a class that had been cancelled at the beginning of the semester (since not enough students signed up for the course).  I was still being charged for the course.  NOTE:  courses cost $103 per credit that semester, making the cost of a three-credit course the grand sum of $309.

Check the list of registered classes.

And I got That Look again – with an eye roll, which said ‘I’ve heard a lot of excuses, but this is definitely a new one.’  But when she checks her printouts, she verifies the class does not exist. But will not deduct any charges from my account.

Did you drop the class?  No.  It was cancelled.  There was no need to drop it since the university dropped the course, so I merely added a different class to my schedule.

She would not deduct the charges unless I dropped the course.

But the class doesn’t exist!

Nonertheless, I walked three feet over to the registrar’s office, filled out the appropriate form dropping the non-existent course, took my stamped copy and walked three feet back to the bursar’s office and presented said form.

I have now officially dropped the class.  Now how much do I owe?

Her fingers quickly danced across calculator keys, then she looked up, smiled and said ‘You don’t owe anything.  You have a credit in your account of $632.24.’

Before I dropped the non-existent course, I was charged $1000.  Now that it’s been dropped, the university now owes me over $600?

We stared at each other for minute.  I gave her The Look.  The one that said ‘I will now release the flying monkeys.’

Do you want a refund?

It’s not the faculty and staff salaries or even the maintenance and improvement of the campus that make the cost of  college so exorbitant.  Nor is it the lab, dorm or meal plan fees.  It’s those non-existent classes escalating the costs.

And yes, I would like a refund – of $30,000 – for all the classes that weren’t part of the curriculum.  Especially that very creative, abstract math class that the university staff learned that wasn’t offered to students.  A class like that might have made my life easier.

I had loans to repay, the salary was per year, not per payday, and I had no car.

That Milton Bradley game had no basis in reality.