Confessions of a Spartan Alumna: The Financial Aid Office is Not Your Friend

Hello dears; hard to believe you’ve been in school a month, isn’t it? You’re one-quarter of the way through the semester! It’s time to address another topic cutting down college students left and right: financial aid.

I don’t know why they call it aid in the first place–they’ve never helped me with anything. Fall semester senior year, my aid package went from a refund of $1,300 to me owing $2,000, all one week before school began. When I called, they said my federal loans ran out.

Let’s put some perspective on this situation: I was in and out in exactly four years. I walked into MSU with 15 credits from AP & university tests. The most credits I’ve taken in a semester is 13, as my aid couldn’t afford any more. I took classes every summer, the most being 7 credits the summer before graduation.

Thank God I had money in my savings. The moral of the story? Set up camp in the financial aid office once a week. Do not call: they will say one thing on the phone and something completely different in person. Protect your investment; students who pay for their own education do better in school. Check your status, how much you’ve spent and how much you have left. The cost of tuition is constantly rising and will eat through your aid faster than you can say “But!”

While we’re on the topic, don’t take your whole refund check if you can avoid it. It seems like a good idea now, but that money needs to be paid back. You can save thousands of dollars in the future by scraping by today. Beware refund check ballers; they’re spending borrowed money.

That’s all for now. Sparty your way to the office (they moved it to the Student Services building) and remember: tuition payments and school expenses (books, lab equipment, etc.) are tax deductible. I’ll drop more knowledge soon.

–Devyne Lloyd


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