I sat there, eyes swollen and nerves on end as my teller in the Student Financial Services office told me the new balance of my bill. It was early August and I had just received my final package.
I filed my FAFSA twice. Not once. Twice. SFS took the second date as the official date of my FAFSA’s arrival, claiming there was something wrong with the first. I’d bet a lot of my money that there wasn’t because I sat and reviewed and signed it myself, checking and double checking everything.
Generally speaking, this situation is far from rare and infrequent as I was to learn a month or so later.
My expected family contribution stated that for the year, my bills should average out to about $3,000 plus some change for the year. For the year. For the whole year. Did I mention $3,000 for the year?
My semester bill, by the end of the sad-looking Stafford loan, was almost $5,000. Something did not add up. Someone must have done something wrong.
I was accepted into the colleges I applied to and chose Temple mainly for the fact that the pamphlets constantly advertised the affordable and easy billing and tuition.
Suddenly advertisements meant nothing.
As I sat crying in front of this teller, he handed me a pamphlet about private loans that Temple suggests students apply for in situations like my own – situations where suddenly your semester bill is almost triple what it should have been and the money that he is asking for, quite frankly, doesn’t even exist in your bank account.
“It’s not the worst thing that could happen,” he said to me.
But what SFS doesn’t actualize in their calculations is that some kids cannot get private loans. The students who need these loans are often of lower incomes than their wealthier counterparts. The effect is spiraling and never ending.
I felt as if I was being punished for being independent (by force) from my parents’ wallet. So I applied for a loan every day until I found one that would approve me for a loan as a sole borrower.
I am now a freshman with a $5,000 loan with an 8 percent interest rate. I am now another step behind the rest on the basis of money. I will be in more debt than the majority of my peers just for coming from a family with a humble home and a small wallet.
Great way to start in the system of higher education.
It seems that as Temple grows, more and more of us are being left behind.