City Tech Places: Financial Aid Office

The Longest Wait

By

Breyona George

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According to Sandra Higgins, Director of Financial Aid the “Financial Aid office is offered to help students with one of the most important stages when applying for college,” whether it is tuition, books, transportation, or even getting papers filed, financial aid office is the place to go.  You never know when you may need to go to financial aid office and when you get there be prepared for what might be a longer wait than usual. Being prepared with all of your questions and proper documents can make your experience go much smoother.

“Where are you going?” voiced the tall security guard. ”Financial Aid Office” I replied. I just need to ask them a few questions about my tuition and my T.A.P.  “Down the stairs and to the left you can’t miss it” he said in his deep voice. Cool this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes I thought to myself as I walked towards the doors. It was the week before classes started and I needed to make sure everything was correct before classes began. Financial Aid is a government program that helps students with paying for tuition, books, transportation, and living for those who apply and are eligible. According to StudentAid.Gov “Our general eligibility requirements include that you have financial need, are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program at your college or career school, and more. Make sure you’re familiar with our basic eligibility criteria, and ask a college financial aid office if you have any questions about whether you qualify.” I could hear the loud talking as I pulled open the doors leading to the steps.

As I walked down the steps I peered to the left, this must be financial aid he did say to the left. I trailed the line to find the last person so I could join the correct line. Financial Aid lines are broken into two, one for questions and one for submitting documents.  Maybe I was confused wasn’t this supposed to be an office, with chairs and getting a number or signing a list then you meet with someone. There were 3 staff members in the window helping each student 1 by 1.

Is this the line? This couldn’t be the line to ask a question.  Maybe there was a sneaker release going on where there was supposed to be a financial aid office. The line was wrapped around like six flags roller coaster lines. I looked down at my phone 12:30pm flashed across my screen. If I don’t get this done today I will never get this done.  I pulled my brightly colored Beats headphones from my bag. I searched around the bottom of the bag looking for my IPod like a mouse looking for cheese.  AHA! I found it.  Plugged in my headphones and threw on the first playlist that caught my eye, Dj Sir Manny it is. As I bopped my head and walked to the end of the line that wrapped around the columns and table that was placed strategically in the center.  I prepared myself for what could have been a torturous event.

Let me check my Instagram while I stand here, I pulled out my phone from my front pocket, put in my lock code, and proceeded to the app. Loading… Loading… Loading…Loading…unable to load. What! What’s it means its unable to load. I peered to the top left of my screen. NO SERVICE, wow so now I am stuck here with just my IPod and a phone with no service. What am I going to do with myself for this long? I twiddled my thumbs for a little as the line grew longer and longer as the minutes passed by feeling like an eternity. Why does it feel like this line isn’t moving? Students and parents around me obviously felt the same way. Voicing their opinion and sighing loudly for the extended period of time they’ve been on this line. I sighed loudly along with them showing them I felt their pain too but we will get through this together.  Each person’s feet shuffled a little more each time “NEXT!” were called.  Each student asked his or her questions spending 5-10 minutes with the advisor some longer.  I bet you this lady has an attitude when I get to the desk. If she has an attitude I am going to be upset considering I waited on this line for so long. Maybe I should go home and try again another day. These staff workers work these long hours dealing with probably 1,500 students a day, some of the same students over & over again.

I felt myself getting closer and closer. I watched as the signs with bright red writing on the posters became distant to me and I found myself closer to the front of the line. “NEXT PERSON FOR A QUESTION!” shouted the woman behind the counter. I looked around and sure enough it was me.  I felt the anxiety as I walked towards the woman. What if I forget my questions? What if she can’t fix my problem? Will I have to sit out another semester? To be continued…. No I’m just joking.  I was now face to face with the advisor. “I have a few questions about my T.A.P. & Financial Aid.” “Enter your social” the woman replied, I did as she requested.  She scrolled around looking at the screen for a few minutes. Everything is good she laughed as she could see the stress in my face. “Just complete your T.A.P. it says you’re missing some information and apply for the work study program you still have that option,”  I sat there lost as if she spoke a foreign language. Everything is fine she said. YES! Glad I finally got that over and done with. “And this work-study thing Ill have to definitely apply for just because you suggested it.” She laughed and told me to have a good day.

I walked from the counter feeling relieved. Relieved that the woman behind the counter wasn’t an angry monster with a bad attitude and that regardless of what I assumed before I went onto the line she gave me more information than what I asked for.  According to Sandra Higgins-Director Financial Aid “Often Financial Aid office is understaffed, there are 11 of us in this office working. But we are also working on other projects outside of this office. So sometimes it is hard for us to help 1,500 students a day and still get our work done. It is quite a stressful situation,” I’m glad I had a good experience with financial aid regardless of the long hour of the waiting game.

 

Works Cited

Higgins, Sandra. Personal Interview. October 7th 2013.

“Who gets Aid.” . StudentAid.Gov. Federal Student Aid. n.d. web.

 

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