Friday, September 3, 2010

A Letter to The Dean

I've had nothing but trouble this semester. So I wrote the following letter to my Dean of Student Services.

(Names changed because this is the internet.)

Dear Ms. S*****,

This is my fourth semester at J****** Community College. Previous to that, I was a student at The d* ***** Institute for four years. In short, I am no stranger to the campus, the instructors, or the other students.

I regret to tell you of my deep disdain, dissatisfaction, and disillusionment for and with the college and my own education.

Let me start at the beginning, shall I?

I have been fighting tooth and nail for over a month to get my financial aid approved. I submitted my paperwork for my Pell Grant in a timely manner. However, it was cut through a paperwork error. All well and good, I thought, even though if I had been informed say, a month or so earlier, perhaps I could have put in for a loan in a better time frame.

Then I had to hound my financial adviser to get make sure my Pell Grant even went through. I needed desperately to know about it, because I am an underemployed single woman. I still live with my mother, and she simply has no money to give me for college.

I applied for my loan, and have been hounding and harping to make sure that went through. Naturally, the website, the JCC website didn't seem to accept my information the first time, an unfortunate event I am all too familiar with. Two days later I got an e-mail saying all my information was not received. I gave it again.

I was then told it would take four weeks to be approved. I am on the fourth week. Another request on the status told me another two weeks. This is highly unacceptable. Why, you may ask? I simply cannot afford the books required for my courses. Without books, I cannot succeed. I cannot study, I cannot ask questions, I cannot understand the material.

A young woman in Student Services asked me if I could get the money elsewhere. No, I cannot. It does not exist anywhere else. I had been told that previously, the college did book loans in case of something like this. And now, they do not. This is leaving students (I can think of another young lady off the top of my head) high and dry and crying and frantic. This is not fostering a good learning environment in any shape of the word.

When I asked her, frankly, what was I supposed to do, she just shrugged at me. That was very helpful, let me tell you.

Honesty, I can think of three other students who have had something happen to their finanical aid which put them in a very bad position. One of those students had to drop out of this semester. He is now going to be put back at least a semester in getting his degree.

A semester doesn't seem like a long time; but it is. That's another semester that he can't be out in the real world. That's another semester of student loans. That's another semester being here instead of at another university earning the degree he's thirsting for.

I, being that I don't even have my loans through yet, went down to Student Services to at least get a bus pass. What is this new policy? They are not given to students who get finanical aid? Because we can pay for them ourselves? I don't know about anyone else, but I am outraged. If I am getting grants, it is because I don't have enough money to go to school on my own. It is because I need every cent worth of help I can get. And instead of being helped by the college, I am once again getting told to find the money on my own. This is ridiculous. I cannot even begin to see where the logic in this is.

We've been told since we were in kindergarten that we need this higher education. That we have to-have to-have to go to college. And now that we're here, we're getting thrown down, denied and shrugged at. The main buzz around campus is; "JCC screwed everyone over this semester." I know this is not the kind of college you are striving to maintain.

Maybe this letter means nothing to you. But to me, it's everything. My education, my future is everything to me. It's everything to my past instructors, who tried so hard to get me here. It is everything to my high school teachers, who worked with my daily to try and prepare me for this. And most of all, it is everything to my mother, who raised me and prays for me every night that I can live a better life than she does.

-with all respect

R****** *** *******

Yes, my birthname starts with an 'R'.

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