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September 20, 2007

About time for some updates from me

As most of you have heard already, I did not end up in Grad school in AZ. You may wonder how somebody goes from accepting a fully funded position into a grad program and having a contract on a house, to canceling all of that and staying at home. Confusing I know.

It is a ridiculously long story but essentially things changed. The department gave away our scholarships and it was going to be way too much money to be worth it. Debt is not something I am fond of.

If you care to read a synopsis of the story, you can read below.

When linds and I were offered entry into the program, we were told that we got the best possible financial package. It would cover all of our tuition and most of the fees. There would be a few nominal fees that we would cover. All of this was offered without us having to work assistantships. We just had to maintain a 3.0 GPA or above. Awesome right? We thought so, and we accepted.

When we went out to AZ to visit the school. We learned that the professor who had been assigned to recruiting us had given us a lot of misinformation. Our scholarships would cover about HALF of our tuition and none of the fees. Ouch.

We still figured we would try to roll with it. We scrambled to find assistantships that would cover the remainder of the fees. Linds found one and took it. I found one that would cover about half.

I was hesitant to take the position because I was planing on keeping my current job (at half time) to pay for housing, food, electricity, insurance, etc... The office manager in the department told me "just try it out. you have nothing to lose. If you can't keep up the hours, just stop working the assistantship. You could really use the extra financial assistance this would provide."

I figured she was right. I really could use the money, and what did I have to lose?

My Scholarship. That is what I had to lose.

Unbeknownst to me, when I accepted this part time, short term position, they gave away my scholarship because I was getting financial aid from my assistantship. At this point, I was working (this was not requited of me before) and I was getting LESS money.

Obviously I did not appreciate this situation and I called the office to discuss it. As it turns out, once a scholarship is given away, it cannot be gotten back. Lindsay and I had both been relieved of our "free rides" and were now required to work if we wanted any assistance (which was less than we were previously getting for free).

Faculty members were very apologetic about the miscommunications, the bad information we had been given, and our new predicament, but said that there was nothing that could be done to change it. The absolute best case scenario was that we would have to try to find FULL TIME assistantships to cover our tuition.

Working full time in exchange for something we had originally been offered for free didn't sound like a great deal to us. This wouldn't even leave time to work jobs to pay for living expenses. So we would be working full time, going to school full time, and having NO income at all. Housing, food etc... that would all have to be covered by loans.

Going into debt to become a lawyer or a pharmacist is one thing, but an applied anthropologist? No way. We would be in debt the rest of our lives.

The financial aid aspect is just one glimpse into the confusion and chaos that was the grad program at NAU. Enough is enough. We pulled out.

So, now what? Who knows. We are trying to regroup and figure out what is next for us. In the meantime we got a puppy, bought a townhouse, and started a band. All of these things are incredibly awesome and warrant their own post in the near future.

Posted by collin on September 20, 2007 09:03 AM

Comments

Hey!! I went back to school to be a pharmacist...

sorry your Arizonan adventure didn't work out

Posted by: jaysonjaz on September 20, 2007 11:23 AM

need a name for that new band.

Posted by: jason on September 20, 2007 12:09 PM

I may be overgeneralizing here, but it seems like Big Academia is full of "miscommunication" and "misunderstanding" that ends up in ordinary folks like us having to go deeply into dept to get an education, which we have been told is necessary to get any kind of a decent job.
So there- in a nutshell- is my conspiracy theory on all things collegiate.

Posted by: Susan on September 20, 2007 01:43 PM

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