I had an interesting day today, dealing with financial aid at my university. Honestly this debacle has been weeks in the making and I won’t bore you with endless back story, I’ll try to just give you the major points.
Because of being under the age of 24 (despite having filed my taxes as a single independent for the last two years, supporting myself financially, not having insurance through my parents, and living alone for the past two years as well) for some reason the FAFSA considers me a dependent when it comes to financial aid.
My initial argument with my financial aid department revolved around the fact that, legally, FAFSA is asking me to commit fraud against the federal government, because I’m filing as an independent with the IRS (and no one wants to screw around with the IRS) but filing as a dependent for financial aid services with my school. How does this sound reasonable at all?
Finally I was told that I could submit a dependency review. Two pieces of paper from the school and 3 letters (1 from me and 2 from people not related to me) talking about my current and past relationship with my parents. To prove that I’m an independent.
So I filled out the form, I got a former teacher who I still talk with to write a letter, as well as my friend Robert. I didn’t think there would be ANY possible problem, because (aside from a short few days after I had a lumbar puncture, I haven’t lived with my parents full time (not counting vacations like Thanksgiving and Christmas when I visited) in over two years.
After being jerked around with lost paperwork and incompetent people all over the place…my file finally made it to a financial aid counselor (who I never met, because they keep their offices hidden behind locked doors and work/study peons). What happened?
It was denied.
I got a call from one of those peons I just mentioned and I refused to talk to them. I told them to find me someone who knew what they were talking about and get THEM on the phone, because I refused to ask my questions through a 3rd party and sit on hold for 10 minutes to get an unsatisfactory answer to each one.
I may have raised my voice.
But it’s the only way to get anyone on that level to pass you on to the next person. They have CREATED a system in which, the only way to talk to the people in charge, is to verbally abuse their office workers.
I got passed to a financial aid specialist. Who I argued with for 10 minutes before finding out that SHE wasn’t the woman who had looked at my dependency review either. I told her she needed to pass me to someone who had actually looked at my review and who could actually make executive decisions.
It may have taken some level of shouting and verbal abuse and threats that the college wouldn’t receive ‘ONE GODDAMN PENNY FROM ME OR ON MY BEHALF’ if someone didn’t solve the situation to my satisfaction.
I fully believe that I was channeling 2 parts Ann Coulter and 1 part my own mother at the time.
Now I’m talking to a financial aid counselor…25 minutes after the beginning of the phone call. Half of which was me being on hold, by the way.
Now we get down to the meat of the issue and the most outrageous and incomprehensible conversation I have ever had.
Gabby, full first name Gabriella, tells me that the federal government doesn’t care that I’ve supported myself financial for the past 2 years or that I don’t live with my parents or that they don’t pay for my college education at all.
Her exact words were ‘financial independence doesn’t qualify you as independent’.
Wanting to know if SHE at least knows how batshit crazy that sounds. I ask her “could you please tell me what your PERSONAL opinion this is. Please let me know that SOMEONE here understands how insane that sounds”.
No surprise that she wouldn’t give me an answer.
I ask her what WOULD qualify me as an independent. She tells me that I would need documentation from a teacher/clergy member/counselor/police officer of ‘abuse, neglect, or abandonment’.
I kindly inform her that, per federal law, since I moved out after the age of 18 and any difficulties with my parents occurred after that, that I could not legally be the victim of neglect or abandonment and that I also can’t claim abuse, because I’m over the age of 18.
She had no answer for that either.
I asked her to give me a reasoning for why I’m forced into filing as a dependent in the first place.
She told me it was because current federal law allows me to remain on my parents insurance until I’m 24 (my parent’s don’t provide me insurance, they don’t have insurance, so this doesn’t apply…something I told the financial aid department on my dependency review) so unless I’ve been abused or neglected they can’t consider me independent.
Now this next part is the part you really need to listen too.
being that I know some of the coming consequences of Obamacare, and I know that one of them is the ability to stay on your parents insurance until the age of 26, I asked the, very flustered, financial aid counselor a question that she probably didn’t mean to answer.
Me: So does that mean that next year, when Obamacare goes into effect, the age that it takes to become an ‘independent’ in the eyes of the federal government and FAFSA will be 26?
FinAid counselor: Well yes!
So there you have it, this was a long post just to get to this main point. However, I wanted people to understand the backwards thought processes these people operate under.
Live by yourself, make your own money, support yourself, haven’t relied on your parents in 2, 3, 4, years?
You’re still dependent on them.
Because the federal government is run by incompetents.
No surprise there I guess.
Also, that’s the news no one is talking about when it comes to Obamacare and financial aid. Every moment of Obama’s reign, every decision made, can be traced to one final ending.
Keep people children, keep people dependent, keep them jumping through our hoops and thinking that their only option is to be reliant on us. The more they lean on the government, the more they feel like children, the more rights they will let us take away in the name of ‘supporting them’ and ‘taking care of them’.
That’s what people are missing here. This isn’t about insurance or federal loans. This is about making us into children, with no support system. We can’t let that happen.