I'm a single parent who is getting conflicting information about the amount of the PLUS loan I am allowed to receive. In addition to the EFC, I will need to borrow the money for anything my daughter needs for college.
When I originally applied for the loan in April, 2005, the representative from the loan company said it was "absolutely" legitimate to apply for an amount over and above the family contribution amount, in order to buy a lap top, software, virus protection as well as things she'll need for her room. So, I applied for an additional $1,200 for the laptop, software and virus protection and an additional $500 for books and things she will need for her room, and hopefully some clothes. The loan was approved. This represetative from the loan company said that once the first dispursement was made to the school, I should contact the school to let them know I needed to have $1,700 returned to me for those items. He made it seem like it was a routine thing that is done all the time, no big deal.
Well, for various other reasons I won't go into, the first dispursement has not been made yet, and as a result I ended up talking with the Asst. Director of FA at my daughter's college. I'll call him "Big Al." This issue of the "extra" money came up, and Big Al made it clear that getting any amount over and above the EFC was indeed a big deal. Now, I understand that the schools need to certify that a loan request is legitimate, so that people aren't taking advantage of the education loan to finance a new car or summer vacation or pedigreed pooch or whatever.
But talking with Big Al gave me the feeling that I might be the only person who ever needed to do this. And, that the amount I requested to borrow for these items is a bit extraordinary. He asked me what kinds of things she needed for her room - this was AFTER I'd said "Whatever she needs for college, I will have to pay for with a loan." And, my financial information backs all this up, and since they did give my daughter a very generous financial aid package, I know that he knows I'm not making things up here. I mean, I am very broke. I said "All the things that YOUR school sends out saying they need" - he said, "well, that's generated out of the housing office."
He thought that $1,000 for a lap top might be high (although he admitted he wasn't sure about that) and that he'd need to look into it, and commented that she would have access to some computers on campus, and he made it clear that he might not be willing to certify the extra amount, or if so, maybe not all of it.
I have no problem providing proof that I used the money for college related expenses. But I am a bit frustrated that since what I'm asking for (extra money) is needed (that is, that I don't have the money otherwise, and that's not in doubt) and since I'm not asking for an inordinate amount, that he has the right to nickel and dime it with me like this? I mean, I am borrowing the money. The lender approved it. The guarantor signed on. The school's role, as I understand it, is basically to provide some checks and balances so that people at able to abuse the system and use the loans for other purposes. Am I wrong? Am I the only one who has ever had to do this?
And I do recognize that she could get through college without her own computer, but not without difficulty, particularly because my daughter has a brain malformation that impacts her health and requires her to get enough rest, etc. -
Sorry this is so long - any feedback is welcome, I'm quite upset about all of this and worried about providing the things my daughter needs. And I do recognize that she could get through college without her own computer, but