Looking for insights and/or suggestions

<p>I just found this forum tonight. What a great source of information! I'm sorry that my first post here is going to be a negative one but I'm in the middle of a very odd situation as far as my student loan goes and I'm hoping that someone here will have some insights and/or suggestions which could help resolve the problem. I'm enrolled in an online Masters program. The program started the last week of August and prior to that I applied for, and was accepted for, a Graduate PLUS loan. The amount of my loan covered the tuition, books and school fees and also was to cover my cost of living expenses. I was accepted for the loan at the Federal level and the school then approved the loan and the amount that I applied for. I was initially told by the school that the money would be disbursed approximately 2-3 days after classes started and that I could expect to see the living expense funds transferred to my bank account during the first week of classes.</p>

<p>The first week came and went and there were no funds transferred to my bank account so I called the school. I was told that no students got their loan funds until approximately a month after classes started. Since I had previously been told to expect the funds much earlier and thus had budgeted for them being in my bank the first week of class I asked if I could get an early disbursement. I was told that the only way I could get some of the funds earlier than the scheduled disbursement was to make a request for emergency funds which I did under the guidance of a student account specialist there. My request was subsequently turned down because it turned out that I had asked for too much. I then made a second request for a much lesser amount and I then received an e-mail from the Director of Financial Aid at the school who told me that she had cancelled my entire Plus loan because of my "past borrowing history" and my "unusual requests for emergency loans". She also stated in the e-mail that if I decided to drop out of the class that I would not be liable for any tuition.</p>

<p>I immediately called the Financial Aid director and asked for more information about the situation. I explained to her that the school had already vetted me for the PLUS loan weeks before and found me to be an acceptable borrower. I asked why they now thought that there was a problem. I also asked what the problem was with my emergency funds requests as I had produced them using the guidance information that had been given to me by the student account specialist. The Director of Financial Aid told me that in fact the problem wasn't my past borrowing history nor my emergency funds request but the problem was that I had, from the school's perspective, called too many times to check on the status of my emergency funds requests and that they also didn't "like my tone" when I did call. When the student account specialist had told me how the emergency funds request worked she very clearly told me that the day after I submitted my request a decision would be made as to whether to approve my request and if I was approved the funds would be transferred to my bank account the next day. In other words I was told the whole process would take two days. As it turned out, for the first request, the two days turned into three, then four and finally five without anybody from the school communicating with me in any way. When I called to try to find out what was going on I was told that no decision had been made yet. In any case, they finally responded and told me that my first request was turned down. There was a similar delay for the second request as well.</p>

<p>In any case, The Financial Aid director and I talked at length about the situation and she finally said that they would reconsider the cancellation of my PLUS loan. That was 4 week ago. Since then she has called me three times (the first week) to tell me that no decision had been made yet. After those communications I've heard absolutely nothing from the school (over the past three weeks). My Department Head called the Financial Aid office at the school twice in the last two weeks and both times he was told that they are still "working on the situation" and "hope to have an answer soon". </p>

<p>In my academic program at this school we take two classes a semester-each one is 8 weeks long. The class that I am enrolled in is in the middle of the 6th week. I have invested many, many hours of work doing the class assignments and tests. I do not know why the school is not communicating with me in any way but I am really between a rock and a hard place now. It is way to late to consider another program to strengthen my IT skills and I have spent many hours on the class which I could have used in a job to earn money. After being accepted into the program and approved for the loan I organized my life around the program and also budgeted in the knowledge that I would have loan funds coming in to help cover my living expenses. However, I still haven’t received those loan funds and I have no idea if they will be coming in. I also don't know what to even put on my resume now going forward as I don't know whether I will be in the program in the future. </p>

<p>My status as a student there is a function of their decision as to whether to reinstate my PLUS loan there. Had they disapproved my loan in late August I would have had time to apply for and gain admission to another program. My whole goal in getting this degree is to reinvigorate my IT skills and the program I am enrolled in would be very helpful in that sense. </p>

<p>I have talked to many, many people about this situation and quite a few think that this is the school's way of getting rid of me. My perspective is however, if the school wanted to get rid of me for whatever reason then they wouldn't have told me that they would consider reinstating my PLUS loan. But they are dragging this out for some reason and this makes no sense to me. Other people who I have talked to think that the school, based on online comments they found about the school, is just very dysfunctional administratively. I don't know what to think.</p>

<p>If you have any insights, comments and suggestions about this situation I’m all ears. Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>Find out who in the school handles problems. Not the head of your department who is really a professor and doesn’ t generally have experience with issues like that, but the real trouble shooters including the legal counsel. You need to sit down with such a person and get things sraightened out that way.</p>

<p>The usual course of events with PLUS loans and many such loans is that schools hold the proceeds until after the drop date, to prevent students from taking any excess money and then dropping the courses. It causes a school a lot of trouble when that is done, because though the student is ultimately still responsible for the money, the school has to immediately return the borrowed funds to some extent. Schools do not want to become loan brokers and put policies in place to avoid being put in that postion. </p>

<p>As to a number of things that were said, as you probably know, they are highly inappropriate. I doubt you will get the anywone who will substantiate what you are saying. Because those are grounds for dismissal. Whatever you were told, you are just stuck with the facts at hand, not what was said and what policy is and what you indisputably have on record. What you WANT to do, your goals, your aspirations, the consequences are not going to be of issue here. Just evidence that you applied for the loan at a certain date, have evidence that all paper work was done as it was supposed to be, and that the loan was approved. Then the onus is on the FIn aid office as to why this has not been processed and if cancelled, why it was done. </p>

<p>So find the person who can take the fin aid officer in hand and find out what is going on here and when the funds will be dispensed. Also get a clear statement as to when such funds are made available to students and the procedures for future refererence.</p>

<p>Thanks for the information. I will follow your advice.</p>

<p>Some schools have a person called an ombudsman. They represent the interests of students by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration. Note that they may not have the power to order anyone to change anything.</p>