UCLA financial aid office rant.. sorry

<p>I'll be a freshman at UCLA this September, and I've been impressed by everything UCLA has to offer- except for one. The UCLA financial aid office SUCKS BIG TIME. </p>

<p>I submitted a petition for re-evaluation a month ago that requested for more unsubsidized loans in my eFAN because my parents aren't US citizens and are ineligible to apply for a Parent PLUS loan. They're Filipino citizens who chose to relinquish their immigrant status years ago. A month before submitting, I asked the UCLA aid office if I had proper grounds if I submit a petition on that basis. It took a month for them to answer. The guy who answered me said that all I needed to do was to send in the Petition with photocopies of my parents' passports with an explanation of my situation and my petition will be automatically approved. Now fast forward to two days ago, I received a revised eFAN that made my "PLUS loan" into a "Private Loan" without the unsubsidized loans I petitioned for. I didn't want to wait another month for an answer cause I need the final eFAN for my private loan application. I called today, and after 20 minutes, I now had a representative on the other side of the line. I asked NICELY about the status of my petition, and if my revised eFAN without my petitioned revisions signified that I was denied. I wanted to explain my situation to her but before I finished my first sentence, I was quickly cut off. UCLA rep answered with a mockingly condescending tone that if I wanted more unsubsidized loans, I should apply- be rejected- and then submit a petition for re-evaluation. She even said "Do you understand me or should I explain it again?"-with a tone that really made me angry! I didn't even had the chance to answer. Ok I know that they're busy with the revised eFANs but mine's about a month ago. AND if the arrogant telephone woman was right, then the e-mail the financial aid guy sent me just wasted my EFFING time. Now what should I do huh UCLA aid office? So, I should make my clearly ineligible parents apply, get denied then I'll send another petition to you-- and then suffer another phone conversation with one of your Bruin staff?? </p>

<p>If the e-mail the financial aid guy sent me said that I should first apply for the PLUS loan and be denied, then I have no problems with that cause I'll have time for the process. But now, seesh- I think I won't be getting the loans I think I deserve.</p>

<p>I gave up good solid and prestigious schools for UCLA like Berk and Georgetown. I'm not saying that I'm regretting it; as I said, everything about UCLA seems to click with me- but I really can't imagine staff from Berkeley and especially Georgetown that would treat me as ***** when I call. </p>

<p>In the end though, I'm still happy that I'm a new Bruin. I'm proud of it. I just want UCLA to make its Aid Office respectful of people and give straightforward facts.</p>

<p>Yeah, I didn't really like the FAO representative who came in and talked to us during orientation. Something about him, sort of having a smug expression with him, and his presentation of what they do just turned me off. I guess it's just something with the department, no?</p>

<p>Sorry to hear about that. If it's any consolation, I feel that every university's financial aid office are filled with ******s. It's just that these things are very complicated sometimes and a lot of people that work in these departments are your typical bureaucratic junkies. You might have also just run into a rep who unfortunately happens to be in a bad mood or something. I would imagine the department is swamped after the tuition increase and having to revise thousands of EFANs.</p>

<p>Try calling again and give it another shot. If you get the same person, ask to speak with someone else. You have to realize that in large universities, or anywhere in the world, you need to be assertive and stand up to the Man.</p>

<p>Pretty much every office at any school that handles enough cases is prone to this stuff. I've had issues with the USC financial aid department and with our Parking Department. The best thing you can do is to be prepared with specific guidelines and rules that you can point them to if there's ever a problem. And I know this isn't an option now, but when you get here I'd say it's always better to do anything sufficiently problematic or complicated in person.</p>

<p>Overpriced institution + overworked staff + tons of people begging for handouts = a ****ty situation</p>

<p>I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. I had some problems with my financial aid package the other day, and I scheduled an appointment to see my counselor in person. She was so kind and explained everything so thoroughly. If it's feasible, you should definitely try to visit the office in person.</p>

<p>Be assured that your bad experience isn't, by any means, representative of the financial aid office as a whole. :)</p>

<p>Yeah, in my experience these things are always better dealt with in person.</p>

<p>Thanks for commenting guys. I don't really know if it's really like their "office culture" or what but I hope the next time I talk to them, they'd be more helpful. I'll also explore the option of trying to set up an appointment with them- as some guys said, the appointment people are really great. Anyway, I have another question for you guys- hope you could help. I want to sign my Perkins promissory note but the permanent address of my parents is not in the states. I don't know what "State" should I put in there. My parents are in the Philippines, so can I just put in "AA"/Armed forces Asia? They're not employed by the US military though. Or should I just enter a random state and then just put in "Philippines" in the address box? What do you guys think?</p>

<p>And, what if I just apply for a private loan with the current eFAN I have(without the requested loan revisions?). Can I just call the bank that will give me the loan if and when I receive my revised eFAN(if ever)? Cause the difference that my petition would give me is roughly 3-4k- meaning 3-4k would be subtracted from my private loan. I just wanna end the finaid process now so I can move on to getting ready for school :)</p>

<p>UCLA's Financial Aid office is about infinity times more helpful and together and responsive than Cal's Financial Aid office and I can tell you that from experience. They're in a tough position right now, since the budget and tuition increases caused them to have to re-do every student's financial aid package. The advice they gave you about having your parents apply for the Parent Plus, get denied, and then you sign papers asking for a re-eval and an increased subsidized student loan is spot on.</p>

<p>Well if it was spot on, I wish the e-mail they gave me 2 months ago said it. As I said, I don't have problems with the process of getting denied etc.- it's just that when I e-mailed the office, the guy didn't say anything about getting denied first- he said if my parents are ineligible, then I would just submit a petition with the photocopies of parents' passports. </p>

<p>Anyway, can you answer my latest question though? I really want to end the finaid process- as the request for more loans is just in the 3-4k range</p>

<p>The financial aid office doesn't individually pick what people get. There are guidelines that determine what you get based on the answers you put on your fafsa. You filled out a petition so there's no guarantee that it'll get approved/denied. You probably didn't make it clear to the first representative of your actual situation, confusing yourself and ultimately confusing him/her.</p>