I am going to begin by saying how much SALT has educated me regarding money management and budgeting! Without SALT I would be in a bad place financially. Moving on to my short story, I was fairly new to the whole returning to college experience. As a result of not understanding how certain processes work after 15 years of no school, such as the note taking process and proper studying habits, I failed two of my classes my first spring semester.
Now due to my two children having summer vacation, I made the choice to not attend school during their summer break. So I re-registered for the fall semester and went through the process of completing the requirements for the FASFA and other financial aid procedures. A few weeks later I was informed I was being placed on academic probation (don't worry, this ties in to the story). Aside from this notification, I thought I had all my ducks in a row and everything was complete.
A little about myself before going on, I have not had a paying job for about 8 years, being a stay-at-home mother, so I had no means to pay for college and was relying on obtaining a grant to get me through. I continuously checked my financial aid status on MyPima and made sure all the check marks were green. My first classes starting dates were getting closer and closer, yet I got no word about if my financial aid was completely approved or not. At this point in my mind I was thinking that my failing and being placed on academic probation was causing problems for my financial aid status. On the day of my first class I started receiving emails stating that I needed to pay for my classes or put 10% down of what is due and sign up for a payment plan or I will be dropped from all classes.
At this point I was beginning to panic, only because there was no possible way I could pay for all 4 classes. After stepping back and calming myself down, I called the financial aid help number. The representative was very kind and helpful. She looked over my account thoroughly and discovered that I had not turned in a letter from my mother regarding my residence in her house. As soon as I turned this in my financial aid, which took almost 6 more weeks, came through. What a stressful and unnecessary situation to go through. It's not that I procrastinated, but if I would have contacted financial aid without hesitation before the start of classes, I would have never panicked.
So my advice to all of you, especially you who are dependent on the approval of the FASFA or other financial aid assistance, is to resist hesitation and pay attention to everything. even if everything appears up to par, it is possible that something may be off. If you have any questions regarding any part of the registration process, even if they have nothing to do with financial aid, contact their help services. They not only provide assistance by phone but by email and walk-ins as well, and they will help you in any way possible. One more thing, if you are approved for financial aid, but it is going to take 3 or more weeks to be paid out, you are still capable of obtaining your necessary books through the campus book store. The total will be deducted from the remaining balance of aid, after paying the amount owed for your tuition of course. Last but not least, study and don't be shy. Best wishes and good luck to all you future graduates.