Thursday, November 29, 2007

You Wouldn't Believe It, Except It Is True

So while I was in India, bein' all culture-stealing an' all, my university was busy putting a rather large error on my tuition bill.

An error which I did not discover until I returned back to the states.

Essentially, they charged me for out-of-state tuition although I am a resident of my university's state and have been getting in-state tuition since the start of my grad program. This adds over $1500 to my bill.

So I went to get it taken care of.

It would seem like this process would be easy. Go to the billing office, explain that there has been an error, and watch someone push a few computer keys to make it right again.

It wasn't so easy. First of all, the university staff didn't seem to know where I needed to go. I began at the registrar's office, who sent me to Student Accounts, who sent me to the bursar, who sent me back to the registrar; by this time it was a different employee sitting behind the desk, who said "oh, of course, we can take care of that."

First, however, I had to prove that I did in fact live in my state. Which my university didn't seem to believe, despite the fact that they had been mailing things to my address for the past few years. But they have a rule, intended probably for undergraduate "dependents" but applied post-retroactively to graduate students as well, that unless certain documents can be provided it is assumed that all students (regardless of age) live under the jurisdiction of their parent/guardian and are residents of their parent/guardian's state.

Which is, in this case, out-of-state. Never mind that I've been receiving in-state tuition every semester previously, and have had my own apartment for four years. Suddenly, I'm back to being a ward of my family.

So the person at the registrar's office asks me to bring back some documentation, including my driver's license, my car title, copies of bills sent to my home address, copies of bank statements from a local bank, my current apartment lease, the previous year's tax statements, etc.

The next morning, I arrive with my sheaf of papers.

"Oh, no, we need photocopies," the woman tells me.

I ask her if there's a copy machine in the office I can use. She tells me I have to go to the student center and use the copy shop there. (My university is baffling in its lack of copy machines. There are a few ancient machines in the library, but for all other copying we are expected to haul a$$ down to the Kinko's-style copy shop in our student center.)

There isn't time for me to do this before I go to work (am temping again), so after work I set out for the copy shop. (Yes, I was tempted to just do the copying at work and get it over with. But we're talking about 30 pages of material here, and I'm a good employee who doesn't steal copies from her employer.)

The copy shop, as I have found from past experiences, only takes cash. And I rarely carry cash, as I have found out (again, from past experiences) that if I carry cash I am very likely to let it dribble away into vending machines and the like.

So I had to find an ATM.

Frugal-minded, I set off to use my bank's ATM and avoid nasty surcharges.

But -- oh, here's the part you won't believe -- when I drove up to the bank, I found that the building was in the process of being torn down. Funny the things that can happen in three months. It's a national chain, so I'll be able to go to another building, but I didn't feel like tooling around the city to find out where the next closest banking opportunity was. At some point, after all, burning gas outweighs the ATM surcharge.

I ended up using the ATM outside of the university copy shop. $2.50 for the privilege.

30-plus copies later (and an interesting exchange with a rather vacuous clerk who asked me, when I went up to the register, "how many copies did you make?" and really wanting to answer "um... one..."), I went back again to the registrar's office, thankful that it was open late. I showed her the photocopies and then she gave me a form to sign.

The form needed notarization.

But the notary leaves work at 3 p.m. and had gone home for the day.


In less than two minutes, I was outside feeding a dollar into a vending machine.

We'll see if I can get this problem solved tomorrow.

1 comment:

Thambi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.