Monday, June 18, 2007

I been payin it. TEN YEARS I been payin it!

Awwwwww yeah, beyotch! The beast is off my back! Today I mailed the check containing the final payoff for the last of the last of my student loans, nearly two years ahead of schedule — and the Citibank Student Loan Corporation can kiss my pasty white ass, cause they ain’t gettin another dime of interest from me! Woooooo!

As much as I have cursed the “fucking Stafford people” all this time, not to mention cursing the constant stream of fundraising calls/direct mailers/emails I have received over the years (seriously, bitch, I’m not giving you any damn EXTRA money until I’m done PAYING YOUR ASS OFF FOR THE FIRST GO-ROUND, and they hit us up for dough before we had even graduated, goddammit) — now that that’s out of the way, I want to say a word in praise of
Columbia University’s need-blind financial aid program.

My family was pretty po’ back in the day; when your father is a freelancer and doesn’t want your mom to work, there are flush years and lean years, and 1991 was a real lean year in a series of several such (and by the way, growing up like that is why the life of a writer, artist, or self-employed/freelance person holds zero romance for me) — I even had the application fee waived, and to their credit, CU didn’t hold it against me.

I applied to Columbia, Harvard, UCLA, and UT’s Honors Program (and then for reasons he would not explain to me, my dad — Harvard ’68 — made me also apply to Yale). I got in to two of the five: CU and UT. The good folks at UT offered me what they called a financial aid package, complete with an honors scholarship and parent loans (not that the ‘rents could’ve qualified for those, mind you — lean year, series of lean years, no financial planning AT ALL of ANY KIND and the bad parental credit to show for it); it would’ve covered about a third of my bill, and I wasn’t guaranteed to graduate in four years. Assuming I made the four years work, I’d’ve graduated with about $25-30K in debt.

Columbia, working with the same information, gave me a package that covered tuition and housing over the four years they expected my degree to take; I would of course have to do work-study during the year, work during summers, and do a lot of scrambling and legwork corralling my parents and, frankly, crying in the bursar’s office at the beginning of every single semester, and it wouldn’t cover extras like study abroad or travel between Texass and NY, but it did not include parent loans, and in retrospect was altogether a smashing deal: For an education that cost well over $100,000 (1992-1996 prices), I ended up graduating a mere $13,000 in the hole.

Now, I tacked a couple grand on during grad school, which added to the total and delayed the start of payments, but I’d say that’s a pretty fucking good deal, eh? And those
four years and everything after were worth every dime spent, every penny pinched, and every single bit of agita it cost me.

Rock on, need-blind financial aid. Rock the fuck on.

And thank you, fucking Stafford people and what once was the federal student loan guarantee program, for meaning something back then -- I hear kids today don't get half the deal we did, and the pResident's cronies have been allowed to plunder and corrupt this system like they've plundered and corrupted all the other systems they put their dirty suppurating fingers all over, but for myself, I thank you very much.

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Anonymous Guinness74 said...

Congrats! I mean, SUPER Congrats! We begin to pay off my wife's graduate school loans very soon. Fortunately, she just got a pretty sweet gig, so we might actually have the money to pay. But I swear, if the UofL asks for a single dime I will personally piss on the steps of the admin building. At night of course, I'm a shy rebel.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Thank you, thank you ... it was a pain in the ass, but it's all over now. :-) Congrats on your wife's new gig, too -- yay grad school!

10:34 AM  

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