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Author Topic: financial aid needed to continue college...  (Read 1813 times)

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Offline SouthSam7

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  • Posts: 428
financial aid needed to continue college...
« on: August 13, 2009, 11:23:12 PM »
Hello.

The reason for my email today is that I have been enrolled at Troy University in Alabama half-time for just over a year.  I have done well and in fact have a 3.8 GPA as of the end of the summer term.  My happiness is tempered by the fact that I was denied all types of financial aid (including Stafford loans which are backed by the federal government and have low interest rates) at Troy University.  I appealed but it was immediately denied (within an hour!).

I am suspicious due to my above average academic performance, as well as numerous extenuating need-based circumstances such as my mom's health and my own chronic condition.  I feel that I am being denied aid because of my race (white), age (42) and because the financial aid department at Troy University perceives me as gay.

Troy claims to have a rigid non-discrimination policy (see http://www.troy.edu/financialaid/vetinfo.htm) including race, gender and sexual orientation, and they also claim to be flexible regarding appeals if there are extenuating circumstances.  I have sent them myriad doctor's letters and documentation over the past six months to no avail.

I am not eligible for private loans at this time due to my unemployed status.  I am interested in grants or financial assistance programs specifically to supplement my own tuition contribution.  Each class at Troy costs me $600 per term plus approximately $120 for the book and/or supplemental materials. 

Does anyone know of any foundation or grant that may be able to help me?  Perhaps a grant or foundation that awards scholarships to, perhaps, someone with HIV who would not otherwise be able to peruse higher education?  I will have to drop out after October if I am not able to secure funds for the rest of the school year.

Any advice or referral would be greatly appreciated.  Please feel free to forward this inquiry (with confidence) to any appropriate individual or entity.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Sam

Offline jcelvis

  • Member
  • Posts: 77
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2009, 11:31:11 PM »
guyinsouthala,

You are leaving out a lot information  to determine anything. First off are you in a graduate or undergraduate program. Secondly, what degree are you seeking and does it have accreditation. Third, have you filled out the FAFSA. Fourth, if you mother is claimed as a dependent of yours they aren't going to consider her condition as a factor for your financial aid.
Change the way you view the world, and the world around you changes.

Offline SouthSam7

  • Member
  • Posts: 428
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2009, 11:47:33 PM »
Thanks for writing.  Yes, I filled out the FAFSA (you can't qualify if you don't), and I'm working on my undergraduate business management degree.  Troy is a fully accredited University by SACS and was voted one of the best colleges in America 2009 by US News and World Report (Master's programs).

Why wouldn't they consider my dependent mother when considering my financial aid award?  They certainly consider dependent children.  The reason I mention her is that I had to drop one class in the spring due to an infection she got and I had to take her to a hospital two hours away every day for a month.  I was not able to take the class (to completion) due to that and other extenuating circumstances.

I need to know if anyone is aware of scholarship programs or grants for hiv positive people or any need-based individual that I could apply toward my tuition bill this year.

Offline jcelvis

  • Member
  • Posts: 77
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2009, 12:14:31 AM »
Here are the requirements for Stafford loans:

Stafford loans are available to students based on confirmation of several criteria. To be eligible, students must be enrolled at least half time (usually 6 credits per term), have no unresolved defaults on federal education loans without being in an approved repayment program, demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, and be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.


Barring a horrendous credit score, you should not be denied a Stafford loan. You should check you credit reports for errors if you have not already. You may be a victim of identity theft, or a reporting error, that is affecting your ability to be granted a loan.


If everything is correct I would walk into the fin aid offer and demand to see your information such as your FAFSA EFC (expected family contribution). If your EFC is low enough you should also qualify for a Pell Grant. You are legally allowed to ask why you were denied for a federal loan.

The fin aid department may be pushing particular bank loans, which are not federal stafford loans. And if they are denying your ability to receive stafford loans I would contact your representative.

As for scholarships you will just need to do an internet search. I would search for non-traditional student scholarships.
Change the way you view the world, and the world around you changes.

Offline SouthSam7

  • Member
  • Posts: 428
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2009, 08:48:18 PM »
Thanks for replying.  My EFC is too high to get federal grants (i.e. Pell Grant).

I am enrolled half-time.  I have never defaulted.  I have demonstrated above average academic progress.  I am a U.S. citizen.  My FICO is above 700.  My credit report has no erroneous information on it.

My financial aid department refused to mention specific banks by name for private loans so as not to appear biased toward or against a particular company.

I feel that I am being denied aid because of my race (white), age (42) and because the financial aid department at Troy University perceives me as gay.

Does anyone know of any foundation or grant that may be able to help me?  Perhaps a grant or foundation that awards scholarships to, perhaps, someone with HIV who would not otherwise be able to peruse higher education?  I will have to drop out after October if I am not able to secure funds for the rest of the school year.

Any advice or referral would be greatly appreciated.  Please feel free to forward this inquiry (with confidence) to any appropriate individual or entity.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Sam

Offline SouthSam7

  • Member
  • Posts: 428
UPDATE...
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2009, 08:51:03 PM »
UPDATE:

I got a small, personal loan that should cover me until December.  It is not deferred (I will have to pay interest while still in school) and is not low interest. 

PLEASE let me know if anyone knows of other more long-term options.  I will be in school for another year and a half (if I go full-time).

Thanks,
Sam

Offline mecch

  • Member
  • Posts: 11,211
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2009, 01:03:58 AM »

I feel that I am being denied aid because of my race (white), age (42) and because the financial aid department at Troy University perceives me as gay.


Are gays unwelcome on campus, or do you think its a prejudice in the Financial Aid office uniquely?

Why would your race have anything to do with loans?  On the other hand, Universities do award endowment or school-funded FA to minorities if the minority applicant pool is in need, and the university wants to meet its diversity quotas.  Troy has a very small endowment and probably doesnt give much aid with its own money.  But then, you're not asking for much. 

Part-time students get less priority for FA at some schools. perhaps yours as well.

Age - I dunno.

Also the elephant in the room is that you have documented your HIV to whom, exactly??? Or just an unnamed "chronic" disease.

If you suspect its bias, so why not also wonder if they have bias against your HIV status?  

If you really think you are being unfairly denied help, find some legal advice. And let them know, politely, that you are pursuing the denial of assistance as possible bias.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 01:12:38 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Cliff

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  • Posts: 2,645
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2009, 12:25:29 PM »
This doesn't really add up.

You can't be denied financial aid because you're white or gay.  Some schools will offer targeted scholarships to certain populations or studies but most financial aid (i.e., loans and grants) doesn't take into account ethnicity or sexual orientation particularly the federal loans you are seeking. And most financial aid office have minimal discretion in determining who will qualify for the loans (you either meet the federally outlined criteria or you don't, they can't just deny you because they suspect you're gay). 

The main test for federally funded student loan is your income.  You're unemployed so I'm confused as to why you would be denied a federal loan perhaps you made too much last year?  But if was just that you made too much (which would seem odd given your circumstance), I don't understand why the financial aid office wouldn't tell you that (or indeed why you wouldn't know it in advance of applying).  And you still would be offerred an unsubsidized student loan.

There must be something else that is causing you to be denied access to federal loans (all loans) and you need to resolve that situation with your financial aid office.  As mentioned above there aren't too many reasons that you would be ineligible for a federal loan, but defaulting on a previous loan, having a certain criminal convictions, not registering for enough classes/hours and not registering with selective services (males) would disqualify you. 

If you want a scholarship then you need to do your own searches over the internet and at your school's financial aid office to find out if there are any you would qualify for (and submit your application).  As far as getting a federal loan, you need to work that through with your financial aid department as they are the only ones that can give you the information about why your application was denied.  I've never heard of a financial aid office not telling you why you can't qualify for a federal loan.  This just doesn't add up.

Offline SouthSam7

  • Member
  • Posts: 428
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2009, 05:31:46 PM »
Thanks for responding.

Until recently I worked at a (different) college, and it's no secret that TRIO programs and Financial Aid are given "with preference to minorities first", so yes, they do discriminate against "non-minorities".

I did secure a small, private, higher interest loan for the next semester.  In the meantime I would like to pursue legal action but I don't know what kind of lawyer to get.  This is not an employment issue, so EEOC is out.

The University's policy is to not discriminate against sexual orientation, and I am sure discrimination based on health issue or disability is not legal by federal mandate.

I've left a message with the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and hopefully something will come from that.

Perhaps just the notice that I intend to sue will encourage the biased individuals in Financial Aid to do the right thing. 

This sort of thing (racial discrimination against whites) happens all the time down here.  It's (almost) funny that you all don't believe that this can happen.

Sammy


Offline SouthSam7

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  • Posts: 428
Scope of original post...
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2009, 07:05:31 PM »
P.S.

I hope this sort of thing doesn't happen to any of you.  Please remember my intent of this post is only to get suggestions for alternate ways to pursue financial aid, specifically for HIV positive or medical disabled individuals.  To me that seems like a great philanthropic project.  It's interesting that I haven't yet been able to find such a grant or aid package.

Remember, I have exhausted all means of applying and appealing for financial aid in the usual ways from my school.

Thanks, again,

Sam

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,211
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2009, 09:05:37 AM »

This sort of thing (racial discrimination against whites) happens all the time down here.  It's (almost) funny that you all don't believe that this can happen.

Sammy


We agree that universities use financial aid to get the mix of students it wants.  I experienced financial aid discrimination based on being a white male when it came to grad school financing. 

However, I think a university can do this with its own grants (money from its endowment), but not with government funded loans and grants.

Your university has very little endowment and, I am guessing, is not awarding financial aid with its own money.  So if you REALLY think they are screwing with your access to government money, by all means holler and get a lawyer.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline dixieman

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  • Posts: 889
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2009, 10:24:34 AM »
I live in Alabama and I understand what Sam is talking about... one education center I'm not mentioning looked everyway to deny myself financial aid ... due to my race, my sex but, not preference... if you are a minority and especially female and a female minority you'll have no problem in recieving financial aid... Sam when you go in for consultations always have a tape recorder with you... I found it worked wonders for me... I use a tape recorder at all times now... its good to have a reference to fall upon... good luck!

Offline YaKaMein

  • Member
  • Posts: 368
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2009, 01:01:17 PM »
Hey guy,
Sounds like you've got your issue solved for this term. Here's a site that lists possible sources that might be helpful. I don't know from personal experience. Have a great semester and stay healthy.  -YaKa

http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/finance/
09/11 Endocrine Consult
08/11 CD4 328 14.9% VL 0
 Disc'd Bactrim DEXA -3.1 Tscore
03/11 CD4 338 14.7% VL 0
11/10 CD4 300 14.3% VL 0 <20copies
07/10 CD4 336 14.0% VL 0 DEXA -2.7 Tscore
03/10 CD4 308 13.4% VL 0 Vit D normal
01/10 Began FOTO
11/09 CD4 274 13.7% VL 0 Chol 173 Trig 131
07/09 CD4 324 13.5% VL 0 DEXA -3.1 Tscore lumbar
03/09 CD4 207 10.9% VL 0
11/08 CD4 227 10.3% VL 0 Chol 176 Trig 156
04/08 CD4 228 9.5% VL 0
01/08 CD4 194 9.0% VL 0
09/07 CD4 176 8.3% VL 0
03/07 CD4 130 9.5% VL 0 Chol 261  Trig 227
12/06 CD4 109 6.4% VL 0
09/06 CD4  88 5.5% VL und desens'd rtd to Bactrim
08/06  Began Atripla
07/06 CD4  59 5.0% VL 145 Chol 117 Trig 104
06/06  Bactrim rash, X2 Dapsone
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05/06 CD4  6 (2.0%) VL 78667 only V179D mutation Dx PC MAC

Offline SouthSam7

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  • Posts: 428
Re: financial aid needed to continue college...
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2009, 12:20:42 PM »
Thanks.  I will check that out when I get back into town.

I attempted to place an ad in the paper and they rejected it.

I was initially approved by my college but they manually went in and changed it to "denied".  I am supposed to be MORE eligible since I got laid off but they refuse to take that into consideration.

It seems like this is a vendetta against me and they don't even know me.  It's going to be tough this year.

Please keep those suggestions coming!  There's got to be a philanthropist out there who wants to help HIV positive people in my situation.

Sam

 


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