I am a vietnam era veteran, and I enrolled into (RCC) Riverside City College, under the recently new (VRAP) program the VA opened for un-employed veterans ages 35 to 60 years of age. The VA is paying close to $ 1,500.00 dollars a month to attend school to obtain a certificate or degree in high paying jobs that are in demand.
So I get approved for (both) the VRAP & Fafsa grants. Now Im ready for the Fall semester 2012, and I decide to take coarse's in HVAC.
So I started classes on Aug. 27th, 2012, and I realized that my 1st (Disbursement) is the (Fafsa) grant from the federal government, but that was one month into the coarse! So now I have to 'beg, borrow, or steal' to come up with money to buy the necessary class materials which were mandatory to have by the (2 week) of school. (The school did not provide a avenue where student's who fafsa grant's were approved, could obtain school materials on credits through the College Book Store while waiting on their disbursements. And the school could deduct the funds from a student's disbursement before issuing it to the student).
Now Im going over my (RCC Financial Aid Award Letter) again and it's telling me to: (1) Sign Up for Your Sallie Mae Debit Card to receive your (Fafsa) disbursement.
(2) By signing up with Sallie Mae [Please allow 10 days] for Sallie Mae to disburst your Federal financial Aid on your new debit card.
Hold Up? if my 'Disbursement Date' to receive my federal grant is on the (18th, Oct. 2012), why in the hell would I let Sallie Mae ' hold my Federal Disbursement for 10 days', "when I have been desparately awaiting this income to re-pay my debts, as well as catch up on materials I had yet to purchase in my classes", just to let 'Sallie Mae' obtain "Interest" which don't benefi me?
So I go to the Financial Aid Office and ask one of the financial aid counselors this question: "If my 'Disbursement Date' is legally on the 18th, of Oct 2012', can I request to have my 'disbursement' issued in a 'check' by the school on that date?". The financial Aid Office told me; " Mr. Smith, this is the 'only' way we disburst the financial aid, through Sallie Mae, we no longer issue checks from the school".
I further questioned this counselor by asking her; "Is it 'School Policy & Regulation' to [ further delay a student who is depending on this grant for schooling, to make them wait 10 additional days just so the school 'RCC ' can earn 'Interest' on our Federal Grants?. The Financial Aid counselor replied; "Mr. Smith, if you dont want to use Sallie Mae Debit Card, if you realy want a "check", you'll be waiting an additional 2 to 3 weeks more".
So I go 'online' and research Sallie Mae Bank. Im reading that Sallie Mae Bank is a [online banking institute], has nothing to do with our Federal Government, is a [private high yeilding investment banking-on the NASDAQ firm somewhere in Europe].
I go back to school the next day and ask to speak with a Dean, or Supervisor. When the 'Director' came to speak to me, I asked her the very same questions. Immediately she starts trying to steer me in different directions in which I was not intersted in seeing or going. I maintained my questions and watched this Director fumble over her words t think about what she could tell me next. I gave her a 'way-out' and said; " let me speak to who's ever over you ", and the Director steered me to a Dean over Financial Services.
When I asked him the same questions, he too began to fumble and try ro steer me in another direction. All in all, a couple hours later I had a audience of several Deans, Professors, Vice Presidents, counselors, they bombarded me with bullcrap to detour me from my questions, try tried the 'good cop/bad cop' tatic on me, anything they figured would scare me into letting things alone and going with the flow.
Now its not about the Federal Aid, or RCC illegally withholding a student's fund that the student is responsible for. Now its about, "every student that was 'forced' to drop out of school, because the school thought it more important to steal a student Federal dollars to earn a quick high yeilding interest.
I have yet to get a answer to my question's, and when I asked to see the "School's Policies and Regulations", I was denied that as well.
(Note) When a student sign up for a Sallie Mae debit Card, a student has to find certain 'atm's' to use, so not to incur atm charges ranging up to $ 8.00 or more. RCC does not have the "ATM" (AllPoint ATM) on campus which is a 'no-charge' atm to use.
So legally, a student that is forced to sign up for Sallie mae Debit Cards, these student actually lose a huge percentage of their grant monies to paying, High Interest Rates, ATM Fee's, etc. RCC first abuses a student's Federal Grant Monies, then ships our Federal Aid Dollars to on Online Bank somewhere in Europe, where there investor's capitalize off of the American people's tax dollars.
There is so much more I would like to tell you about school's that are taking advantage of Federal Dollars allocated to disabled and disadvantaged kids, parents and adults.
So now a disadvantaged student is forced to drop from school, and has to suffer a negative GPA all because the school has-designed a Disbursement schedule that is made to cause a student to fail, and thereby leaving no questions on the part of the school.. It makes the government think that the student was at fault, and which will deny that student future aid later in life.