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Jokes and Anecdotes about Financial Aid

This page contains a list of financial aid jokes and anecdotes. Financial aid administrators should feel free to use these jokes and anecdotes to liven up otherwise droll financial aid information nights. Where known, we've attributed the source of these jokes and anecdotes.

Jokes

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 will benefit three main types of taxpayers: accountants, financial planners, and attorneys.

Did you hear about the banker who was arrested for embezzling $100,000 to pay for his daughter's college education? As the policeman, who also had a daughter in college, was leading him away in handcuffs, he said to the banker, "I have just one question for you. Where were you going to get the rest of the money?"

A student was standing near the college mail room with a package in her hands and a depressed look on her face. Her friend came and said: "What's the matter? You look pretty sad for getting a package from home." The student replied, "My dad played a cruel trick on me. I wrote and asked for $200 for a dictionary, and he sent me a dictionary."

HORSE STORY

Common advice from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, "if the horse you're riding dies, get off".

Seems simple enough yet in education we don't always follow that advice. Instead, we often choose from an array of other alternatives which include:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Trying a new bit or bridle.
  3. Switching riders.
  4. Moving the horse to a new location.
  5. Riding the horse for longer periods of time.
  6. Saying things like, "this is the way we've always ridden this horse".
  7. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  8. Arranging to visit other sites where they ride dead horses more efficiently.
  9. Increasing the standards for riding dead horses.
  10. Creating a test for measuring our riding ability.
  11. Comparing how we're riding now with how we did ten or twenty years ago.
  12. Complaining about the state of horses these days.
  13. Coming up with new styles of riding.
  14. Tightening the cinch.
  15. Blaming the horse's parents. The problem is often in the breeding.

TAX STORY
Supposedly this is a real letter submitted to the IRS in the midst of the 1995 weird and bizarre denial of dependents, exemptions, and credits. The letter speaks for itself.

Dear Sirs:

I am responding to your letter denying the deduction for two of the three dependents I claimed on my 1994 Federal Tax return. Thank you. I have questioned whether these are my children or not for years. They are evil and expensive.

It's only fair that since they are minors and not my responsibility that the government (who evidently is taxing me more to care for these waifs) take over. I'm writing to tell you something about them and what to expect over the next year. You may apply next year to reassign them to me and reinstate the deduction. This year they are yours!

The oldest, Kristen, is now 17. She is brilliant. Ask her! I suggest you put her to work in your office where she can answer people's questions about their returns. While she has no formal training, it has not seemed to hamper her knowledge of any other subject you can name. Taxes should be a breeze. Next year she is going to college. I think it's wonderful that you will now be responsible for that little expense. While you mull that over keep in mind that she has a truck. It doesn't run at the moment so you have the immediate decision of appropriating some Department of Defense funds to fix the vehicle or getting up early to driver her to school. Kristen also has a boyfriend. Oh joy. While she possesses all of the wisdom of the universe, her alleged mother and I have felt it best to occasionally remind her of the virtues of abstinence, and in the face of overwhelming passion, safe sex. This is always uncomfortable and I am quite relieved you will be handling this in the future. May I suggest that you reinstate Joycelyn Elders who had a rather good handle on the problem.

Patrick is 14. I've had my suspicions about this one. His eyes are a little close together for normal people. He may be a tax examiner himself one day if you do not incarcerate him first. In February I was awakened at three in the morning by a police officer who was bringing Pat home. He and his friends were TP'Ing houses. In the future would you like him delivered to the local IRS office or to Ogden, UT? Kids at 14 will do almost anything on a dare. His hair is purple. Permanent dye, temporary dye, what's the big deal? Learn to deal with it. You'll have plenty of time as he is sitting out a few days of school after instigating a food fight. I'll take care of filing your phone number with the vice principal. Oh yes, he and all of his friends have raging hormones. This is the house of testosterone and it will be much more peaceful when he lives in your home. DO NOT leave any of them unsupervised with girls, explosives, inflammables, inflatables, vehicles, or telephones. (I'm sure that you will find telephones a source of umimaginable amusement, and be sure to lock out the 900 and 976 numbers?)

Heather is an alien. She slid through a time warp and appeared quite by magic one year. I'm sure this one is yours. She is 10 going on 21. She came from a bad trip in the sixties. She wears tie-dyed clothes, beads, sandals, and hair that looks like Tiny Tim's. Fortunately you will be raising my taxes to help offset the pinch of her remedial reading courses. Hooked on Phonics is expensive so the schools dropped it. Good news! You can buy it yourself for half the amount of the deduction that you are denying! It's quite obvious that we were terrible parents (ask the other two) so they have helped raise this one to a new level of terror. She cannot speak English. Most people under twenty understand the curious patois she fashioned out of valley girls/boys in the hood/reggae/yuppie/political double speak. I don't. The school sends her to a speech pathologist who has her roll her R's. It added a refreshing Mexican/Irish touch to her voice. She wears hats backwards, pants baggy and wants one of her ears pierced four more times. There is a fascination with tattoos that worries me but I am sure that you can handle it.

Bring a truck when you come to get her, she sort of "nests" in her room and I think that it would be easier to move the entire thing than find out what it is really made of.

You denied two of the three exemptions so it is only fair you get to pick which two you will take. I prefer that you take the youngest, I still go bankrupt with Kristen's college but then I am free! If you take the two oldest then I still have time for counseling before Heather becomes a teenager. If you take the two girls then I won't feel so bad about putting Patrick in a military academy. Please let me know of your decision as soon as possible as I have already increased the withholding on my W-4 to cover the $395 in additional tax and to make a down payment on an airplane.

Yours truly,

Bob

LETTER OF APPLICATION
                           The College of Cardinals
                           Office of the Dean
                           Vatican City

Division of Eligibility and Certification
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Sirs:

I am writing to ask for approval of my school, the College of
Cardinals, for participation in the Title IV Higher Education Act
programs of student financial assistance.

The College of Cardinals is a private institution, owned by The Lord
God. Having been in existence since at least the 4th Century, A.D.,
it should by this time have satisfied the two-year rule. It has a
capacity of 70, although there are generally from 10 to 15 vacancies
for new starts.

Our students are Most Eminent, and we are very selective. You just
about have to be a Prince to get in. The program offers training in
piety, chastity, obedience, and political intrigue. Its length varies,
as generally the students remain in the College until death, whereupon
they are granted the degree of "Dead Cardinal." We realize that the
objective of "Dead Cardinal" is not listed in the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles. However, since it is a recognized occupation in
Heaven, we believe that this requirement also should be waived for our
school.

We respectfully request that the requirement of a default management
plan be waived as to our institution since, as noted above, our
students do not graduate until they are dead. Thus, there cannot be a
default problem, since all our borrowers will receive death
cancellations.

The College is fully accredited by God. If He isn't on your list of
approved accrediting agencies, surely He ought to be.

Our admissions rep, the Pope, is compensated by means of tithes and
offerings and receives no commission.

Although our Cardinals receive an income from the papal treasury, they
take a vow of poverty when they become priests (i.e., prospective
students). Such income as they receive should not render them
ineligible for financial aid, as they all have huge flock-hold sizes
(you may need to revise the Pell application forms to accommodate
this).

We also ask that our Chief Executive Officer, the Pope, be permitted
to skip the otherwise required Pre-Certification Workshop. After all,
he is infallible.

Enclosed you will find a completed E40-34P form and a Program
Participation Agreement. We trust that you will return the
countersigned PPA forthwith.

Sincerely,
Dean of the College of Cardinals
RESPONSE
Dean of the College
College of Cardinals
Vatican City

Dear Sire:

With deep regret (and indeed, with fear and trembling), we must deny
your College's application to participate in the Title IV
programs. There are several reasons for this decision, some of which
are listed below.

1. You have not proven that the College has been in existence for at
   least 2 years. Your bare assertion, without supporting documentation,
   does not suffice to meet this requirement. Also, we must have the
   exact date the College began offering its program.

2. The degree of "Dead Cardinal," although we understand it to be
   coveted by many priests, does not meet our specifications. The
   regulations clearly indicate that the degree or certificate must be
   conferred while the student is still alive. A student who dies before
   graduating counts as a withdrawal. Your withdrawal rate is therefore
   100%; proof positive that your institution lacks the requisite
   administrative capability to participate in Title IV.

3. We perceive great danger that your admissions officer will promote
   the availability of Federal Family Education Loans. We define such
   promotion as any disclosure that students may be eligible for FFELP
   loans, and we believe the Pope is commissioned the moment the smoke
   goes up the chimney, despite your self-serving assurance that he is
   not commissioned.

Since we are denying your application, it is not necessary to go into
your request to be excused from the default management plan
requirement, but we deny it all the same. What's good for the goose,
is good for the Cardinal.

As to accreditation, we would suggest that you apply to the Commission
on Religious Accreditation of Programs for accreditation. Regrettably,
we cannot recognize God as an accrediting agency. He's just too darned
forgiving. Besides, there is an inherent conflict of interest when a
school owner is also the accreditor.

As to the other issues raised in your letter:

1. We agree that your Cardinals' flock-hold sizes would include all
   flock members who receive more than half of their spiritual support
   from the particular Cardinal in question.

2. You may want to change the educational objective from "Dead
   Cardinal" to "Almost Dead Cardinal" conferring the degree
   simultaneously with the Last Rites. This would meet our requirements.

3. Infallibility does not excuse a CEO from attending the
   Pre-Certification Workshop. You can be infallible and still be
   wrong, the way we interpret the regulations.

4. The E40-34P form you submitted is not acceptable for the following
   reasons:

   a. The stated penalty for failing to meet satisfactory progress
      standards is eternal damnation. That's OK, but you must also have a
      mechanism for appeals on the basis of mitigating circumstances, along
      with procedures for regaining eligibility.

   b. Proficiency in reciting the Apostle's Creed is not an acceptable
      basis for ability-to-benefit admissions; nor is the Test of Latin as a
      Second Language on the Secretary's list of approved ATB tests.

   c. "Heavenly rewards" may not be listed on the financial statements
      as current assets, unless the CPA certifies that the end of the world
      will occur within one year.

   d. Citing "The Bible" as your only student consumer information is
      clearly inadequate.

   e. Title IV aid may not be paid for courses which are clearly
      avocational in nature. Thus, the courses entitled, "Working Miracles
      101," "Advanced Transubstantiation," and "Sex and the Single Cardinal"
      would not be eligible.

Please feel free to apply again when you have gotten your act
together.

Sincerely,
Chief, Certification Denial Branch

Transparency Laughs

Use these on overhead projector transparencies for an instant laugh.

Alternative Plan to Financial Aid:
Get injured on college property.

Funny But True Anecdotes

Related by Gerard Anderson, Director of Financial Aid, Hofstra University Law School, Hempstead, New York:
A few years back an angry law student comes storming into my office demanding to know why she did not receive a need based grant. I pull her file and explain to that while her parents claimed no assets they reported $20,000+ in interest income on their tax returns so we assumed an asset of $XXXXX was needed to generate that kind of interest - she promptly storms out. Jump forward one year the student is back in my office having a fit because her parents don't have that asset any longer and we still didn't give her a need based grant - she was right they only reported about $4,000 in interest that year. However, this year while the student reported having no assets guess what? Lo and behold there on her tax return was interest income of about $16,000. Smart huh?

Related by Samantha Kahn, Financial Aid Counselor, California State University, East Bay:
I'd been on the phone several times with the mom. I forget what they were asking for, I think they'd completed a PLUS credit app and were preapproved but never submitted the prom note for it (those came through the college before going to the lender).

One day the dad calls and starts ripping me up and down because the money hasn't arrived. I can hear that mom is in the background saying things like "I've taken care of it" and when the dad finally bellows, "Well, what I want to know is, whose fault is it that the money isn't there?!" and mom shouts "Tim, it was MY fault! I didn't send in the application until the day before yesterday!"

Sweet, sweet vindication.

Related by Celena Rader-Lambdin, Director of Financial Aid, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee:
My favorite story is the student who received a Satisfactory Academic Progress letter....and called to ask what we meant calling her a "SAP"!

Related by LaTasha Goudeau, Director, Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, UH-Downtown:
Our former director received a call from an "angry" student. The student left a voice mail stating that she was upset because we had lost her paperwork and that she had submitted this paperwork to us several times. She wanted her file processed immediately and compensation for the lost documents and time. Well, she apparently was on a three-way call with a friend and thought she had disconnected the call. You could then hear her telling her friend, "You have to lie to them to get what you want". Then the voice mail prompts, "You have 30 seconds before call is disconnected." Needless to say we never heard anything else from her.

Related by Allene Curto:
This student was one of about 50 students who had completed FA documents verrrrrrrrrrry late - the day before fall registration in early August many years ago - but I had managed to review the files and run the award letters and brought them to the students at the registration site. I handed the student her award packet and told her that her award information was inside. I sent her off with a cheery - "let us know if you have any questions!"

In mid-October, I received an extremely angry call from this same student who was furious that the term was half way over and we still hadn't sent her any money. I told her we were still waiting for her award reply telling us how much of her loan she wanted to accept. She blew up and asked how she was supposed to know that she needed to tell us that. I said "It's right on the letter that we don't process your aid until one copy is returned (we send 2) and there is a Reply section on the letter " . The response? (drum roll, please...) "You never told me that I had to READ the letter!" and she hung up on me.

By the way - we had also sent her two award reply follow-up requests....ah well......

Related by Kerrie Cooper, SUNY Canton:
My staff starts making phone calls in the middle of the semester to student who still owe us paperwork to complete their financial aid processing. One of our staff called and got a student's roommate who indicated that the student was not there. She asked if she could leave a message for the student. The roommate's response was "No, because we don't have an answering machine." My staff member was speechless!

Related by Nicole Porter:
A student at a college I worked at previously received a letter requesting Proof of her Visa. She promptly faxed us her Visa Credit Card!

Related by Phillip Knight:
A man called, said he needed his financial aid money immediately. I asked him what school term he was enrolled in, he said "none, I am not going to school, I am down at the library and need cab fare home". I asked why he was calling me, he said that "They" had told him we gave out free money!!

Related by Robert Clarke, Director of Financial Aid, George Fox University:
Several years ago, I was reviewing a PJ request. The mother had a fairly large AGI due to capital gains of $50,000. She had petitioned to have the $50,000 capital gains removed. When I asked why, she said it was winnings from the state lottery (different state). I said, great, you can use some of that money to help pay for your student's college expenses (I know, crazy idea). Anyway, she said she couldn't because she had won a '55 T-bird. I told her that she could choose to sell the car. She told me she couldn't sell it, because it was what she drove to work in, and she needed a car to get to work.

She didn't like my response which had to do with the comparison between a Cadillac and a Toyota. Both would get her to work.

Related by Wanda Upton, Corporate Financial Aid, Virginia College:
Our financial aid offices mails loan disbursement notifications to every student when loan funds have been credited to his/her tuition account. The letter states the amount of the loan disbursement, type of loan as well as notifying the student of his rights. This particular student took his letter to his bank, gave it to the teller and told her that he wanted to withdraw the money from his checking account. Guess he did not bother reading the letter. (Imagine that).

Related by Lena Terry, Director of Financial Aid, Bellin College of Nursing, Green Bay, Wisconsin:
Several years ago (before the days of electronic FAFSA filing), an adult prospective student (thirty-something) brought her FAFSA to my office along with the envelope (the pre-addressed envelope supplied with the paper FAFSA and instruction booklet). She held them both out to me and asked how to fold the FAFSA to make it fit in the envelope. She went through the motions of showing me that it would not fit folded in half nor any other way that she could come up with to fold it. Needless to say, this gal did not actually make it into the college.

Related by Addalou Davis, Director of Financial Aid, University of the Pacific:
Student asks for financial aid re-consideration because of a funeral expense: $1,600 for burial and funeral for her horse. I kept a straight face and the tears forming in my eyes she actually thought were from sympathy -- not trying to hold back my laugher.

Related by Addalou Davis, Director of Financial Aid, University of the Pacific:
On the verification form we use "Martha Jones" as the example. Student came in and told the front counter person: "Martha Jones isn't a member of my family."

Related by Dr. Pat Watkins of Eckerd College of Saint Petersburg, Florida:
Recently I received a call from a father asking why his daughter didn't qualify for a subsidized loan. I explained that the EFC was above the cost of education, so she could only receive an unsubsidized loan.

"But my EFC is $15,000. Your costs are above $30,000 per year."

"According to the records I have, your EFC is $60,000. Is your income $180,000?"

"Yes."

Have you made any corrections to your FAFSA?"

"No" he answered. "But that $60,000 EFC is for four years isn't it? So my annual contribution is $15,000."

There was silence when I let him know that the $60,000 EFC was for one year.

I think he and his wife are still in shock.

Related by Nancy Amaral, Director of Financial Aid at Pine Manor College of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts:
I wanted to give this student a scholarship just for honesty...

In the old days, before it was PC to use the term "Gender", one of our forms asked Name, Age, Sex. The student answer...

Billy Smith, 18, Once in Junior Year.

Related by C. Edward Kerestly, Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid at Calvin College of Grand Rapids, Michigan:
One of my staff is reviewing scholarship applications. Within the essay section a student wrote that she did not have time to complete the essay but that we should feel free to contact her if we wanted any additional information. She then provided her email. Needless to say, she will not get the scholarship.

Related by Dorothy Gillman, Associate Director of Financial Aid at Ramapo College of New Jersey:
I received a call from our Perkins Loan administrator today advising that he had a student in his office demanding that his "Parking Loan" be canceled as he had already paid his parking fee.

Realted by Matthew Clemons, Associate Director of Financial Aid and Admission, Manhattan School of Music:
We had a student who originally qualified for work study but when state awards were processed late, the amount of grant money she was receiving brought her up to the cost of attendance. Her response? "Well, I was planning on working anyway. Could I still work and just do it for free?"

Related by Troy Martin, Director of Financial Aid at Houghton College:
Hougton is a school affiliated with the Wesleyan Church. So, on our institutional aid application, we ask for "Church Affiliation" (since we give Wesleyans a small grant). Once a prospective student came up to me and asked, "What does Church AFFLICTION mean?"

Related by Marilyn Enstrom, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Wheaton College:
When the unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan first came into existence a few years ago, some of our students were (naturally) a bit confused about what it was. Demonstrating just how confusing financial aid terms can be, one of our students sent us a loan application with a note that said, "Enclosed is the application and promissory note for the UNSUBSTANTIATED loan."

Related by Sherwood Johnson of CUNY:
We had a student from a very large family submit a SAR that was selected for verification. The student was a permanent resident who had been in this country for only a few years. We informed the student that he was required (among other things) to verify his household size of 12. For this the student was given a verification form and told that he could attach a separate sheet for additional family members. So the student took the form home for completion and lo and behold the form came back verifying the household size as follows (not real names):
         John Smith    Dad      5'9"
         Jane Smith    Mom      5'3"
         Peter Smith   Brother  5'11"
         Charles Smith Brother  4'10"
         Sarah Smith   Sister     20" (Newborn baby)
         ...
I will never be able to use the phrase "verify household size" without thinking of this case.

Related by Dan Preston, Linfield College:
A student listed his family members on a verification worksheet in the following manner (names have been changed):
   Ryan Smith     self      19   MHCC
   Fred Smith     Father    43   none
   Cathy Smith    Mother    42   none
   Chris Smith    bother    9    none
   Cameron Smith  bother    6    none
Our office got quite a laugh out of his "little bothers."

Related by Julia Clayton, Associate Director of Financial Aid at the University of Utah:
A student called one of our lenders and said, "I got my check for the Stafford Loan today. That was nice, thanks. Now, where and when can I pick up the check for my Family Contribution?"

Related by Ron Stamps of Xavier University:
Yesterday, a woman finally decided to call her financial aid counselor (me) since she kept sending her SAR back to the Feds for correction and they wouldn't correct it. I asked her which item she was correcting. She said, "My son filed a 1040EZ and that paper keeps saying that he filed a 1040A/EZ. Why don't they correct it?"

Related by J. Patton of USI:
A nursing student with a very high GPA got really upset because the toll-free number printed on our missing items letter wouldn't work for her. She ended up calling me on the local line. While she was "chewing me out", I looked up her address on my terminal. She lives right here in Evansville. When I explained that the toll-free number was for long distance only, she insisted that we include that bit of information in our letter.

Related by Troy Martin, Director of Financial Aid at Houghton College:
As I walked in to give a financial aid presentation at a local high school last week, the guidance counselor had an overhead slide with the following:
$$$$$$$$      GETTING INJURED ON COLLEGE PROPERTY    $$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$   An alternative approach to financial aid  $$$$$$$$
I think he was kidding...

Related by Carol Hawley of Bucknell:
Seen in the signature line of a student's post:
Jill Q. Student ... student@some-school.edu ...
and if the student loan people get to me:  student@cardboard.box.under.bridge
[The student's name and school address have been changed to protect the student's identity.]

Related by Bob Moore, Western NV Community College:
We use a Touch-Tone Telephone Registration (TTTR) for registration. Someone just called me and said the TTTR system told her to enter a "10" followed by the number sign. She was confused because there wasn't a 10 on her phone.

Then there was the student who called our office and told us she needed a phone to do registration. We almost asked what she was using to call us (and she was using a touch-tone phone, not a rotary).

And then there was a student who wanted to use the phones in our office because, in her words, "they were closer to the computer." We didn't have the heart to tell her the mainframe computer was in Reno, thirty miles away.

Related by Julie Setzer:
At a school where I worked a couple of years ago, the mother of a student remarried and tried to get permission to exclude the step-father's information on the FAFSA. She appealed to everyone she could think of, including the US Department of Education.

Our Financial Aid Director was getting very exasperated with the situation. He had explained things over and over and over to the mother, and she still wouldn't back down. Finally, our usually-genteel director blurted out, "So what you're saying is that you want to put the burden of your child's education on the US taxpayers rather than the man you sleep with every night?" The mother immediately became quiet, and she said, "You know, I never thought of it like that." She accepted things from that point on.

I think a good explanation of that type of situation is that even though the child may not be adopted by the stepfather, the custodial parent (mother) receives direct benefit from the stepfather's income and assets; therefore, his information must be included. End of story!

Related by Gail Catron:

One of our students at Wytheville Community College called Counseling and told the Counselor that she could not register until she got her pelvic check.

Related by Kate Lockhart:

The secretary at a previous school was very dedicated to her work and was eager to demonstrate the knowledge she was gaining. Eventually, she began to counsel students and their families about the financial aid process.

One day as she was counseling a Mom and her son, I overheard her say that the formula used to determine the expected family contribution figure was known as "federal mythology."

Related by Denise Daniel:

Once upon a time I told a student we needed his Independent Verification form and his IRS tax form. My front desk person got a laugh when the student called to see if we'd received his Declaration of Independence and his 10-W-40!

Related by Judith A. Kotar:

A couple of weeks after the Oklahoma bombing, our student Ms. XYZ returned to class having attended the funeral of a relative killed in the bombing. She spent her money on the airfare and now needed money for books. We were sympathetic until we got a copy of the ticket. She bought it the day before the bombing.

Ms. ABC picked up her financial aid check then dropped out of school. She had moved to a different apartment. She was too busy to attend class because she was working more hours at her Work Study job to pay for the apartment.

Ms. MNO had just cashed her financial aid checks at a bank. She left her purse in the car as she dashed into the Day Care Center. When she returned moments later her purse was gone from the front seat. Could we please get her another Pell Grant for spring term?

Related by Rachel Siegenthaler:

I was talking to a student about his Stafford Loans and I asked him which lender he used. He said, "...well, I got the loan from Maryland National Bank, but they told me that they sold it to a lady named Sallie..."

Related by Richard Woodland:

A law school student was in the financial aid office completing a Stafford Loan Application. Being a 1st year law student, he wanted to be sure he understood every item on the form. After about an hour of this tedious give and take with the harried staff member, he finally got to the question that asked for CLASS. When he questioned this item, the exasperated clerk replied, "Class, either you got it or you don't. Do you think you have any class? Answer Yes or No!"

Related by Jo Lopez:

A couple of years ago we asked students to pick up their loan applications at the lender of their choice, and provided a list of local participating lenders. One student turned in five (5) Stafford loan applications at the loan counseling session. When I asked which lender he wanted to use, his reply was "All of them!".

Related by Howard Fischer:

One of my counselors got a call from a student who was upset. She said that she thought it was clear that she was in the Undergraduate program, but we accidentally sent her the "Masters Promissory Note".

Advice on Presentations

The following advice on livening up a financial aid information night comes from Jim Contreras of the Community College of Aurora.
We liven up our financial aid information sessions by demonstrating that they can go to the grocery store to find scholarships. We then pull out a grocery bag and give away products like Noxema, Pepsi and even Orville Redenbacher with their scholarship applications attached. Our theme is "Seek and you will find; ask and you shall receive." We have fun with it and you and they will be surprised by what you can find out there.

Financial aid counselors interested in more details or tips about how they can get their presentation/event sponsored by one of the scholarship products may call him at 1-303-361-7393 or send him email at jimc@mash.colorado.edu.

[Note: The Orville Redenbacher second start scholarship no longer exists.]

Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Reasons to Be a Financial Aid Officer (via Doreen Coker)
  1. We want to eliminate FAT.
  2. We like paper cuts.
  3. We thought it would be easy.
  4. We failed the CPA exam.
  5. It's possibly safer that bungee jumping.
  6. Patrons are always so appreciative.
  7. Professional judgment is a snap.
  8. We like waking up to a new world each day.
  9. It's a great way to meet irate people.
  10. We own shares in forms printing companies.
  11. We love enforcing regulations that have no identifiable purpose.
  12. WE NEED ANALYSIS.

Top 10 Reasons to Work in a Financial Aid Office (Dan Vaughn)
  1. If I had a job where I got home early, I'd have to do the dishes.
  2. People yell at me...and I like it!
  3. The smell of government documents turns me on.
  4. Telling people I give away money makes me feel important.
  5. To complete my chewed pencil collection.
  6. Ever since I wrote that Marquis de Sade term paper, I've just been this way.
  7. All the good jobs were taken.
  8. I always wanted an office with padded wallpaper.
  9. Staff meetings, staff meetings, staff meetings!
  10. The look on their little faces when I say, "You're check's not here!"

Top 10 Time Consuming Activities of a Financial Aid Administrator
  1. Explaining to congressional staffers that their boss probably voted for reauthorization of the HEA and created the circumstances which have made his/her constituent unhappy.
  2. Explaining to students why they are not considered independent while their parents, who are present, express incredulity.
  3. Explaining to SFA staff why we make sometimes exceptions.
  4. Explaining to the business office why we are $63 off on a $3 million grant program (reason: automatic tuition refunds).
  5. Explaining to the public relations folks that sado-masochism is not strictly a FAA trait.
  6. Explaining to the FFELP loan servicer that the 7-month rule no longer applies.
  7. Explaining to your spouse why you can't leave this profession for one which allows more time at home with the family.
  8. Explaining to the enrollment management committee why not everyone leaves the SFA Office with a smile on their face.
  9. Explaining to your boss that you don't have time to process financial aid because you spend all your time explaining stuff.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Work in the Financial Aid Office (Michael Wernon)
  1. I like to make students cry!
  2. Great conferences.
  3. I now know that not all important federal documents come from Pueblo, Colorado.
  4. I like to make students cry!
  5. It's my own personal version of the movie Groundhog Day.
  6. I love all those nifty acronyms.
  7. I'm looked up to and repected by both students and college administration, alike.
  8. I like to make students cry!
  9. I want to actively contribute to the paperwork reduction act.
  10. What else do you do with a degree in the humanities?

Top 10 Reasons Why I Chose Financial Aid as a Profession (Ron Stamps)
  1. I've always wanted to be a detective.
  2. I have fourteen children who plan to attend the college where I work.
  3. When they said "director," I thought they said "conducter." I've always wanted to work on a train.
  4. I flunked my Army physical and had to take a lower paying job.
  5. My position as a taster at Budweiser was eliminated during cost-cutting.
  6. I thought financial aid workers got percentages of their federal student loans forgiven for each year of service.
  7. I lost my license to drive a semi and had to take a lower paying job.
  8. I was over-qualified for admissions.
  9. As a former politician/attorney, I wanted to improve my public image.
  10. I am actually an agent with the FBI looking for students who failed to register for the draft.

Top 10 Reasons To Be a Financial Aid Administrator (Marty Somero)
  1. Don't have to worry about where to go on summer vacation.
  2. Auditors know how financial aid really works!
  3. Always enough money to go around.
  4. Registrar approved drops - two years later.
  5. Can order all the FAFSA's you want.
  6. Friends and family understand exactly what you do for a living.
  7. Admissions Director always satisfied with date new award letters sent.
  8. Sooner or later, bound to be right on loan fees.
  9. If quick, can usually send SAP suspension letters to obnoxious students right before Christmas.
  10. It's still better then being a FED.

Top 10 Benefits of Being a Financial Aid Administrator (Sheriff Dave)
  1. No salary cap like in the NBA and NFL.
  2. You get all the respect of South American soccer referees and Little League umpires.
  3. You get to use the intertwined "S's" key on your word processor more than ANYBODY else.
  4. That squinty look you've acquired from reading "Federal Registers" is considered very sexy in certain circles.
  5. You get to use more acronyms than NASA or the military.
  6. A lifetime supply of Florida Federal sticky notes.
  7. BEOG Dial-Awards have become collectors' items.
  8. You know why the Educational Savings and Asset Protection Allowance is what it is.
  9. Great press in the trade publications--just ask a former USED official!
  10. Living each day with that feeling of total control.

Top 10 Reasons to Work in Financial Aid
  1. The Big Package
  2. Sometimes you get to make people cry
  3. Drowning in SAP
  4. The rules only change every 6 years with reauthorization
  5. Respect and admiration from the rest of the campus
  6. Students who faint in your office because they haven't eaten in 3 days
  7. You too can be a WhizKid
  8. Algebra finally has a use in calculating loan fees
  9. Working in the area the congress holds as a #1 priority
  10. Two Words -- program reviews.

Why I Choose To Be in Financial Aid
  • I enjoy working long hours and my evening conversations with the custodial staff.
  • I enjoy working in an office cluttered with several thousand pieces of paper.
  • The pay is much better than other positions at my school with similar responsibilities.
  • The job is very structured and routine. I never have to adapt to change.
  • I enjoy developing forms, having them printed, and then cutting them up to use as scratch paper.
  • It's fun giving money away, especially when I have enough to give to every student who wants it, and with no strings attached.
  • When enrollment declines, I don't get blamed, the Admissions Office does.
  • I enjoy reading federal registers and other fiction.
  • I like defending my reason for existence when I have a vacancy in the office.
  • I like to answer every question asked by students with the words "It depends."
  • I enjoy explaining to auditors the difference between grants and loans.
  • Computerizing my office has made my job so much easier because things run so smoothly.
  • I like to talk in secret code when explaining financial aid to students and parents.
  • I'm still afraid of being drafted -- aren't financial aid workers exempt?
  • The TIAA/CREF retirement is SO much better than a politician's retirement.

Poetry and Limericks

Forwarded by Ginny Biada from Karen Kopp of Cuyahoga Community College:
An old man knocked at the pearly gates
For admission to the fold
His hands were rough and full of scars
His face was wrinkled and old.

He knocked awhile and St. Peter came
And gazed at this awful sight.
For before him stood the most wretched thing
Ever seen in day or night.

"What have you done," St. Peter asked,
"For Admission here?"
"I've worked at the Financial Aid Office, Sir,"
For many and many a year."

St. Peter opened the pearly gates,
Told Gabriel to ring the bell,
Then turned and said, "You're welcome here,
For you're had your share of HELL!"

A poem by Tom Scarlett, forwarded by Karen Fooks:
We're really glad you're coming to our school,
now please try to follow this one little rule:

When you're angry and considering destruction,
surprise us all and read the instruction!

When mail from us is thrown aside,
that is something we can't abide.

Return stuff to us on a timely basis,
and you'll bring a smile to all our faces!

The more responsibility that you can take,
the more your stay here will be a piece of cake.

A poem by anonymous, modified by Karen Fooks:
THE BUREAUCRAT'S PRAYER

Oh Thou, who seest all things below,
Grant that Thy servants may go slow;
That we may study to comply
With regulations 'til we die.

Teach us, O Lord, to reverence
Committees more than common sense;
Impress our minds to make no plan
And pass the baby when we can.

And when the Tempter seems to give
Us feelings of initiative,
Or when we're tempted to do well
Send out another DCL.

'Mid fire and tumult, war and storms,
Sustain us, Blessed One, with plentiful forms,
Thus may Thy servants ever be
A flock of perfect sheep for Thee.

An Exit-Interview Limerick by Joe Kauffman:

Commencement's a wonderful day!
Then in six months you'll start to repay,
And all that you've taken
Will start to be shaken
Or garnished for ten year's of pay!
 

 
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