Thursday, July 23, 2009

College Bureaucracy

Plenty of room for improvement at Sparks Hall

Isaac is planning to attend Murray State University (MSU) this fall. He started the enrollment process a long time ago, but glitches have held up his progress. Now, his money is due in just two weeks, and he's still muddling through the bureaucratic maze.

One big problem is that documents we've provided did not make it to his files. Here's an example. I e-mailed the financial aid office a copy of Isaac's W-2 form on July 8. I received an e-mail back from them saying they would add it to his file.

Yesterday we drove over to Murray and went to Sparks Hall to find out why Isaac's enrollement status had not changed. They pulled his file and said his W-2 form was missing. I logged onto my e-mail from one of their computers and printed the W-2 for them. They put it in his file and said his status would be evaluated within 10 to 14 days. I said, "Can't someone evaluate it right now?!"

So the clerk led us to an office where a man looked at the file for a couple of minutes, typed a few numbers into the computer, and told us that the financial aid should be approved in two to three days. How difficult was that?

Here's another example of missing documents. We found out yesterday that Murray has not credited Isaac for his final semester at Hopkinsville Community College because they don't have his final transcript. However, when we called Hopkinsville Community College, they had proof that they sent the transcript in May. We had to hurry back to Hopkinsville and pay again to have another transcript faxed and mailed.

The unavailability of his adviser is another problem. She can't be reached by telephone, and she doesn't respond to voice mail or e-mail. Isaac is required to have a meeting with her before he can register. We're going to drive back over there tomorrow and go to her office. If he can't see her or make an appointment, we're going to ask for a different adviser.

When Isaac registers for classes and has his schedule, he can apply for academic leave from the grocery store where he works in Hopkinsville. We should also get some final figures on tuition and fees.

In a bizarre development today, I received an e-mail from the financial aid office. It was a reply to my e-mail of two weeks ago that contained the W-2 form. They had printed the W-2 and added it to Isaac's file, and they were writing to say that his status would be updated in 10 to 14 days. [Note to the financial aid office: Congratulations on your discovery of this e-mail. You couldn't find it at all, yesterday. Why didn't you just hit the "Print" button when you acknowledged the e-mail two weeks ago?]

It almost gives me a headache to write about all this, and Isaac says he's been having nightmares regularly.


Mark said...

It's a shame you all are having these problems. It reminds me of when I went to the administration building at Georgia Tech to ask a question. The person I asked said, "I don't know, I just work here."

I work with several people who came from Murray State.

Genevieve said...

Our annual family income has fluctuated a lot during the last few years. I guess that's why every darned year, we are "selected for verification" and asked for tax returns and W-2 forms.

I don't remember having too much trouble when Keely enrolled as a freshman six years ago. However, Keely reminded me that later on, the registrar's office lost her request to change her major. To get it straightened out, she had to get signatures from three department heads. That was a big hassle for her which wouldn't have been required otherwise.

Hundreds of people graduate from Murray every year, so there's hope for Isaac if we can just get him enrolled.

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