Paying tuition more painful than expected

Trying to process my tuition payments at USF has been like asking President George W. Bush to correctly pronounce “nuclear.” It’s a seemingly simple task that cannot be mastered. For the past four years, trying to give my money to USF has been nothing but problematic.

The same thing happens every year. Surely karma must be real because I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Each year, the saga starts the same: I give the clerk at the cashier’s office my scholarship check and, in theory, only need to write out a personal check that covers the rest of my tuition.

But before I do this I must complete a series of steps:

I must first define what the scholarship check is. Keep in mind that it looks quite similar to a payroll check, nothing foreign in this country if you’re employed. Then, as I write a personal check, I must give a finite math lesson to explain why I am paying the difference, an operation thousands of other students also do every year.

However, especially this year it has become an impossible mission when all I want to do is give the university my money. This is something they should be good at and nothing I would expect them to fight with all their bureaucratic might.

Attempting to beat the creeping Friday deadline so I can remain a registered USF student, I tried to pay my tuition last week by going through the aforementioned traditional steps.

Instead, a shouting clerk, who was standing in the back of the office, instructed me to take a copy of the scholarship check to financial aid so it could be added to my account. Financial aid then told me it would take a week to process.

Monday marked that week. When I returned to check its status at financial aid I was told they should have never accepted the check because it is against the law for financial aid to handle money.

Confused yet? Me too. And apparently so is the cashier’s office. Because when I explained this at the cashier’s office yesterday a lady looked at me as if I had lost my mind and asked, “Why did you bring your check to financial aid?”

And of course the only response to a question like that was (expletive deleted).

But I guess I should expect nothing less from a woman who has a bag of pork rinds sitting on a desk cluttered with papers.

Maybe next time I should also define a cashier’s office to the university. So for future reference I will: cashier – a person in charge of paying and receiving money. (i.e. scholarships, personal checks).

Office – a place in which business, clerical or professional activities are conducted.

At the end of the weeklong trial by fire I found out USF had given my scholarship check to another student as it had been accredited to someone else’s account.

I could have avoided this mess if I had received my scholarship check on time to pay tuition by the original Aug. 29 deadline.

For some reason, I thought good news would come Monday afternoon when I received a call from the same lady with a southern drawl who wrongly directed me to financial aid last week. But she informed me that my check was cashed at the bank and processed to another student’s account.

To which I said to myself (expletive deleted).

The woman then could not explain to me how this happened when I clearly printed, at their request, my social security number on the scholarship check. But she told me in her most uncomforting, unsettling southern tone “Honey, we’ll try to figure this out.”

I responded with my best Dr. Evil impression and said: “Right.”But to myself I could only repeat (expletive deleted).

Grace Agostin is a senior and an Associate Editor at The Oracle.