Friday, May 09, 2008

An extra lap of aggravation

More than 30 years ago, I attended the NCAA track championships. In the 6-mile run (distances weren't contested in metrics then) one of the leaders,on his 23rd lap, made a spirited and exhausting sprint to the finish line -- only to be informed that he had lost count and still had to run one more lap (another quarter-mile) to complete the race.

For some reason, I thought of that incident after being informed by my son this week that we had to complete a FAFSA -- government for Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- in order for him to work his campus internship this summer.

The "we" in the sentence above, by the way, means yours truly.

After several years of wrestling with the FAFSA -- the government's antidote to optimism, the Expected Family Contribution is a downer more powerful than drugs -- I had enjoyed a couple of years of not bothering with the hair-pulling and intrusive form. We weren't seeking need-based assistance, so his university didn't need the form.

Until now.

So, thinking my battle with the FAFSA was over, I had to go back, trying to find old PINs and start anew.

In fairness, the form is easier to complete online these days. (Back in the day, it was still a paper proposition.) In fact, tonight the toughest thing was fighting the system to retrieve the old PIN. (And who remembers, after three years, whether you typed your "Challenge Question" answers in ALL CAPS, lowercase or Combination?

Anyway, the FAFSA is submitted, and with our youngest son entering his senior year in the fall, that means that my FAFSA headaches are over.

Right?

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