On Monday, the womanchild found out she wouldn't receive the financial aid she had been told she had for this semester of college. This comes after a rigorous round of providing more and more paperwork to her intended college's financial aid office when we were told that she would receive both grants and loans. Then she received word that because of her freshman year GPA, her applications would be reviewed with consideration of special circumstances. Those circumstances included scheduling too many hours, illness, family difficulties, the death of a family member or exceptional circumstances occurring at her previous college.
C. dropped out of college in the middle of her second semester because she knew she just couldn't handle it then. Two weeks before graduating from high school as class valedictorian, she found her father literally in mid death rattle. For months afterward, she went through PTSD and severe depression. If this wasn't enough trauma for a 17 year old girl, her room-mate attempted suicide twice while they were living together. Both times, my daughter was the one to get her to the emergency room before her parents withdrew her from college. I wonder how many kids would come through their freshman year with stellar grades after these experiences.
After dropping out, C. worked hard though. She got a job, decided that she would get back into school and accepted that until she proved her seriousness about succeeding in college, the financial responsibility would be hers. She planned on moving to another city, found a nice place to live and good roommates. She saved up enough money for three months rent and expenses. She arranged for a transfer with her job. She stayed on top of all the college paperwork requirements with minimal assistance from me. To access her tuition fund (which I don't manage) again, all she had to do was earn decent grades and turn in all receipts for this one semester.
Last week we heard that her financial aid had to be reviewed and we gathered all the paperwork requested about extenuating circumstances -- another copy of her father's death certificate, a letter from her psychologist, a letter from me. The people at her former college were completely unresponsive. They wouldn't return a single call. Now that we're no longer feeding them tens of thousands of dollars, why should they care?
On Monday her appeal to receive financial aid was denied because of her grades. The circumstances affecting her performance weren't deemed serious enough to have had a serious effect. In fact she was told that her grades were the only criteria considered because her father's death occurred three and a half months before she began classes. She is devastated and scared for her future. She's job hunting for something that will pay better and is seriously considering Americorps.
I've been trying so hard to encourage her to look at this as just a temporary setback, to stay up beat and focus on the future. At the same time, I'm angry. Angry at that stupid review board that seems to neither know nor care anything about young people or how grief and trauma affect them. I'm angry at myself for letting her down again. I'm angry about my own circumstances for not being able to be more help to her. I'm angry at her dad for contributing to this situation, and being angry at someone who's dead just sucks.
Today, C. asked me how I can believe in a personally engaged, loving God. I started talking about how God is not here to make our lives easier, but it just dwindled out. I really couldn't give her a good answer.