A lone student stops at the pamphlet rack outside Bismarck State College’s Financial Aid office. Grumbling as he leafs through its contents, he mutters a few choice words when he can not find what he needs.

This may be an all too common sight this semester with FAFSA deadlines and paper forms scarce. These forms which could once be found in almost any of the many pamphlet racks around campus are now nearly non-existent. One student even reported being told that they were no longer available by the Financial Aid Office. For others the forms can be obtained but only after some argument. It’s an experience that is all too reminiscent of trying to buy illicit substances.

“Sir you realize that these are bad for you, don’t you?”

“Why, yes ma’am. I’ve heard that they cause all sorts of nastiness like patience. What’s that you say? Patience is a good thing? Well that’s what they said about cigarettes and look what became of that.”

How is it that the paper FAFSA form is so inferior anyway? For many the pain in the nether regions of applying through the mail is more than worth it compared with the kick in the balls that comes with dragging all of your tax information down to the computer lab to apply online.

And, oh the pleasure of requesting your online pin, now that’s fun! It means a ten day wait to get it by mail and that’s if you haven’t changed addresses since last year. By mail of all things! The very thing that applying online is supposed to help you avoid.

Online application may be faster if you are lucky enough to have your pin and internet access at home, but why can’t they leave those old fashioned among us the divine pleasure of the taste of a stamp? Hmmn…stamp glue… Yes, I may be getting senile and ready for the nursing home but they won’t let me check in yet and so in the mean time I’m still here gritting my teeth in anticipation of the day that they close the post office entirely.

 

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