11 June 2009

Screwed

So, as some know, I have been fixing to go to graduate school in New Zealand. I was pretty much settled on the University of Canterbury, a decent enough school on the whole and an international one (New Zealand being a rather more exciting place to live for Lizzie than Cincinnati). I am admitted and whatnot, and the only remaining hurdles are obtaining extensions of my U.S. federal loans and getting a visa to the country.

But alas. There are problems.

A couple of months ago, I crowed about one of my loans being paid off. They contacted me about a few cents remaining on my account, and I laughed as I sent them a check for $0.14. It was silly of them and a waste of everyone's time, but it wasn't really a big deal. Hard for me to complain about when it made a funny story and didn't do any harm, right?

Well, I discovered yesterday that my Perkins loans have gone to collections, because it seems I sent those few cents to the wrong loan company.

I found this out because I can't extend my loans when any of them are in collections. And this also explains why I am still waiting to hear that UC received my transcripts from Wake Forest. A quick check confirmed it.
Hi Alexander,

We are federally mandated to send any unpaid Perkins loans to a collection agency. It is policy to place a hold until all financial obligations have been met. This does include any collection accounts with outside agencies.

...

Thanks,
Susan
So. I have to pay the whole balance of my Perkins loans (the one being pennies, the other being substantial) before I can get loans to go to grad school. And if I were to pay off the loans, I wouldn't have enough money to pay for my whole first year of grad school as well as living expenses, something that is required to get a visa.

In other words, I can either get the money to go to grad school but be barred from the country, or else I can go to the country but without being able to go to grad school. And I cannot see any way out of it.

Careful checking and perhaps more invective than was strictly necessary informs me that there is no way to work around it. There is no process or possibility of getting my loans out of collections until they are paid off. There is no possibility of getting a visa unless I can demonstrate I have sufficient resources to pay for a year of school (plus the sum needed for a ticket home).

And I have only a month to solve this problem, if it can be solved, since deadlines are already approaching.

I. Am. Screwed.

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