Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Financial bureaucracy not beneficial to UA students

Sometimes, I find myself undeniably annoyed with our University. I silently curse to myself as I ponder the erratic nature of the buses. I flail and gnash my teeth when it’s 4:59 as you park near Gorgas only to return and find a nice, cordial ticket under your window wiper. I shake my head when the University entices kids to attend, then drops them like paper weights once they’ve reeled them in.

It pained me freshman year when the University tried to force residents to park their cars outside of the Ferguson parking deck on game days to accommodate non-students.

I shouted dirty words (in my mind) when I found out football players took precedence for selecting classes over graduate students, seniors and juniors. I chunked up the deuces when I learned greek students walked around dorms with computers soliciting votes when Kendra Key ran for the SGA presidency.

Many, many events on this campus constantly remind me of the underlying problems prevalent at this University. I may get frustrated, flabbergasted, or perturbed by events or rules governing this campus, but I always remember dwelling on the past does little to help anything. I perform a Kanye West shoulder shrug and keep living. When events are out of your hands, there is little you can do.

I can forgive many of the things this University does, but one sticks out—messing with my money. You do not mess with a college student’s money.

Recently, I had monetary problems associated with the University and my scholarship. Essentially, I had to pay back money I was not even sure I owed. Before I was going to freely give money away, I at least wanted to better understand my situation.

I first emailed student receivables with my problem. I was immediately forwarded to financial aid who then forwarded me to scholarship admissions who eventually forwarded me back to student receivables. This went on for a week. They would either forward me to another department, completely ignore my question, or just outright ignore my email.

After complete failure communicating via email I decided to call financial aid and speak to someone personally. Hopefully, I could make sure my situation was being fully understood.

At first, whenever I pressed the selection button to directly speak with an employee I was automatically sent to voicemail. I left a few messages but never got any calls back. Two days later I decided to call again, except I started with student receivables. When I explained my situation, the employee immediately told me this was not their department’s problem and forwarded me to financial aid.

I can completely understand not dealing with a situation that is not under your jurisdiction, but this is where it got silly. When I spoke to financial aid, they told me it was a problem for Scholarship Admissions and forwarded my call. Guess what? When scholarship admissions spoke to me, they said this was not their problem either and forwarded me to student receivables. I went full circle between all three departments before I finally hung up after I was put on hold for thirty minutes. I tried calling scholarship admissions this time, but found myself in the same situation. I was either forwarded or wait-listed. It felt as if no one had time for my situation.

I finally decided to go speak to someone personally at one of the offices. After speaking with an employee in student receivables, I was sent to scholarship admissions upstairs. At this point I thought I finally had the situation resolved. The employee I spoke to said it was a mistake and everything would be wiped from my account. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. My balance was never lifted, instead an extra charge was credited to my account for delinquent payment. For three weeks I had either emailed, called or personally went to speak with employees at the University with either no help or dismissal of responsibility. Still, the University had no problem charging me with extra bills when they would not explain my first one.

When I emailed one last time asking for an explanation I was met with a far more hostile answer than before. I finally gave in and paid the bill so it wouldn’t rise anymore. I felt defeated. It’s hard to shrug off a situation where there is little of it you can solve on your own. You can let go of bad customer service at Wal-Mart when a transaction might be upwards of thirty or forty dollars, but when dealing with hundreds or thousands, this becomes far more serious. This was by far the worst customer (or student) service I have ever received in my life.

It’s hard to Kanye West shoulder shrug a situation when the campus where you’ve invested part of your future can’t even take time to answer what’s happening to your money.


Xavier Burgin is a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies and film production.


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