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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear Student Loan....Again....

Posted on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Today I was contacted by one of your loan officers or some other arbitrarily titled representative from your office. This call was in response to someone in the media contacting them, which they would not inform me who or from where. I was advised by your staff member that there was actually no glitch in the system, nothing to keep 20,000 students from getting their loan, and that I had completed my responsibilities by getting my pre-study report into them. That was where my responsibilities ended. Then they advised me that I should have kept following up repeatedly over the last 4 months to ensure that my documents were being processed.

(I thought she just said when I submitted my report that was the end of my duties? I guess however what she meant was, that it was my responsibility to ensure that people in her office were doing their job because the supervisors or senior agents weren’t ensuring that that was happening. Well it was nice to know that I have been promoted to “Watch Dog” of a government agency. I guess I’ll add that to my resume. )

I advised your staff member that I had contact your office multiple times to try and get an answer as to where my documents were and as to when they expected them to be processed. She advised me that I should of been contacting them sooner than January and I then asked her where this sort of information was available and where I could find a procedure manual on how to conduct myself in relation with Student Loan policies, as I am sure I am not the only student that has gone through this. She told me that there was no such thing, that I should just know this is how they work.

I then proceeded to ask her why less than a week ago when I was fighting with the junior staff I was getting met with rhetoric being regurgitated from the higher-ups about a glitch in the system that wasn’t allowing them to process provincial loans? Then when I asked the junior staff for a face to face appointment I was advised that it wouldn’t make any difference whether or not I came in person, nothing was going to get resolved. She then informed that she had no idea why I was getting met with untrue statements and that I should have asked for a supervisor. Well, On Monday of this week, the first day of the first full week of classes of the second semester, that was exactly what I had done. I had asked for a supervisor and the gentleman had told me that there weren’t any in today and that I could call back later in the week (keeping in mind tuition is due today Jan. 14 and that was the 11th ) or I could call the director of Student accounts and leave a message.

NO SUPERVISOR IN! On the first day of the second semester? Are you having staffing issues? Did someone you employ take vacation on that day on purpose, or did your entire organization think it a clever act on their behalf, like a sick joke, to leave 20,000 students in the lurch? Or perhaps it’s that your employees are oblivious to student time tables, as it isn’t like it’s their job to know when their clients are returning to school. And aren’t we essentially clients of yours? But more than likely it is that they have no idea what it is like to deal with your government office because none of them have a college or university degree and have never had a student loan? Oh wait, that is exactly what it is. When I asked “Do you have any idea what dealing with you people as a student is like? You must understand what it’s like to not know your educational fate because of student loan, everyone I have spoken too outside your organization and who has had to deal with you has been less than satisfied to say the least with your service.” the response I received was “Sorry Miss, I have no idea what it is you’re going through as I myself don’t have any formal education and have never had to apply or obtain a student loan.”

After all of the blood, sweat and tears your organization has put me through, it was a nice glimmer of hope when you placed the onus on SMU to accept the electronic document regarding my enrolment there and after that is complete, in 3-5 business days, I should be the proud? borrower of another sum of the governments money.

I cannot describe the contempt I have for your organization. In the future, try employing people in your call center with empathy, retain competent staff and provide reliable information to students. I was under the impression, after the number of years I had worked in a call center, the first thing they taught was EMPATHY. Perhaps I have been the one misinformed yet again. I hope that for future encounters, you will conduct yourselves with a modicum of professionalism, accept responsibility for your actions and employees, and someday pride yourselves on helping the generations of student loan applicants achieve their goals in higher education. I also hope that someday one of us will take over your operation and make the changes that are necessary for all students to operate smoothly for the 4 years, give or take, that we have to be in contact with you.

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