College Crap

My Little Sister starts college on Monday.  But only by the skin of her teeth and not through any fault of her own.

She is on a scholarship and because of red tape and beaurocratic b.s. the funds were late coming through.  The college has a policy of needing $350 down to hold a spot but they usually make an exception for scholarships, knowing everything that could come into play to delay the money.  Usually. This time, they not only denied her a timetable and told her she couldn’t start classes, they told her they were slapping a $100 late fee on her as well.

If she had $350 she would have handed it over.  If she had another $100 she would have given that up too.  But she’s on a – I’ll say it very slowly for them – s-c-h-o-l-a-r-s-h-i-p.  Sound it out for me, college wags! 

The girl spent a couple of days on the phone trying to find someone who would understand her situation and alternately worrying herself sick about being denied her place in her classes. 

We have an amazing case worker at Big Brothers/Sisters and as soon as I found out about the crisis, I enlisted her help.  Bottom line, my Little Sister is starting classes on Monday.  Everyone involved is turning a blind eye to the financial fracas and they’re doing what is right, not what’s in “the rules”. 

A story on the front of today’s Toronto Star details the lengths post secondary students are going to, to get textbooks.  I bought a year’s worth of textbooks not so long ago for the mere price of $800!  It’s INSANE.  So The Star has learned that some students are bypassing copyright laws and photo-copying books for each other.

 I’m a bit retentive about copyrights.  I don’t care if Coldplay has sold 10 million CDs. In my opinion they deserve to get paid for each and every one.  But this is different.  This is kids and the pursuit of higher learning and they’re getting soaked. 

A university textbook I contributed a chapter to is coming out this year and – the publisher will kill me for this – but I would be honoured if it found its way into a Xerox and got passed around!  As a writer, I want to be read.  And if it means a couple more hungry minds glean a nugget or two, so be it.  I’ve been on the other side of this issue, now, and the bloated price tags and blood-sucking from students sickens me. 

My Little Sister’s college is just lucky someone found a way to get her into her classes because I had plans B, C, D and E ready to go if necessary.  E would have gotten me on the front of the paper…but not in a good way!