Friday, April 6, 2007

FA, Far away

Two months ago I wrote about how I used to identify with being a Financial Aid Administrator. These days I feel like that is far, far away. In fact, I feel closer to my job at Letty Owings, which I left in 1998, than I do to being an FAA, even though I just left that last year.

An acquaintance of mine writes a blog called "Finding the Right College." In January I wrote a post for his blog, and I offered to write another one about how to read award letters. Finally I did, but it took me a couple weeks to actually sit down and do it. When I did, I felt like I was going into the back room in my mom's basement to get something I haven't used in a long time. I had to check FinAid because I remembered hearing that USED was going to raise the loan limit for freshmen but I haven't been paying close enough attention to the CASFAA listserv to know for sure if they did.

There is a huge student-loan scandal going on right now, and I probably was acquainted with people at at least one of the schools involved and I knew lots of people on the lender's side. I know that if I were still an FAA I would be talking about this with my colleagues every day, but I'm out of touch with all but one of my friends from what I think of as my FA days. Because I'm not an FAA now, the scandal is barely a blip on my radar screen.

At the same time, the CASFAA newsletter editor had sent out a request for news for the "Transitions" section of the newsletter. Usually these announcements are people's news about new jobs, marriages, or babies (it seems like there are a lot of people in FA, but in fact it's a small industry: If you didn't work with someone once, someone you work with now used to). I decided to send in a little announcement about what I'm doing, and I really had to work hard to come up with something that sounds like I plan to return to higher ed at the end of this "year on." What I sent in was pretty weak, but it was something.

It was hard to write the "Transitions" thing because I'm not totally sure I will return to FA. Anything can happen in a year and no one knows what's going to happen (least of all me, which is why this blog is called "Always Learning" and not, for example, "Always Right") so I'm not shutting the door in any way. Like I said above, though: FA seems far away. It feels like I'm moving in a line away from it rather than in a parabola.

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