Thursday, August 23, 2007


Last Spring I was happy to discover that I had been awarded a law school grant to cover some of my tuition. Yay!

Then this month's registration debacle from hell changed all that. I tried to register for courses only to discover that I have not be re-classified to change my status from graduated-LL.M to re-admitted S.J.D. This is important for loan deferment reasons; continuation of health care benefits reasons; financial aid eligibility, registration status, etc. Unbeknownst to me, because the Stupid Person at the Advanced Law Degree Office sent in the forms late to the wrong division of the Registrar with the wrong academic dean's signature, I was a non-entity. I just finally got back into the system.

Then, just this week, after the registration debacle from hell, all my financial aid and grants disappeared because of my late registration status. No current registration, no loans. I sorted out most of this with the Actually Competent Financial Aid Office and Actually Competent Campus Registrars, only to be told that the law school grant was in error in the first place--only J.D.s get them, not LL.Ms or S.J.Ds. So while I can be re-classified to receive federal loans, I can't get back this grant, because I should have never gotten it in the first place.

I know that if I had received the grant, this would have been wrong--I am not eligible for it, as it's a need-based grant reserved for J.D.s. I can't have two bites at the apple, apparently. I mean, there's a point, since I already have the J.D. and am getting this ornamental degree for my own academic aspirational purposes. It should go to some needy, do-goodery J.D.

But is it wrong to feel a sense of injustice? Did I not rely to my detriment on the promise of this grant (even if I didn't, I would have continued on here with the S.J.D. grant or no grant). Isn't there some type of promissory estoppel argument? Yeah, I'd bet I'd win that one arguing with school.

I just feel pissed off. It would have been wrong to take the money, but heck, I didn't know that until yesterday! I would have been blithely ignorant of the taint on that big chunk of change! Ignorance is bliss! But more than the loss of the money, I feel angry at the incompetency of the Advanced Law Degree Office. Yet I have to keep up the goodwill, because the Stupid Person will be there as long as I am there, and that person is responsible for the yearly adminstrative hoopla that I have to go through (although now I know to check up on the stuff and go to the Campus Registrars myself when it comes to readmission and reclassification).

But can I unleash the Medieval catapults on the office now? How about a can of whupass?