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Getting schooled

An individual who spent 15 years with the provincial student loans organization responds to bitching about student loans officers.


Dear student who keeps sending vitriolic, grammatically flawed, typographically suspect and unsigned letters regarding his/her student loans (Letters, January 14): Evidently, your school is not requiring an acceptable level of writing skills of its students, or you are not making use of the education for which you are receiving said student loans.

As an individual who spent 30 years with the provincial civil service (15 of those as an administrator in the Student Assistance Office), I can speak to the complexities of the student loan programs and the processes required to access them. I spent an additional five years working for the federal student loan service provider, from which position I fired myself last year. And why did I do that?

Because, dear students, I found that after 20 years in the field, my tolerance for stupidity had waned to the point that it was becoming difficult to remain civil to you as I attempted to assist.

In my experience, students bring about a lot of their own problems:

• Students do not refer to the student loan websites, where limitless information regarding programs and process may be found.

• Students do not read the fine print on the loan documents themselves and for the most part, have no idea what they're signing.

• Students do not take the initiative to keep current on their student loans even after signing the loan document wherein they agree to take the necessary steps to keep their loans in good standing.

• Students have an attitude that civil servants are unfeeling, incompetent and uncaring. Try doing their job for a day.

It is not the responsibility of the Student Assistance Office to babysit students through what is usually their first foray into adult responsibility. You will be dealing with governments and financial institutions for the rest of your life, and none of it will be easy or without frustration. Get used to it. It won't take long for you to join the ranks of taxpayers who are concerned that 30 percent of borrowers default on their loans and thereby waste taxpayer dollars.

Grow up. Assume the responsibilities of an adult and act like one. Oh, and by the way, I and most of the Student Assistance staff, past and present, have post-secondary education and went through the student loan process to get it.—Afraid for the future of the world, Halifax

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