University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Ipsa Dixit
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Postby Ipsa Dixit » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:18 am

I got an HP laptop in 2001 that had major hardware problems until 2005 when the guy at the computer repair place said it probably just wasn't worth fixing anymore. I have a Dell desktop that I got to replace it (I swore off laptops!) and I have been very happy with it, but because I realized I was probably going to need a latop again afterall, I did buy a ThinkPad notebook last month (seem to have a solid reputation for reliability and peformance) since I am going to need one for LS. I got the 4 year warranty though. This thing had better make it through LS!

I actually haven't had a printer for a couple of years. My old Epson will only print things in blue so I didn't even bother setting it up last time I moved. I expect I will need a printer in LS; going to the UPS store to print things is probably not going to cut it any more. Any suggestions?

Good luck at Davis, herzchen :) Law School Confidential has a lot of nice suggestions, but also take its advice with a grain of salt. You just have to pick and choose what information is going to be useful to you.

p.s. Matokah, thanks on the avatar. You can go here http://www.shipbrook.com/onnotice/ and put things "on notice" a la Stephen Colbert :D

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gypsy
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Postby gypsy » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:25 pm

Good luck at Davis, Herzchen! Sorry you won't be with us, though.

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

Matokah ~ To get extra $ for a computer you need to submit a loan petition (a link to the form is on the financial aid page) for a one-time computer allowance. The financial aid office said to submit it once school starts because they won't even look at it until then. Basically, if you want to get your new compuer before school starts, you have to fork out the $ and then reimburse yourself once you get the loan.

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:27 pm

gypsy: Thanks for the info! My family agreed to loan me the money, so at least footing the bill before school starts shouldn't be a problem.

herzchen: I *think* I'll be in Austin, too (is it sad that I don't know? I'm not even booking the flight, so I'm pretty much at the mercy of the parents right now ;)). I'll be there from 1-7 July; I know that much!

Argh. I'm trying to figure out loans, but it's confusing. I think this weekend will have to be spent reading through the financial aid package now that I found it.

Edited because gypsy posted about 3 seconds after I did and answered my question. :)

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:39 pm

Hey guys!

So I'm attempting to figure out just exactly how to apply for loans (I know it shouldn't be difficult, but I never really did this for undergrad, so I'm clueless). I'm a little confused whenever I hear people say that whatever isn't covered by the Federal stafford loans needs to be through a private loan. . .if that's the case, what exactly is Federal PLUS loans for grads? Are they not the private loans of which everyone speaks? Seems like it's more government loans, but my financial aid award from Pacific doesn't mention needing private loans. I'm going to call the financial aid office tomorrow and ask in the nicest way to have the entire process explained to me to make sure I'm doing this correctly. I think I'm making this more complicated than it should be.

Also, I doubt this'll work, but on top of the petition for a computer loan, I'm going to see if I can petition to have my moving expenses (mostly just the UHaul and hotel costs) be added to my loan budget just this once. They're going to cost me a fortune that I don't have, and I'm hoping I can get them to agree to this. Any thoughts? I'm assuming I'll be shot down, but we'll see :)

nosorio2007
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Postby nosorio2007 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:30 am

Maktokah: Grad Plus loans are federal loans with a fixed interest rate at 8.5%. From what i understand, those are preferred over private loans because most private loans have a variable interest rate, which could go up over the years From the lenders i've seen, the grad plus loans have a 3% origination fee. Grad plus and private loans are credit based, so they'll check your credit to see if you qualify. I do recommend calling the financial aid office. I called regarding questions about disbursement and they were very helpful. you don't have to accept the loans that are offered in the financial aid package. and from what they told me you can always request more of the aid they offered to you if you don't get it all in the beginning. hope this helped.

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:42 am

speaking of spending wads of money one does not have, i just booked a flight to a friend's wedding in PA for the weekend after fourth of july and man, i am feeling more than a little stressed out about it.
:shock: i was disappointed by the 'deals' and schedules i found, but i am not one to wait til the last minute in hopes of winning the jackpot in scenarios like that...
and even though i love my friend, i can't help but feel that it's just plain WRONG for me to spend hundreds of dollars on that 'frivolous' trip - even though it's obviously a milestone in her life - when i'm about to descend into so much debt. gah. and then part of me is concerned that maybe i'm thinking like a cold-hearted, selfish lawyer already. :-/
or i am just overthinking, period.
::sigh::

but back to one of the topics at hand: LOANS. i think i have a basic understanding of why private loans can be riskier and generally not as good of a deal as even the unsubsidized governmenty ones, but i definitely haven't wrapped my mind around each and every particular detail and difference between even all of the various gov't/school-backed kinds.
they'll be with me for a while though so i suppose i'd better.

...at least you mcgeorgians don't have to bother digging up 10 kinds of proof that you're in-state residents!!! =-P~

i've found housing for myself in davis, btw; at least something temporary / on a trial basis. : )

finally - and then i'll shut up and put myself to bed while trying to conjure happier thoughts - does anyone have thoughts on the likelihood of someone in law school who's not a qualifiable genius or part of an URM group finding scholarships for 2L/3L via sites like fastweb? is it simply way likelier to get either nothing or a fellowship, institutional scholarship or work-study gig // basically seize any other such opportunity that may or may not come a'knocking while we're toiling away this year??!

a few weeks ago, i noticed an essay contest scholarship that seemed easy and considered whipping something out before the deadline later this month, but i emailed the org. to clarify whether incoming professional/grad school students are eligible and got a response that made the whole thing seem like a scam. gag.

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:04 am

nosario: thanks for the info. I feel like a real idiot not entirely knowing how to deal with these loans, but with undergrad I just accepted online what they offered me and voila! They were disbursed. I'll call the financial aid office tomorrow and just ask them to walk me through the whole loan process and ask if they think it's possible to petition not only for extra computer money but also for moving expenses. It's either that or I beg family and friends to help me out with the costs.

herzchen: I know what you mean about spending extra money! My skating club membership expires at the end of this month and I *really* don't want to fork out $115 at this point in time, but if I want to skate on my club's ice, I have no choice. It's good for a year and can transfer with me to CA, but it still sucks. That, and my skates are starting to break down, and gee, I just don't seem to have an extra $1600 lying around to pay for new custom boots, blades and orthotics (and I'm guessing McGeorge isn't going to grant an extra loan request for that ;)).

I hear you, though, about expensive flights. My TX visit might not happen because the flights keep getting more and more expensive. Pretty lame. We'll keep our fingers crossed for both of us and see how it works out.

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Winchester Representative
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Postby Winchester Representative » Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:55 pm

I am headed to McGeorge in the fall and am starting to look for places to live. What areas are other people living in? On campus?

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herzchen
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just call me ms. verbosity

Postby herzchen » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:05 pm

re: loans: i'm needing to have a call placed on my own behalf to the financial aid office in question later this week. i can view the current offer online but it's confusing and i don't see where the grad plus loans factor in. not to mention that it's calculated based on a nonresident's fees and i just submitted my CA h.s. transcript & nonresident fee waiver app so i'm wondering when that will be processed/approved and the financial aid adjusted accordingly! not to mention that when they emailed me last month saying to check out my offer, they specifically said not to touch it yet (in terms of accepting it or not) and i haven't heard anything from them about it since... and i know things must be sorted by next month because aug. 1 is a big pre-registration payment deadline!

egad.

i read something yesterday that made mention of how common it is for people to have moral oppositions to taking on debt.
i find that interesting.
i definitely am the type to prefer NOT going into debt when possible and i'm generally anti-risks such as gambling, buying lotto tickets or investing money unwisely. when i owe someone $20, it feels like a burden and i am relieved once i've repaid it. BUT i am willing to take on financial aid for professional school... after all, what choice do i have? i suppose it helps knowing that i'm SO not alone in needing to borrow for school...

*~*~*

MATOKAH, you love ice skating and it's a fun, worthwhile hobby/activity for you that also may help keep you sane during law school so of course it definitely seems worth the club membership fee but YEAH, i get that there are other potential expenses on the horizon and all such unpredictable expenses make for a scary notion since we're going to be on such tight budgets as debtors...

not that it seemed at all certain that i'd be able to see you there anyway, but i thought your trip to TX was going to be paid for by the family you're to accompany. not so?!

amongst much anxiety and not able to reach my friend who's getting married, i went ahead and booked a flight last night for the wedding in PA; prices were going up everywhere i looked and was going to lose that held itinerary at midnight... i was RELIEVED this morning to find an email from the friend saying how that itinerary of mine sounds like a good one; that i can spend 2 of the 3 nights at her home and will just pay for the 1 in a hotel (even though we probably won't get much sleep that night as it's the night of her wedding and then we must leave for the airport at like 5 a.m.!).
btw, that also means that the times i'd overlap in the austin area with you are very restricted indeed and we might be better off waiting and meeting up in the sac area in august even if your central TX / hill country trip DOES happen. :)

[edited for continuity's sake]

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:23 pm

hey WINCHESTER,
welcome to our active yet humble lil thread!

i'm actually not going to mcgeorge (::ducks; hides:: :oops: ) but i made my seat deposits and was -gonna- go -- before circumstances & my plans changed... and i'll still be in the area, damnit. :D

ANYWAY, i for one was excited about the prospect of living on campus during 1L as a full-timer (without a car).
i don't know if you've visited the campus and seen any of the on-campus apartments; i did.

i was requesting a furnished studio or 1-bedroom. preferably in one of the newer buildings.
admittedly, i've heard some mixed opinions of on-campus housing in terms of the facilities; but the manager seems nice/helpful and even with the new 'must register visitors' policy, i've heard things are pretty chill. moreover, campus is lovely and safe and you have pretty much everything you need to study and live right there. and can go a short distance to reach grocery stores, midtown, the capitol, etc.

however, i'm sure you'll find many happy students living off campus. how familiar are you with sacramento? depending on your priorities (cost, nearness to campus, roommates, etc.), you should be able to find something relatively easily via craig's list or another online listing (or housing referral/board provided by mcgeorge?)...

i was in a tricky position because i wasn't going to be in the area at all this summer to check places out or meet potential roomies.

so, good luck to ya, whatever your circumstances are & whatever kind of housing it is that you seek!

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Winchester Representative
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Postby Winchester Representative » Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:42 pm

I am fairly familiar with Sacramento (I have family there) but I am not interested in living on campus. Although the campus is very beautiful, I basically lived on campus for four years during college.

I am thinking about living Downtown/Midtown or Oak Park; but I am still unsure.

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:07 pm

First, welcome to Winchester! I'll be living in Arden (near enough to both the school and the ice rink to make me happy), but I've submitted a roommate request through McGeorge since in no way do I need 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms all to myself. Maybe check with McGeorge if you want to find a roommate or get ideas where other students are living? I think most choose to live on campus or in mid-town.

herzchen: Family is paying, but the flight prices have been going up a ridiculous amount so things are tentative until we can find a reasonable price. Even if someone else is paying, they still have to worry about funds. We'll just have to see how it works out is all. :)

Yeah, boo to skating fees. They're due each year, right on the dot. At least I didn't contract for ice like I did last year. Just 1.5 hours of ice for 2 days a week cost me over $200/month. I don't have that right now! Instead I'm sneaking on open skate sessions and adult only sessions for $3.50 for 2 hours. Much better deal!

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:30 am

Hey,

For those of you who applied through THE, do you have to fille out the loan request twice (once for the Federal Stafford loans and once for the Graduate PLUS loans)? Just curious as it won't let me select both at once.

Well, at least I got this far before I got confused. ;)

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:59 am

uhhh, since i am unsure what 'THE' is, i'm thinking my own answer to that question is no... :?

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Ipsa Dixit
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Postby Ipsa Dixit » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:09 pm

Matokah, I had the exact same question when I went to fill out mine and had to contact THE about it :lol:

You do need to fill out an application for Stafford loans and a second one for Grad PLUS. They have two different MPNs.

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:24 pm

Thanks, Ipsa. I'm pretty annoying, I bet. I asked the question here and then immediately called THE. Very easy people to deal with!

So, I went to fill out the first form, and it won't work on my computer (at least not on Firefox). Going to try it on IE and if that doesn't work, I'll have to beg a parent to fill the thing out for me on their much more updated computers. At least the forms aren't too long!

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:41 am

k i really don't mean to be an annoying brat here, but what the F is "THE"??! please tell me, one of you! i'm prepared to beg. ;)

...i not only feel like it should be completely obvious to / known by me but ALSO, i reached the stage of receiving financial aid / loan offer paperwork from mcgeorge as well (uhh, yet it's in the States with my mom and i'm down here in the third friggin' world so i can't just go sift through it maniacally) -- only having told them i'm not coming last week -- and am going to be filing similar forms for UCD so again, i really think i oughtta know "THE answer" and implore you to divulge it!

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Matokah
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Postby Matokah » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:03 am

herzchen: THE stands for Total Higher Education. It's a lender just like Need Access and Wells Fargo (et al.). I *think* the website is at northstar.org. Seems like it has the best repayment deals of all the other lenders that I've checked out so far. They're based in St. Paul, MN so I might be partial ;)

Oh, my TX trip has been called off. Flights got ridiculously expensive in a crazy amount of time (and the airline wouldn't refund the unaccompanied minor fee for my charges, so that would've been a wasted sum of money). Guess I'll just have to see you in Sactown this August. :)

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:26 am

thanks for the tip, MATOKAH...

i was just taking a closer look at the loan offers and info i have from davis. i'm disappointed that i didn't get closer to the max of the perkins loan, but regardless, i'll have to take out a substantial amount that is grad plus or private. maybe i have a bit more time to decide than y'all on the latter, but in any case, i appreciate the info on THE!! 8) i'll have to check that out... oh wait, it doesn't look like THE is a recommended option for UCD law students (i'm looking at a school-specific preferred private lender list: --LinkRemoved--). maybe b/c the UC is public and/or troublesome?? well WHATEVER!

WF isn't on that list either but i am a wells fargo customer and so is my mom -- it's not as if we have been really important clients of theirs, sooo i've no idea as to how their loan deal / interest rate offer would compare to any other but maybe it's worth inquiring.

offhand, does anyone know which the WORST options generally are in terms of grad plus vs. various private/alternative lenders? maybe it's impossible to say.
anyway, i have research to do and i know it! ugh.

matokah, it's too bad that you don't get to traipse around central TX for a week after all, but i'm sure you'll have some fun & excitement this summer as it is! and as to meeting up in sac, i definitely wanna. bear in mind though that my school starts 2 weeks later than yours, so i likely won't yet be settled in davis when you are in orientation week. but soon after that, probably yeah.
not to say that that should be one of our big concerns, heh; though i do hear that the first few weeks aren't as tough b/c the law schools want to ease us into the hellishness & rigor that is 1L! :roll:

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Ipsa Dixit
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Postby Ipsa Dixit » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:31 am

herzchen, you don't have to use someone the "preferred lender" list so if you have had good relationship with Wells Fargo, I definitely think that would be worth looking into. EdFund has a handy list of lenders with profiles at --LinkRemoved--.

I don't know what he worst is. For the Federal Stafford and GradPLUS programs, lenders aren't really competing on the interest rate itself (I believe that rate is fixed by the government), but more on reductions you can earn in the interest rate and on customer service. You can research the rates and discounts online. One way to test how customer service will be is to call them on the phone and gauge how soon you can talk to an actual person and how curteous that person is.

Good luck, herzchen, our soon-to-be colleague across the causeway :)

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:21 pm

thanks, ipsa! i'll check out that site.

a few follow-up Qs for you (or anyone else) though:

--should a school stating the preferred status of a handful of lenders based *ostensibly* on how well they've historically treated the school's students raise a red flag?! i.e. should i wonder if they're lying (when they allege "The following is a list of established lenders who we have placed on our preferred lender list because their services are exemplary and are designed to benefit you...") cuz in fact it should be assumed that they only 'prefer' those particular guys due to some sketchy deal they have going on??
ugh.
or is it just more like the school can't possibly know what each student's experience with any lender will be, so they advise everyone to choose among the most popular ones?

i am clearly not sure how much of the school's claims i should second-guess in this area.... feel free to laugh at me (as you reply, preferably!). :P

--as far as my question about the 'worst' lenders goes: mustn't we students/debtors choose between grad PLUS and private lenders for that (non-stafford, non-perkins) portion of our loans and therefore we're encouraged to compare rates, discounts and customer service of private lenders we could snag on our own and compare them to the gov't grad PLUS deal;
or am i completely confused and in fact the rates are set for grad PLUS but regardless, i'm to choose a private lender (whether preferred by the school or not) based on intangible, personal factors such as courtesy of the call center answerers, my own 'special relationships' with banks, etc.??
...or is there a mystery answer (C)??


yikes & ickiness... i can't tell if i'm thinking about this too much or too little. :?
it must not help that my sleep schedule has been wack lately and i'm going semi-nuts due to the electricity meter in my apt. turning evil and beeping unhappily...

saleen
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Postby saleen » Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:48 pm

http://banking.senate.gov/_files/cuomo.pdf

Unfortunately I think we are at a time when we MUST second guess school's preferred lenders.

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Ipsa Dixit
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Postby Ipsa Dixit » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:58 pm

I agree with saleen. It's unforunate that the student loan scandal back east has basically made all schools suspect, even if they do have the interests of the individual students rather than institutional interests at heart. I noticed that McGeorge changed the page where they have a lender list because I know it used to indicate preferred lenders, but now it just says "This list is a guide not a recommendation. Feel free to choose any lender that participates in the Federal Student Loan Program. "

herzchen, I do think it is in your interest to compare loans. If you can find terms that work better for you on a private, non GradPLUS loan, then that is something you should consider pursuing. The rate is set on Grad PLUS by the government, but lenders can offer breaks in the rate based on your repayment history (e.g. 12 consecute on time payments may qualify you for a discount, or paying online may entitle you to a discount). So while the rate is fixed at 8.5%, it is still possible to earn a lower interest rate. If you occasionaly miss a payment, you I don't think you will be penalized by a having the rate increased over 8.5% (not totally sure about that though as the lender must have some recourse if you are habitually not paying).
Last edited by Ipsa Dixit on Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ipsa Dixit
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Postby Ipsa Dixit » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:04 pm

I noticed today that my loan application with THE has gone from "In Process" to "Approved" so it took 7 business days to get to loan approval.

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herzchen
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Postby herzchen » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:33 pm

thanks, guys/people!

i'm not normally one to habitually miss payment deadlines (re: ipsa's comment on lenders having recourse / raising interest rates), but then, i am possibly borrowing above my means this time for law school since (1) my expected- and at this point, essentially actual- contribution to my legal education is $0 and (2) i can't KNOW for sure that i'll pass the bar on my first try & have job offers & be working before i go into loan repayment.
maybe i'll be doing PI/PS work and using LRAP... lotsa question marks.

my mom agrees that i should compare private lenders and at least check w/wells fargo, though she admitted that even though she's been a WF customer for 35 years, they've never been the winner when she's compared rates for herself.

meanwhile, i'm dealing with this whole resident/nonresident tuition sitch w/davis. the one bureaucrat ('residency officer') in the uni registrar's office is being a bit difficult, to say the least, and has attitude toward me & my power of attorney -- even though she never replied to my perfectly cordial email from a month ago and even though i had to go find the nonresident tuition fee waiver app on my own online due to lack of timely materials/notices from the school. they claim these things can take weeks to process yet registration fees are due by 8/1 and they don't even bother to send out the initial residency questionnaire til at least mid-june...
that's one mess i wouldn't be in if i were going to mcgeorge, but oh well!! i will PREVAIL, damnit.

and if you're thinking at this point that i should be enlivening a TLS uc davis thread, you're wrong! :P




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