Thursday, November 5, 2009

GoodBye Fordham

Courtney's dream......gone.

I wrote a letter to Fordham's President explaining our uniqe situation. He in turn forwarded my letter to the Dean of Admissions. I called today and spoke with him and he matter of factly, and without any kind of understanding, stated that if Courtney is accepted again this year, we should not expect ANYWHERE near the amount of the financial aid offer she was awarded as an incoming freshman. He told me that my expections for transfer aid were not within reach and he said it rather coldly, completely contradicting the value of the religious basis of the university.
Courtney had applied to Fordham last year and was accepted (she got the acceptance letter when Mike was in the hospital and we were all thrilled). At the time, we thought that was the only hurdle to clear. Wrong.......Truth be told, Alzheimer's Disease has nearly bankrupted us. On SO MANY LEVELS, we are struggling. It is because of the catostrophic situation with Mike and his illness that my credit is shot. I was not approved for a Parent Loan and my credit made me inelligible to co-sign a student loan for Courtney.
Not only has Courtney watched her dad disintegrate right before her eyes, not only has she witnessed and endured more than most people would in their entire adult life , but now her dream of attending Fordham has been squashed.
Right now my even bigger worry is whether Courtney (and eventually Brandon) will be able to continue her college education.
Mike's uncle offered a personal loan to Courtney for this year, but the next 3 years are up for grabs. Without a student loan, we cannot afford college and we cannot get a student loan because she doesn't have a qualifed co-signor. With everything I have done for Mike and the kids, this situation still makes me feel like I'm a failure as a parent.
I write this through tears because it's just one more worry, one more hardship and one more piece of our lives that has been destroyed by Alzheimer's Disease. I've ALWAYS told my children to never give up hope, but right now I'm having a difficult time listening to my own advise.

I had off today to assist the substitute aide for Mike since she does not know his schedule. I planned on using the time that Mike naps to get some paperwork and calls done, but after that depressing call to Fordham and the uncertainty of Courtney's college education, I couldn't concentrate. I accomplished nothing.

I know if I was a single mom, widowed mom or if Mike didn't live with us, Courtney would get more aid. Once again, it seems like we are being "punished" for doing the right thing. Because we love Mike and keep him well and keep him at home, my children's futures are in danger.

Please continue to pray for us.


Diane said...

Karen my youngest is in his first year at Joseph's College in Patchouge. He get's to take out a $5,500 Stafford student loan. If you don't qualify for a parent loan, your daughter automatically gets an additional $4000 to that Stafford loan. Anyone in financial aid should have told you that. Also, your daughter can still apply for scholarships. Maybe Alzheimer's Assoc. has some? I'm sure you've gone down these avenues, but it's just a suggestion. I will continue to pray for you. I always believe that when God closes a door, he opens a window.

Karen H said...

Thank you. Yes, Courtney DID get the additional funds. She was approved for Work Study also, but there were no jobs avail. for her (that's a whole other story). I'm feeling a little better now, it's been a few hours since the call. It still hurts and scares me when I think of the "what if's". I HATE to say this, but it's SO unfair!

seth said...

Ms Henley,

I am sorry that you are going thru another rough patch.

I dont understand-your daughter isnt happy at hofstra;I cant believe that fordham could be so cold and un understanding.

I dont know her major,but I think-and I say this humbly- it may be time for you all to look at a SUNY college. She'll get a very good education at a fraction of the cost of fordham,hofstra,etc.

Another thing- DONT let her keep taking out student loans. These become a trap-they have to be repaid no matter what. There are horror stories of one college graduate after another who cannot find any gainful employment and then loans still have to be repaid-even after deferment.

I have very strong feelings about work-study.To me, its basically legalized slave labor for colleges. why should students be paid minimum wage,be limited to 20 hrs per week and then when the assignment "ends" they are automatically ineligible for unemployment.

If youd like you can send me an email at my gmail address. this isnt the place for an extended discussion.

stay warm and stay strong.


trish said...


I'm so sorry for all that you are going through. I have to agree with Seth -avoid the student loans as much as possible. I know that you probably feel guilty for not being able to give your children the best education due to Mike's illness. In Georgia we have a program which pays for tuition if a B average is maintained through college which is why our kids will graduate debt free.

I see so many of my daughters friends who have gotten jobs, got laid off and are stuck with debt and student loans. Our daughter (with a college degree) finally got a full time job after 6 months without benifits and she does not make enough to live on her own. If she had loans it would have be a tremendous hardship.

Can Courney consider a good community college for two years and then transfer? I made my children work full time during the summer to pay for spending throught the school year to help me out.

I know it's difficult - my prayer are with you.


Lynn said...

You should send a little letter/email to Fordham directing them to this site. It's a shame how ruthless some people can be. I'm sure he could have delivered the news to you in a more compassionate way or even tried to redirect or help you get started in the right direction. I hope things start looking up for all of you. Hope you received my card.

Karen H said...

Your comments are exactly what I think has bothered me more than anything. What would it have taken for this man to say, "Mrs. Henley, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's illness and my thoughts go out to you and your family, but unfortunately, there's nothing we can do to help you". The complete lack of compassion, in spite of all our hardships was rude and uncalled for.

Liz said...

Unfortunately many people don't know how to deal with "an elephant in the room." Instead of mentioning the elephant they dance around it and think no one will notice, rather than address the elephant and go on from there. In other words people often ignore issues that make them uncomfortable as they don't know what to say or how to address the issue. This does not make it right or any less hurtful but please think of it as being less intentional...I just think he probably did not know what to say so he pretended the issue did not exist.

karen said...

I am so sorry and I will pray for you guys. My son is going to college totally on fedaral aid. I had to stop working to care for mom so we are very broke. He got some scholarships to other universities but wanted to go to the UofA . If not for Federal Aid I don't know how he would go. Alz's has used up all moms savings and I have used up all mine on mom. I think the fact that we are so poor now is the only way my son can get aid. But we are not poor enough to get aid to help care for mom. It is so stupid. According to The Department of Human Services we have to many resources to get food stamps or a check each month to care for mom. But we are poor enough for my son to go to college. There is One small light at the end of this long dark tunnel. I am praying for you And check into Federal aid.

Karen H said...

What hurts me the most is that on FastWeb (a site to research the many types of aid and scholarships avail. to students), so many illnesses have scholarships for children of family members suffering from that disease. God bless each and every child of a sick person, but because Alzheimer's is not acknowledged for affecting the young, there are absolutely NO funding for our children. It's just another slap in the face for those of us dealing with EOAD.
Thank you all for your input.