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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

My Primary Objective Is To Pay Less For School

Back in the day, when I used to work for ESPN, I complained a little about the meager salary they paid me. I suppose they were justified in paying me that little, though. The market certainly bears it - if I didn't have that job, someone else would have gladly taken it for the same salary. As a matter of fact, someone else did, after I left ESPN. Even though I like to think that I was really good at what I did there, the fact of the matter is that ESPN, by virtue of being ESPN, attracts the kind of people who would be good at sports research and would accept a smaller salary to do it.

So even though I complained about the amounts on my Mickey Mouse-adorned paychecks, I was still getting paid. Not so anymore. Now I have to pay UCLA for the privilege of attending law school. UCLA, since it is a state school, offers a tuition for non-California residents that is about $11,000 more than the in-state tuition. Fortunately for me, my mom lives in California, so I get an exemption from the out-of-state tuition.

Before I started my first semester, I applied for the exemption, got it, and paid the in-state rate. I figured that since the exemption was good for a year, I'd get the cheaper tuition again my second semester. Of course, that makes far too much sense, so that didn't happen, at least not yet.

When I checked how much I owed in tuition for the spring semester, my account showed the non-resident tuition. Thinking this might be fixed, I did nothing for a little while, until yesterday I was informed that not only was it not going to fix itself on its own, I also was being hit with a $50 late fee, and if the tuition wasn't paid by Friday, I would be dropped from my classes.

To solve this problem, I went over to Murphy Hall, where UCLA runs its student accounting and other administrative services. I went up to the window where you can ask questions about your account. They told me to go to another window. At the second window, I was told to go to a third window. Finally, at the third window, I was informed that the exemption must be reapplied for each semester. At this point I started seething, because the exemption is good for a year, so this really seems asinine (at least I'm not an undergrad - they go by the quarter system and have to reapply four times a year). So I took the exemption petition form, drove myself in L.A. rush hour traffic to Pasadena, where my mom lives, got her to fill it out, and I'll hand it in today. Even still, it's not that easy - the form says it could take five days to approve. By then, I'll have to pay the non-resident tuition anyway to avoid being dropped from my classes and having to enroll again.

I plan to put on a happy face this morning, march into Murphy Hall, and plead with the people holding the giant spools of red tape to process my petition ASAP. And if that doesn't work? Well, I have two backup plans.

The Jack Bauer plan is to throw furniture, scream at people, shoot someone in the leg, and then threaten to shoot them in the other leg unless they give me the California resident tuition now.

The Milton Waddams plan - you know Milton, the stapler guy from Office Space - is to burn down Murphy Hall.

Both will probably get me kicked out of school and arrested, so let's hope it doesn't come to that.


  • At Monday, January 31, 2005 6:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    School must've heard about your Jack Bauer plans.... (or was it your happy face that convinced them to approve you for in-state tuition on the spot)? (MOM)


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