Financial woes grow with time

By the time you get to your fourth year at FAMU, many things seem to be expected. But you come back after every summer away thinking the same thing.Maybe this is that 4.0 semester.Maybe my roommate will pay his or her bills this time.Maybe my net check will come on time.It never fails that the latter will be an issue yet again.This semester, you Rattlers will see how helpful the financial aid office will be as a certain student (I wonder who that is) endures the hardships of working extra hours at his part-time gig in the beginning of the semester to make up for the delinquent net check and make sure he has a roof over his head.Many of the seniors, or fourth-year students as some of us are known, may remember the freshman year obstacles I faced on these same pages. This year, I’ll be dealing with being a broke senior. Mom has decided I’m old enough to take all budgetary matters into my own hands, so financial aid will serve as the way to pay the bills.In the coming weeks, stories about standing in the lines in 101 Foote-Hilyer and good tips on bargaining with the bill collectors will run rampant.So far this year, the only problem I’ve had is paying the rent on time. A good thing to do when you may be late on the rent is to get to know the staff at your apartment complex. Kill them with kindness. When it comes time to ask for that needed time to wait for FAMU to loosen its grip on your money, they may gladly accept the excuse as a reason for the delinquent payment – and waive some late fees as well. That $100 in late fees would have really hurt me when it came time to head out to the Atlanta Classic in a few weeks.Ah well. Back to scheming until Mr. Net Check finally comes in the mail. Day 1: I call the FAFSA office. Many of you mistakenly call this FASFA, just to put us all on the same page. They tell me that none of my information is in their system. Can’t blame that one on FAMU, just the slow postal carriers.

Marlon A. Walker, 21, is a senior newspaper journalism student from Detroit. He can be reached at