The Most First World of First World Problems

So I realized that this is the most first world of first world problems, so if you don’t enjoy people whining about how they are being given money, but not in the way that they want to be given money, you should probably stop reading right now. I’ve been meaning to blog it for a while, but was recently reminded about it when I took my giant pile of papers to my accountant to file my taxes. Why did I have a giant pile of papers, you ask? Well, a big chunk of these papers were from my scholarship, and they were completely unnecessary. As you may recall, I have a scholarship that pays for the lion’s share of my tuition fees. The scholarship is sent from the funding agency to my university. I would like for the university to just keep the money for my tuition and then I can just pay the part of my tuition fee isn’t covered by said scholarship. Basically, what I want to happen is this:

What I Want To Happen

But apparently the department that receives the cheque from the funding agency cannot, does not, or will not talk to the department that takes money for tuition, so instead they think the best idea is to send me a cheque every month, along with a tax form for that instalment (as opposed to, you know, a single tax form at the end of the year). They will do this every month for two years, and then I have to take each of those monthly cheques to the bank to cash, and then I used that pay my tuition fees, which have been split into 7 installments over the two years. So what happens is this:

What Actually Happens

That’s 24 cheques, 24 tax forms, 24 envelopes, 24 postage stamps, and 24 trips to the bank – all completely unnecessary, because I’m just giving all the money (and then some) back to the university anyway. Now, I realize that Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable are separate departments and I’m very well acquainted with different departments having computer systems that don’t talk to each other, but really? Surely the people there could do transfers between the departments. And at the very least, I could get one tax form per year instead of 12.

This reminds me of the time in grad school that I had a departmental scholarship and then, partway through the year, I was informed that I had won a university-level scholarship worth $0.00. Upon further investigation, it turned out that they had more university-level scholarship money than originally anticipated, and I was next in line to get some, but they saw that I had a department scholarship, so they weren’t going to give me the university-level money, but wanted me to be aware that I had earned a higher level scholarship. Of course, my department wanted me to get the university money so that the money they had given me could go to someone else from our department, and the university’s reply was that I should give back the department scholarship and then they would give me the university-level scholarship. Midway through the year. Like as if I hadn’t already spent my scholarship money on tuition fees and rent! I’m not sure exactly what the university thinks people do with scholarship money, but I think it’s safe to say that most of us spend it on going to school and living expenses! In the end, my department secretary was able to convince the university to just transfer money to the department, since obviously I didn’t have that money any more, and it made no sense for me to give them money so that they could then send me a cheque for the amount I would have just given them. I haven’t had as much luck in getting the different departments to talk to each other with my current scholarship, so it looks like the monthly trips to the bank will continue through 2013 for me!

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