Thursday, August 05, 2010

We may be screwed.

Earlier this year, the United States passed student loan reform. I was very excited about this reform especially as it pertains to the changes in repayment options. Well, while this reform makes the whole loan process easier especially for international schools, it does require each school to sign a contract with the US Department of Education. Schools were notified about the changes in early April. Medical University of GdaƄsk chose to ignore the warnings and only when the subject was approached by returning students did they look into the problem and decide that the new terms are unacceptable to them. This leaves about 20 students from the first 4 years of study in a very difficult position of trying to arrange private funding or having to transfer to another institution. We have met with the Chancellor face to face and, unless the unlikely case that he was unaware of the April notices, blatantly lied to our faces that the school learned about this situation only last week.

Many students, including myself, cannot afford to take out private education loans to pay for school and rely on the Stafford loan not only to pay for tuition but to provide for living expenses as well. Some students are trying to further negotiate with MUG to be able to stay at the university. While I am interested to see where these negotiations go, if anywhere, I also want to make sure that I have other options lined up. Transferring to a six year program that cooperates with the US loan system, such as Poznan, is one of my options. There maybe some curriculum differences between MUG and UMP and I am trying to figure out how those would be reconciled.

I am also taking the MCAT next week in London as I am one of the few students eligible to attend a 4 year medical program. Depending on my scores, I will be applying for US schools again and perhaps some 4 year programs in Poland as well. Though, that doesn't necessarily help Piotr and I figure out what to do for this year.

The saddest part of all this is that the school is potentially going to lose some of their best students. It's the Americans who are the majority of class leaders and group leaders. I have already been  named as the 2nd year class representative to the student council, but I may have to forfeit this position due to the current situation. The other terrible part is that we RELOCATED OUR ENTIRE LIVES HERE at great expense to attend this school and now it looks like we may have to move again.

In the meantime, I am trying not to focus on all of this as I have the MCAT exam a week from today and I need to get back to studying. I will try to post updates here as I get them.