SMART Payback Email

General Discussion for SMART Scholarship Recipients

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Anon E Mouse » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:57 am

I can't help but but feel like this is yet another scare tactic to keep people in the program... There's just no reason to send the email to people who are in good standing. And for those of us who did leave and have moved multiple times and want to verify our address on file or the amount we owe it's impossible to do so because they can't be bothered to keep the website working.

And yet as much I'd love to treat this as some kind of silly power play, I am having more than a few sleepless nights worrying that they're gonna ask for everything back at once or do something else absurd. I am happy to pay under reasonable terms but it's been several years and their actions haven't been consistent to their words thus far and the unknowns have just piled up beyond reason. I want reasonable and complete information not threats...
Anon E Mouse
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Peanut » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:08 pm

Anon E Mouse wrote:I can't help but but feel like this is yet another scare tactic to keep people in the program... There's just no reason to send the email to people who are in good standing. And for those of us who did leave and have moved multiple times and want to verify our address on file or the amount we owe it's impossible to do so because they can't be bothered to keep the website working.

And yet as much I'd love to treat this as some kind of silly power play, I am having more than a few sleepless nights worrying that they're gonna ask for everything back at once or do something else absurd. I am happy to pay under reasonable terms but it's been several years and their actions haven't been consistent to their words thus far and the unknowns have just piled up beyond reason. I want reasonable and complete information not threats...


If you email the LMI point of contact asking for your information (even asking how much you owe/were given by SMART), they won't provide it. I keep getting an email back asking why I need this information and what I am going to use if for. So for those of us who didn't save a copy of our signed contracts and other information or lost it (such as I have with a failed hard drive), they won't provide us with anything for our own records.

Also, I find it odd that LMI can't comment on the collection process - the program has spoken on behalf of the DoD before. It seems as if the collection process, if there is one, is "component" dependent. If it is, would there be a difference between processes? (And how would that be fair to others in different branches?) If it isn't and it is going to be the same, why can't LMI send out the repayment process to everyone?
Peanut
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby dsafsfdsf » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:37 pm

Peanut wrote:
Anon E Mouse wrote:I can't help but but feel like this is yet another scare tactic to keep people in the program... There's just no reason to send the email to people who are in good standing. And for those of us who did leave and have moved multiple times and want to verify our address on file or the amount we owe it's impossible to do so because they can't be bothered to keep the website working.

And yet as much I'd love to treat this as some kind of silly power play, I am having more than a few sleepless nights worrying that they're gonna ask for everything back at once or do something else absurd. I am happy to pay under reasonable terms but it's been several years and their actions haven't been consistent to their words thus far and the unknowns have just piled up beyond reason. I want reasonable and complete information not threats...


If you email the LMI point of contact asking for your information (even asking how much you owe/were given by SMART), they won't provide it. I keep getting an email back asking why I need this information and what I am going to use if for. So for those of us who didn't save a copy of our signed contracts and other information or lost it (such as I have with a failed hard drive), they won't provide us with anything for our own records.

Also, I find it odd that LMI can't comment on the collection process - the program has spoken on behalf of the DoD before. It seems as if the collection process, if there is one, is "component" dependent. If it is, would there be a difference between processes? (And how would that be fair to others in different branches?) If it isn't and it is going to be the same, why can't LMI send out the repayment process to everyone?


Maybe the email was just a scare tactic. Otherwise; why send it to everyone? I'm starting to miss ASEE.
dsafsfdsf
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Sisyphus » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:37 am

dsafsfdsf wrote:Maybe the email was just a scare tactic. Otherwise; why send it to everyone? I'm starting to miss ASEE.


I definitely miss ASEE and I'm sure most of the other PhD students do too. For all their faults at least ASEE had experience with the PhD process from managing other fellowships and was (relatively speaking at least) understanding that sometimes shit went sideways and it was literally no fault of your own. That's how REAL research goes.

These LMI assholes seem to be under the impression, judging by both mine and other people's experiences posted here, that a PhD is a wholly deterministic process and if you aren't finishing on time as per long ago decided plans you're trying to screw them over and deserve to be threatened into submission (if not just thrown out).

Maybe it is the case that it's just a scare tactic and they can't give that information because they literally don't have it anymore; this program has changed hands/admin so many times I wouldn't be surprised if it's a typical DoD mess that would take a years long audit and all sorts of legal wrangling to sort out that would wind up costing them more to do than the harvest they'd get from us.

But then again that floating around as just one unconfirmed hopeful possibility isn't doing anything for my anxiety and sleep either.

I would say "if no one sees/hears anything in April" given the '30 day' warning in there then maybe we can breath a sigh or relief but as someone else mentioned they can't even keep the website working to accept updated addresses so no one might actually get it if they do send it!
Sisyphus
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:40 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby cs_guest » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:44 am

Strange wrote:
Andrew wrote:Yep, mass email to everyone. I received a reply from my administrator stating:

"This was a notification email that went to all scholars for their awareness."


Strange that I didn’t receive an email. Any other 2017 awardees receive it?



I'm a 2017 awardee but I did receive it. Concerns me because they have me as "Below a 2.0 GPA" even though my GPA is NOT a 2.0 (3.644). I have contacted my coordinator but he refuses to answer my questions.
cs_guest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby cs_guest » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:48 am

Peanut wrote:
Anon E Mouse wrote:I can't help but but feel like this is yet another scare tactic to keep people in the program... There's just no reason to send the email to people who are in good standing. And for those of us who did leave and have moved multiple times and want to verify our address on file or the amount we owe it's impossible to do so because they can't be bothered to keep the website working.

And yet as much I'd love to treat this as some kind of silly power play, I am having more than a few sleepless nights worrying that they're gonna ask for everything back at once or do something else absurd. I am happy to pay under reasonable terms but it's been several years and their actions haven't been consistent to their words thus far and the unknowns have just piled up beyond reason. I want reasonable and complete information not threats...


If you email the LMI point of contact asking for your information (even asking how much you owe/were given by SMART), they won't provide it. I keep getting an email back asking why I need this information and what I am going to use if for. So for those of us who didn't save a copy of our signed contracts and other information or lost it (such as I have with a failed hard drive), they won't provide us with anything for our own records.

Also, I find it odd that LMI can't comment on the collection process - the program has spoken on behalf of the DoD before. It seems as if the collection process, if there is one, is "component" dependent. If it is, would there be a difference between processes? (And how would that be fair to others in different branches?) If it isn't and it is going to be the same, why can't LMI send out the repayment process to everyone?




I am having this same issues. I sent an email asking for all of my documents and I was told that because the website does not work I cannot get any of my documents.
Luckily, I have everything that I have signed personally still.
I requested a printout of everything paid to date and I was told they would not give it to me.
cs_guest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Peanut » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:03 pm

cs_guest wrote:
I am having this same issues. I sent an email asking for all of my documents and I was told that because the website does not work I cannot get any of my documents.
Luckily, I have everything that I have signed personally still.
I requested a printout of everything paid to date and I was told they would not give it to me.


I am starting to think they may not have any of it (aside from emails and maybe addresses) which is why they have been resistant to giving us information. With the website issues it is an easy excuse for them. Although, I am not sure why we have to use the website to access our information. If it is a security/PII issue there are many ways we can identify ourselves...
Peanut
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby kbl2017 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:38 pm

cs_guest wrote:
I'm a 2017 awardee but I did receive it. Concerns me because they have me as "Below a 2.0 GPA" even though my GPA is NOT a 2.0 (3.644). I have contacted my coordinator but he refuses to answer my questions.


Can I ask, where are you seeing your below 2.0 status??
kbl2017
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 10:48 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby TheGuest » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:25 am

Did anyone else hear the NPR report from this morning, the TEACH grant — a different but somewhat similar program as SMART?

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/03 ... s-in-loans

What nonsense....
TheGuest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Cs_guest » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:05 pm

kbl2017 wrote:
cs_guest wrote:
I'm a 2017 awardee but I did receive it. Concerns me because they have me as "Below a 2.0 GPA" even though my GPA is NOT a 2.0 (3.644). I have contacted my coordinator but he refuses to answer my questions.


Can I ask, where are you seeing your below 2.0 status??


It was on my profile somewhere.
I don’t remember where honestly. I was looking for all of my documents so I looked a lot of places.
It was where the all money paid to you document SHOULD be if that helps?
Cs_guest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby kbl2017 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:43 pm

Cs_guest wrote:
kbl2017 wrote:
cs_guest wrote:
I'm a 2017 awardee but I did receive it. Concerns me because they have me as "Below a 2.0 GPA" even though my GPA is NOT a 2.0 (3.644). I have contacted my coordinator but he refuses to answer my questions.


Can I ask, where are you seeing your below 2.0 status??


It was on my profile somewhere.
I don’t remember where honestly. I was looking for all of my documents so I looked a lot of places.
It was where the all money paid to you document SHOULD be if that helps?


That's so strange! I got specific emails from them cause I might have possibly gotten a 2.85 last semester (oops. 3.0 is the grad school requirement). But I don't see it on my profile. That's how I know that the email for sure isn't only sent to those paying back money cause I'm still good unless I fail out this semester.
kbl2017
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 10:48 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Guest362836282 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:08 am

TheGuest wrote:Did anyone else hear the NPR report from this morning, the TEACH grant — a different but somewhat similar program as SMART?

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/03 ... s-in-loans

What nonsense....


I saw this too! It is EXACTLY like our situation except they are dealing in thousands and we are dealing in hundreds of thousands, and they were given some kind of appeals process (even if an ineffective one) along with information on the repayment.

I wrote many many emails to my Congresspeople about this and one of them actually responded. I am hoping to talk to someone from his office on the phone on Monday. I’m going to set up an email and post it here because I would like to collect some stories from other people who got kicked out for stuff we couldn’t control like me. Or if people are comfortable they can post here without identifying information.
Guest362836282
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Sisyphus » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:36 pm

Hopefully that goes well. I haven't heard anything yet (though I only sent a few feelers out as this seems like one of those things where "until they formally start the process we're just SOL" sort of deals and it appears no one has actually gotten their "component" notification as per the email...).

I've posted my story in another thread so just look up my username and that'll give you another one to have for demonstration purposes if needed for your phone call.
Sisyphus
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:40 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby superguest » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:23 pm

TheGuest wrote:Did anyone else hear the NPR report from this morning, the TEACH grant — a different but somewhat similar program as SMART?

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/03 ... s-in-loans

What nonsense....


good catch. seems like another path forward for SMART recipients could be to get the government accountability office (GAO) involved like what was done with the TEACH grant.
superguest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby guest31415 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:28 am

I actually got a response from my senator's office! They are going to do some more research into the program and how it is being run, starting with talking to representatives from the DoD. This seems fair, and I am hopeful the responses they receive will illuminate how poorly the people with exceptions are being managed.

I think we all agree that people who simply opted to leave voluntarily should reasonably be expected to pay back their debts. However, there are clearly many of us who did not leave voluntarily, who instead were expelled for having unusual circumstances, and are extremely stressed about the massive debts that have been put upon us as a result of our participation in this program.

I would like to pre-emptively collect stories from other students so that if they do follow up I am armed with more examples of misuse of our contracts. I related my story in detail today over the phone and tried as best as possible to describe the situations of one or two other people that I have read, but it carries less credibility when I am relaying a story secondhand and cannot provide the written information. If you would like to write down your story of SMART and why you now have this debt despite your best efforts, I have set up an email: smart_rejects@hotmail.com (YEAH. A HOTMAIL ACCOUNT. Deal with that.)

If you write in, please keep in mind:
- These are potentially being forwarded to a Congressional representative's office. Be polite and professional.
- We are asking them to help us. Accusatory or vicious language will be counter-productive.
- Keep it as BRIEF as possible to increase the chance it will actually get read.
- State only things that you KNOW, not things that you SPECULATE (eg: LMI is refusing to provide payback information because they do not have it- we don't know that)
- Try to indicate the items for which you have documentation or a paper trail as proof. This often gets results.
- Include information on how you tried to mediate the situation and fulfill your commitment.
- Anonymous stories are probably still helpful, but the cases will carry more weight if there is contact information included so they can verify them if they want.

Please email in the story as a PDF attachment to the email. If this avenue does not work, my next plan is to contact the GAO. Please indicate in your email if you are OK with your story being included in the conversation with the GAO as well, or if you would prefer not.
guest31415
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby kbl2017 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:29 am

guest31415 wrote:I actually got a response from my senator's office! They are going to do some more research into the program and how it is being run, starting with talking to representatives from the DoD. This seems fair, and I am hopeful the responses they receive will illuminate how poorly the people with exceptions are being managed.

I think we all agree that people who simply opted to leave voluntarily should reasonably be expected to pay back their debts. However, there are clearly many of us who did not leave voluntarily, who instead were expelled for having unusual circumstances, and are extremely stressed about the massive debts that have been put upon us as a result of our participation in this program.

I would like to pre-emptively collect stories from other students so that if they do follow up I am armed with more examples of misuse of our contracts. I related my story in detail today over the phone and tried as best as possible to describe the situations of one or two other people that I have read, but it carries less credibility when I am relaying a story secondhand and cannot provide the written information. If you would like to write down your story of SMART and why you now have this debt despite your best efforts, I have set up an email: smart_rejects@hotmail.com (YEAH. A HOTMAIL ACCOUNT. Deal with that.)

If you write in, please keep in mind:
- These are potentially being forwarded to a Congressional representative's office. Be polite and professional.
- We are asking them to help us. Accusatory or vicious language will be counter-productive.
- Keep it as BRIEF as possible to increase the chance it will actually get read.
- State only things that you KNOW, not things that you SPECULATE (eg: LMI is refusing to provide payback information because they do not have it- we don't know that)
- Try to indicate the items for which you have documentation or a paper trail as proof. This often gets results.
- Include information on how you tried to mediate the situation and fulfill your commitment.
- Anonymous stories are probably still helpful, but the cases will carry more weight if there is contact information included so they can verify them if they want.

Please email in the story as a PDF attachment to the email. If this avenue does not work, my next plan is to contact the GAO. Please indicate in your email if you are OK with your story being included in the conversation with the GAO as well, or if you would prefer not.


Not one of the peeps in this situation, but depending on how far this has to go (especially if they don't budge on the matter) - no matter how you left it may be worth noting that you could be willing to pay back your tuition portion of the scholarship in a reasonable student loans fashion (since if you applied to this you'd be hard pressed to make an argument where you only went to school cause of this scholarship) but that you should not be required to pay back your "salary" (stipend) as you were being paid to be a student - people who incorrectly do their jobs and are fired still don't have to pay back their salaries.
kbl2017
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 10:48 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Guest » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:29 am

kbl2017 wrote:Not one of the peeps in this situation, but depending on how far this has to go (especially if they don't budge on the matter) - no matter how you left it may be worth noting that you could be willing to pay back your tuition portion of the scholarship in a reasonable student loans fashion (since if you applied to this you'd be hard pressed to make an argument where you only went to school cause of this scholarship) but that you should not be required to pay back your "salary" (stipend) as you were being paid to be a student - people who incorrectly do their jobs and are fired still don't have to pay back their salaries.


I'd think you would have to go to court (or convince them to settle) to make the argument that the stipend is a salary and not a stipend. You also better have been paying full income tax and FICA on it.
Guest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby TheTaxManCometh » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:41 am

Guest wrote:I'd think you would have to go to court (or convince them to settle) to make the argument that the stipend is a salary and not a stipend. You also better have been paying full income tax and FICA on it.


Exactly. All of the paper work is pretty clear no part of the money they give us is a salary or in exchange for services rendered, and the majority of people on the forum can't claim that they thought it was a salary because when it came time to pay taxes, everybody was so desperate to find ways around paying the additional fees a self-employment salary would cost.
TheTaxManCometh
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Guest » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:45 pm

It has been almost 30 days from the email. Has anyone with a debt actually heard anything?
Guest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Sisyphus » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:23 pm

Given how many views this thread has with nothing posted about it that doesn't seem likely...

Something that occurred to me the other day though; that "30 days" could be the point when THEY start their own internal machinery going NOT when we actually would be hearing things. Would kind of make sense that they start that process up AFTER all the awards have gone out and that process winds down...
Sisyphus
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:40 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:26 pm

Received the letter from DFAS today with the amount due and how to pay. They have the option to pay in installments, but interest is accrued on the remaining amount starting after 30 days.
Guest
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby IsItFair » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:12 am

Guest wrote:Received the letter from DFAS today with the amount due and how to pay. They have the option to pay in installments, but interest is accrued on the remaining amount starting after 30 days.

Is it a fair amount?
IsItFair
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Sisyphus » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:09 am

IsItFair wrote:Is it a fair amount?


For a good chunk of people I doubt anything would register as "fair" in the grand scheme of things...

Given that SMART's address keeping has been known to be terrible would someone who does get one of these letters mind posting a screenshot of it (personal information blocked of course)? That way those who don't get it but know they're on the chopping block can have a better idea of the terms/process and see the contact info on there to inquire directly if nothing shows up this week...

Wonder if this is going to claim any lives once they've all gone out...
Sisyphus
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:40 pm

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby Guest1010 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:55 am

Guest wrote:Received the letter from DFAS today with the amount due and how to pay. They have the option to pay in installments, but interest is accrued on the remaining amount starting after 30 days.

Can you give more details about your situation please?
Are you rentention or recruitment? Which year did you start/end? What did this letter claim you owed, did they provide supporting documents?
Guest1010
 

Re: SMART Payback Email

Postby PabloEscobar » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:18 pm

Guest wrote:Received the letter from DFAS today with the amount due and how to pay. They have the option to pay in installments, but interest is accrued on the remaining amount starting after 30 days.

You should fight this. At the very least you should not have to repay money that you didn't receive or rightfully earned (e.g. taxes that you paid on your stipend, money earned during internship). Furthermore this should be considered an education debt by DFAS, which should give you 10 years to repay! Please don't just write them a check, for your own sake, and the rest of us.
PabloEscobar
 

PreviousNext

Return to Recipients

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

Welcome. The Unofficial SMART Scholarship Forum is fully supported through this banner add. In the past, I have relied on this income to pay for all hosting and domain charges, but it has only covered half of my expenses in recent years. If this is the first time you are seeing a banner here, it is because an adblocker has prevented it from appearing (I don't blame you). If you have found this forum valuable, I would appreciate it if you consider supporting its upkeep.

Thank you for being a part of this community.

-Chris