This morning I woke up to a Montana phone call, which I answered because I recently ordered some transcripts from my old university in order to apply for a SSHRC grant for my upcoming Master’s research and wanted to make sure those were going through.

The bureaucrat from student loans on the phone had nothing but bad news for me.

“Since you didn’t complete exit counselling on your Perkins Loan, we’re holding your transcripts and you won’t receive them.”

“But I thought I completed exit counselling already! I did that before I emigrated!”

“That was for your federal loans, not your Perkins Loan, you need to do different exit counselling for that. And you need to give us four contacts, can’t be students, absolutely no students.”

“But I’m going to be in school for another six to eight years, why do I need to do this now?

“You just do. And you’re not getting your transcript until you complete this.”


I’ve done exit counselling before. It’s obnoxious, and takes about an hour to complete.

I’ve never had to do this for a Canadian¬†institution, nor have I ever had to deal with this kind of snippy rudeness from a Canadian official.

In comparison to Canada, I’ve had to deal with a much greater Kafkaesque bureaucracy, more forms, more unnecessary paperwork, and more headaches with my American institutions. From start to finish, it almost feels like it was designed to be as difficult and mind-numbing as possible.

I think that it has to do with the fact that in Canada, I deal with exactly two institutions: The University of Victoria themselves, and the BC Government. In America, I deal with a boatload of different private agencies, the federal government, the university, the third party collections agency that my school sells my student loan debt to without telling me, and others. That means I never do anything once. If I do it for one institution, I’ll have to repeat it again at least twice.

Another alternative theory is that I’m being punished for finding a loophole (moving to Canada and taking advantage of the cheaper, more centralized education) but my former classmates at UM tell me I’m not alone in dealing with this rudeness and paperwork, so that theory is out.