Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. I have another set of words that really apply, but think that Blogger would so have a problem with them. Have you ever filled one of these bad boys out? There are 100 + questions on there. Most of them deal with if my child is homeless, abandoned, is she in the service, in foster care, emancipated, etc. They asked how much we made and how much we put in our 401(k) accounts, how much our net worth was not counting our primary home. Well, let's see. We have a savings account that hmmm, will pay our property taxes in May. We have several cars that are all paid for, but didn't ask about that. Asked if we have stocks. Yes, but the hubs got them when he took a pay cut many years ago with Northwest and then got screwed over and eventually lost his job. The stock price I think is $5.29 per share and we have about 120 shares. The amount changes daily. Does it ask how much our house payment is? How much our insurance and taxes are? How much our health insurance costs? How much we spend on gas and groceries. How much it costs to clothe our kids, keep lights burning and heat the house? Does it ask if we are still trying to recover from losing our jobs and completely using up our life savings to live until we found jobs? No. How much we made, how much we saved and how much in stocks and investments. And then, after printing off all of the forms, passwords, etcetera, it has the gall to tell me that our "Expected Family Contribution" is $20659 freaking dollars!! Is the government smoking crack? That is 2/3 of what I make a year!! Honestly, the only way she would get help is if, and I'm quoting a friend who recently went through this for herself, is if we lived in cardboard box down by the river!

We have always told the girls that of course we want them to go to college of some kind because even though we ended up with decent jobs with not a lot of formal training, that won't cut it for them in today's world and economy. We also said that it was up to them to pay for it as it will be for their benefit. We can't possibly afford $30,000 for Hermit Crab's annual tuition. She knew this going in and this is the college that will make all her dreams come true. We couldn't even afford to pay if she went to the U of M. All we read and hear on the news is that our students can't compete with children of other nations. Our test scores are lower, our standards lower. What are they doing different? Probably the better funding of education than we have here. We want to be the smartest, most trained people in the world but education always takes a hit in budget cuts. We can't keep teachers in our small district because we can't afford to pay them enough to live on. I'm ranting I know. But I don't know what we are going to do as it is much harder to even get student loans. We can't put another mortgage on the house. I told Ally today that she needs to start selling organs and platelets to help out. She is deathly afraid of needles and said no, so in some small comforting way I know she won't be tattooing herself up in Wisconsin while studying pollution, energy and biology. In a perfect world, I could get her a world class education for the $1.98 in my wallet.

Then Drama Queen comes in after I have a meltdown reading the FAFSA and tells me she has to be at school tonight for a concert. WTF? How could you have possibly forgotten you had a concert? Haven't you been practicing A LOT in choir for this? I hadn't slept all day so I run in and lay down for 2 hours so I can drive a car without falling asleep or running over small trees that jump out in front of me!

Here she is at the concert with two of her good friends:
Booger is in the middle with the braces. Yes, Booger is what we call her at home and no it has nothing to do with the amount of snot she possesses. Just what we called her from birth.
To drown my sorrows, I came home and turned on the TV and found the Bachelor. Really? The past has shown us this hasn't worked but for one couple. And then there was the added drama after the proposal with the 'to respect the paries involved in this never before turn of events'. I'm thinking to myself "he picked the wrong one" and I haven't seen an episode since the Navy surgeon one. It seemed a bit rehearsed. Maybe I'm so jaded I can't be unbiased?
The food that was planned for tonight was put on hold due to FAFSA and the impromptu concert, so the dishes will show up tomorrow and later.
A big thank you for all the suggestions on what dessert to make for our weekend dinner with our friends. If I had time, I would do what Cathy over at Noble Pig suggested and make a sampler platter of all the ideas you gave me! I think I will definitely make them all at some time as I have to make desserts for the upcoming grad party. Maybe if I charge a cover charge to get in, we could cover her books for the first semester..............hmmm......


Donna-FFW said...

UGH, I so feel your pain at the thought of college tuition, bills in general kill me.Your daughter is a cutie, she looks so happy. You must be a fabulous mom! Sometimes I think of George Clooney on a beach with me and my spirits brighten, try it:) hahaha

Katherine Aucoin said...

Have her go to the Burser's office immediately. There are so many scholarships that don't get used. Awards are not based on income. Let her see what she qualifies for. With these economic times, I bet more schloarships are being looked at so the early bird will ge the worm! Good luck!

Heather said...

believe me, as someone that is paying off loans (and will be until my late 30s) I know how hard this is. I would encourage your daughter to think LONG AND HARD about whether or not the expensive school really will meet her dreams. State schools are MUCH more affordable. $30k a year now will turn into $40k or $45k with interest rates and loans, and that dream college won't be so dreamy when she can't save up money for a new car, a house downpayment or anything else. i spent 1 year at an expensive law school before switching to the state school. even that decision has caused me to forego almost an entire paycheck towards student loans. So remind your daughter, if she does an expensive college, she should look at starting salaries for jobs as 1/2 of what they really are, because 30-40% of her pay will be used paying back loans. and if she wants grad school it will only get worse. state schools are wonderful educations at a much lower cost. what seems like a dream school at 18 can be a nightmare down the road.

anyway, i'm off my soapbox now.

tamilyn said...

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts. I was just totally flustered last night. I would say heck yes to public school but we found that with scholarships at the private school were much more than she could get at the two state colleges she looked at, so with what she has now in scholarships, it will be less than the U of M. We also found that the programs she wants to be in were only offered at a couple of schools. The ones at the state U's were not quite there yet. She is a tree hugger and wants to make the world a better place. And the school she picked is very small and very forward thinking with incredible opportunities...so it is a trade off eh? Why don't kids come with manuals?

Bob said...

Ugh, I feel for you. But it makes me glad I don't have kids! :)

Spryte said...

Ugh!! I don't even want to think about it!! I have required Jon to work at the university until all of our kids are through college! (free tuition!)

Then he can drive an ice cream truck if he wants!

noble pig said...

My honest opinion. The expensive school....will not meet all your daughter's dreams. It will not.

All her success in life will depend on what is inside her and how hard she is willing to work...not wether she goes to a private university.

My husband and I both went to state colleges right after high school and paid our own tutition. No scholarships, no student aid.

My husband went on to graduate at the top of his medical school and from his residency program. He was also resident of the year. I landed my dream job in journalism right after college and then went on to get another bachelor's degree from another expensive college (but I could then afford it) in winemaking.

As I now get ready to plant my vineyard...all my dreams have come true....and we went to state schools.

Limiting your dreams by thinking it's the school is off base but I know very hard for an 18 year old to understand.

I want the best and the prestige for my kids too but know full well hob-nobbing with the wealthy in those schools or the lucky enough ones to get scholarships will get them no where.

If she applies herself anywhere, she can have the education of her life and all the dreams she wants can be realized. It will come from within.

Sorry about all the long commentary, I just feel strongly about it:).

tamilyn said...

Not a problem at all. I'm just glad she wants to go. I had no ambition at all. I went to business school for a year after I started working and that hasn't helped me in my career either. Of course, packing cereal isn't a 'career' per se, but it pays the bills and works for us. Maybe I shouldn't say it will make her dreams come true-it is a dream for her because it has the things she dreams of. Sustainable living through gardens for the lunchroom, recycling, solar powered dorms, composting dorms, clothes lines for laundry. That is her dream-to leave less of a footprint and this place is where she saw that they live it everyday. I'm stil for public education, I truly am. For her it wasn't "oh, I'm going to a private school', it was "I found a school that believes what I believe" and happened to be private. We're just hoping the youngest MAKES it through high school! Oy.....

HoneyB said...

Tamilyn, I totally FEEL for you -been there, done that and glad it is over with. AND I work at one of those "private" institutions. Some of the kids get here and really do work hard, others - well, its a way for them to get away from home basically, then they end up having to go back home with nothing to show for it.

I'm glad you child wants to go - that right there is half the battle! The other half is finding the funding. Looks like your getting some assistance there also. GOOD LUCK!

HoneyB said...

P.S. And although I work at a private institution - I totally agree with what Cathy said!