Thursday, March 2, 2017

Almost Showtime

We are in the midst of a big decision for my son in the coming days. His most recent acceptance at UW Madison completed the trifecta of ideal colleges for him, the other two being UW Milwaukee and the University of Minnesota. All are great universities and none would be a bad choice, in my opinion anyway. I have friends and family that have been to all three and all have nothing but good things to say about each.

I can't help but feel my son's angst about making this difficult decision. Like me, he is an "experience person" who doesn't want to miss out on something - wants the whole experience.

He's even said, "I feel like if I go to Madison, I'll never get to experience where you, and my uncles and Sarah went to school. At the same time, if I go there, well, I really like the feel of Madison too."

I get that. Knowing both places like I do, there's huge things at both that I'd hate to miss.

And then I think back to when I was looking at colleges. At the time, Mom was still single and college, while seemingly expensive at the time, was still affordable. Tuition was nothing like how out of hand they have become since. It is shameful the debt we are putting on our kids just to get an education, but I digress.

Anyway, I really only recall having two options for college, the University of Minnesota and St. Thomas. Because St. Thomas was considerably more expensive, I really only had one choice. Tom was at "the U" and economically and geographically, it just made sense.

Along with all of the other details of getting accepted and choosing goes the whole FAFSA and Scholarship process. When your college costs the same as a new car, every year for four years, well, you need all the help you can get. Again because my college years were quite affordable, scholarships weren't as necessary.
Speaking at a conference as a Senior at U of M

Despite that, my freshman year I qualified for a BEOG (Basic Educational Opportunity Grant) which essentially paid my whole first year. When my Mom married during my freshman year, it put us into another tax bracket and that was the end of the BEOG. The saving grace is that I had a good job at Montgomery Wards and was able to pay off college as I went. I came out with zero debt. I think I might have been the last guy to do that...ever.

In any case, for the one academic year that Ben and Sarah overlap, we're looking at trying to juggle the financial burden of "two in college" and frankly it is mighty daunting. I have faith we'll make it happen, but I'm still kind of banking on that long lost Aunt Millie that will leave us a large inheritance. Aunt Millie, inbox me if you're reading this. We need to talk.

Until then, Ben is applying for every scholarship that is out there. It's pretty much a numbers game. Flood the market and hope for the best. Either that or the U will have to "cover me" based on my past record of never missing a payment. I know they'll jump at that one. Yeah.

We hope to have a decision in the next two weeks. This will allow us to start the ball rolling on housing and all the other things that go with signing on the line. Exciting and anxious times.

Badger, Gopher or Panther, he can't go wrong.

Blogging off...

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