Thursday, February 2, 2012

The one where he grumbles about college tuition...again

(NOTE: This is one of those posts where I'm going to complain about the high cost of college, as if I'm the only parent in the history of the universe who has helped pay for their child's education. Honestly, I wouldn't blame you at all if you skipped this one. Just know that even I'm starting to have a hard time listening to my own whining on this subject.)

So Elissa got her acceptance letter to the University of Dayton yesterday. It was actually kind of nice. They mounted the letter on a piece of cardboard with a little fold-out stand on the back so you can prop it up and show it off to your friends and family, I guess.

She applied to four schools (Dayton, College of Wooster, Miami of Ohio, and Cleveland State), and so far two - Dayton and CSU - have sent letters that, to Elissa, say, "We think you are awesome and would love to have you here. Just the thought of being in your presence makes us all giddy." But to me they say, "Hey, bozo, time to whip out the checkbook. This is going to cost you...big time."

I was surprised the Dayton letter made mention of the money thing. The third paragraph read this way: "It is also my pleasure to inform you that you have been awarded the Trustee's Merit Scholarship in the amount of $60,000 over four years. Worth $15,000 per year, this scholarship is valid for a four-year period."

$15,000 per year? All right, then! Now we're getting somewhere. Actually, the figure that caught my eye was the 60 grand. That's a slick bit of marketing by the Dayton folks: Give 'em the total figure so they get really excited, and hope they don't start doing the annual math in their heads.

Unfortunately for the Dayton people, I did start doing the math. Here, according to the Dayton website, are the school's undergraduate costs for the 2011-12 school year:

Tuition and fees: $31,640
Residence halls: $5,400- $8,100
Meal plans: $3,890 - $4,520

I like how they give you ranges for the last two categories. Let's just assume that Elissa will live in a large cardboard box and eat ramen every day if she attends Dayton, thus putting her on the low end of the scale. $31,640 + $5,400 + $3,890 = $40,930. And that doesn't count books. Or gas. Or spending money. Or everything else a college student is likely to spend money on.

Let's see, then...$40,930 minus the $15,000 scholarship they're promising leaves us with...a scant $25,930 to come up with every year! Over four years, that's $103,720. For one kid. I have five of them.

Hold on a second while I check my wallet to see if I have $100K just sitting there.....Uhhhh, nope. Nope. I found $3.57, pictures of the family, and my Starbucks card. I'm a little short.

Now granted, the Trustees Scholarship is just the beginning of the entire financial aid package that Dayton is likely to put out there. At some point over the next couple of months, they'll come back to us with the academic equivalent of an offer sheet. And that offer sheet will probably include other (smaller) scholarships and grants, along with possible loans and work-study programs.

Make no mistake there, by the way. As Elissa well knows, she'll be working her butt off throughout college to help defray the cost. I'm just hoping they can secure her a nice, easy $5,000-an-hour job somewhere on campus.

Anyway, the point is, I know there's more help coming, and that's not even to mention the independent scholarships and grants we've been researching. But as usual, I've used a few hundred unnecessary words to make a few very basic points:

* College is expensive.
* It costs more money than I have.
* This distresses me greatly.

And you know what's worse? We'll still not through this process yet. I have at least three more whiny, pathetic blog posts on this subject in me. Please accept my apologies in advance.


  1. It's time to hit the game show circuit again. Best of luck!

  2. Don't apologize! What you are saying actually helps the rest of us who are in the same boat! Reading this actually helps me relieve the stress I feel every year at this time doing the financial aid forms, seeing the amounts I am not going to get....hang on while I puff some oxygen, starting to hyperventilate! This upcoming year my daughter is a Senior in college and my son will be a Senior in high school and get to do it all over again for 4 more years!

  3. I like how you actually checked to see how much money you had in your wallet lol

  4. C'mon. Give UD some credit. I'm sure they spelled 'bozo' with a capital 'B'. :-)

  5. Somehow, I missed this one. I wish I had not found it, as I now have serious anxiety! This is one time I'm grateful to have only been blessed with only one child!! I can remember wayyyyy back when I was in college. My first semester at Kent State was $1,100.00. My last semester was somewhere around $1,850.00. I remember shaking my head at the drastic increase. I just checked KSU's website and tuition today is in the $4,673.00 range. I guess 1850 wasn't all that bad!