Vlad Is Going Back To School

Vlad applied to Augustana college to finish his degree, which he abandoned eight years ago. What happened then is a long story that will probably be told at some point. The only thing I want to tell now is that nothing in his current career depends on this classic major, and nobody ever reprimanded him for not making this final push. 

In my view, the only reason he wanted to receive a diploma is that this was an unfinished project. And the major obstacle for the past several years was that if he would choose to do this, he will have to put the rest of his life on pause for three months. 

Now, with the remote learning and temporal indoor dining closer, everything suddenly falls in place. 

He applied for the federal loan, which was granted but didn’t cover all classes and fees. He shopped for a private loan, which would cover the rest, consulting with me on the way. At some point, I received an email from Augustana addressing me as “a parent of a student.” I messaged Vlad: what in the world is that?! And he was like, “sorry, mom, it looks like they still have my old records somewhere in the system; I will fix it. I am an independent student now.”

As usual, all these college tuition talks prompted me to think about several subjects. First, why it is only in the US that college costs what it does, why one class has to cost 7K+, and why higher education is almost free in the rest of the world. 

I know (and the only reason I know it is because my kids are so smart and resourceful) that there are relatively easy ways to significantly reduce your costs. And if anybody thinks that the fact that higher education is not free fosters more responsible behavior, they are wrong. It encourages opposite behavior. But the most frustrating fact is that all of these ways to reduce the costs are so non-obvious, so hidden! 

The above was the second topic. The third one is about who’s the responsibility it is? When I read the blogs of parents whose children are in the process of getting into college, I do not understand why it becomes parents’ responsibility rather than their almost adult children? I read about the Facebook groups of parents researching scholarships and admission requirements, and I do not get it. 

Also, I do not understand a desire to get children through college debt-free. I understand even less why so many parents see their financial assistance being a basis for dictating their college-age children which classes to take, how to behave, what is the minimal acceptable GPA, etc. 

I will stop here :). I will never understand most of the above :). And I am immensely happy that it was different with my children. 

2 thoughts on “Vlad Is Going Back To School

  1. I agree with you that being responsible for your admission, scholarships, tuition etc is good for a future student. But I do not agree that everyone can handle it reasonable well and mistakes in this space can have devastating effects. Many parents, including me, would rather avoid them than give this opportunity to learn, especially if they can afford to help.
    Some middle ground exists, like paying only part of the tuition, paying only for minimal amount of courses required to graduate etc. I envision it like applying for a scholarship to family in the same way you apply for another scholarships. There may be some prerequisites, but once it is granted for some period it cannot be taken away.
    If college costs were reasonable it would be different. But with current prices if your career will not take off soon after graduation and your college was expensive, you are stuck with this debt for a long time and your life choices become very limited.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College costs are NOT reasonable, I couldn’t agree more. And it is very difficult to get a full scholarship that would indeed cover everything. Most s=certainly, not everybody can do this. My kids had loans from me which I calculated as less all the grants, scholarships, and student loans they could get, less the cheapest state school would cost. That way, I paid about 2K per semester, they applied for their scholarships and loans, and I loaned the rest through Parent plus. But having them borrow as much as they can get is very important. This is the cheapest possible credit and the best way to build your own credit history. I would not cover that even if I could afford it.

      What I find difficult to understand are the situations when the parents pay 20K for the semester so that “this child won’t start heir life from debt.” But it does not mean that everybody should agree with me :).


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