Tuesday, November 1, 2022

School of Hard Knocks


We recently ran a story on Newswatch 16, and I know parents who are going through it.  It's time to apply for help paying college tuition.

I'm hearing the horror stories.  A higher education is so expensive and you have to jump through endless and complicated hoops for grants and loans.

Let me take you back to a simpler time.  I'm not sure if it was 1978 or 1979, but it was during my senior year in high school.  There was a financial aid seminar at my high school one evening.  I went alone.  I thought I'd involve the parents once I had a feel for the system and what needed to be done.

I don't remember where the presenter was from, but I'm sure it wasn't from this planet.  He just couldn't explain things in a way students and parents could easily understand.  To say this meeting was painful would be an understatement.

There was one thing I understood quite clearly, and it came at the very end of this two hour torture session:  family income requirements.  I was lucky and unlucky at the same time.  Both parents worked.  I would be the only child in school.  We were by no means rich, but we were okay.  I was lucky the family had decent incomes.  I was unlucky in that we didn't meet the requirements for aid.

I'm not going to say the evening was wasted because I did learn a lot about the process.  I did gain a new appreciation for the less fortunate families and I was happy there was some help out there.

College was a lot cheaper between 1979 and 1983.  I don't think we spent $12,000 during four years.  That buys you a month at most colleges now.  I also picked up a part time job when I was a sophomore.  It allowed me to take care of expenses like books, gas, pizza, hoagies and clothes.

If you are in the game this year, good luck.  I know it isn't easy.