Saturday, February 15, 2014

The 2014 Winter Music Tour

Like I talked about in yesterday's post, Hubs & #2 Son didn't go to his music audition down at VCU in Richmond.
Yes folks, the second half of the 2014 Winter Music Audition Tour has been canceled.
#2 Son had 4 different college auditions scheduled this Winter at 4 different schools.
He's had the Temple and Mansfield auditions and the VCU and Marywood auditions were on the blocks for this weekend and next week, respectively.

Well that plan changed earlier this week when #2 got some mail......


So he has gotten both his "Congratulations to our school" and his "Congratulations to our program" college letters from Mansfield.

Seeing as Mansfield was his 2nd choice(and Temple his 1st choice), he sees no reason to continue on with more auditions to schools that were his 3rd and 4th choices.

So he's going to Mansfield in the Fall.....for now.
We still haven't heard from Temple yet and we don't expect to hear from them until March sometime as their last audition date is February 23rd but the undergraduate deadline for applying is March 1st.

So we don't know the important stuff yet......
Like if #2 Son is going to be an Owl or a Mountie in the Fall.
And whether we will be required to shell out $28,032 or $21,010 in the Fall.


Not that we get any non loan help from the Feds.
I fill out the FAFSA every year for some kid or kids and they always tell us our "expected family contribution" toward their studies is some ridiculous amount.

This year was no different.
FAFSA indicated we are expected to contribute......$42,803 toward our son's educational needs for 2014-2015.
Now look at the two amounts above for those two schools.
Do either of them even approach $42,803 a year?
No, they do not.

The only school that came close was Marywood U., a small local private school at $46,556 if you lived on campus, but they estimate will cost $33,390 if you live at home(and #2 would be living at home at least for a couple of those years).  And that is before the $10-$15K merit scholarship they promised he'd get if he attended that school.

You see, FAFSA considers us "rich".  Because we've scrimped and saved and paid everything off, don't live off of credit cards or have debts, and we have a nice pile of cash because we live so far below our means.
Hubs makes a good income but if he spent like his colleagues seem to do(bigger houses, expensive vacations to Europe each year, nicer cars, etc.)we'd be struggling to pay our bills like they are.

The problem with paying for college, besides just paying for college, is that the Feds think if you have a pile of cash in savings that it's available for you to spend it down on college costs and they expect you to do just that.
They don't take into consideration that first, we are OLD parents.  We had our kids late thus we are "this close" to retirement.  We don't have years to go after sending our kids to college to recover from spending down all this money like people who have their kids in their 20's and very early 30's do.
In addition, most of this pile of money we have saved is earmarked for our retirement years.  It is not in a protected retirement fund like a 401K so it is counted against us when it comes to measuring what parents have available for educational funding and how grant money is doled out and to whom.

Even with the portion of our savings that IS earmarked for #2 Son's college funding, he will still need to come up with about $15K more over the course of 4 years to cover the least expensive of the 2 schools where he wants to go.  And that doesn't take into consideration the costs going up(and they do every year)over the next 4 years.  Plus a car and car expenses which he will need his Senior year to do his student teaching(definitely if he attends Mansfield and perhaps if he is at Temple, in a big city, if he has to teach in the suburbs).

But the FAFSA folks will only allow us unsubsidized loans because of our level of savings.  So we are hoping for a small merit scholarship from whichever school #2 Son attends to offset just a tiny piece of the price tag on school.  Both our other two kids got something where they attended for academic merit.  If #2 Son gets anything it will be on the strength of his artistic talent, but those kind of awards are even fewer and farther between.

Hubs is probably going to retire from his company before #2 Son graduates with his degree, so I am wondering when we no longer have an income coming in and are living off of these savings, how that will affect the FAFSA formula.  We would still have most if not all of our pile of savings at that point but no regular income.
So there is some unknown for us there, as we hadn't dealt with college in this particular circumstance before.

Anyway.....I didn't mean to turn this into a FAFSA and College is ridiculously expensive tirade, but I did, didn't I? ;-)

We are happy for our son, that he got his admittance wish(at least one of them),and we are crossing our fingers he gets some sort of financial award from somewhere.

And I am counting the days until he leaves in August and is no longer destroying what passes for clean in my kitchen....WoooHooo!




  1. Haha. Poor kid. He looks so thrilled. Very awesome, many congrats to him! His smile could be worked on, but he's got what the school wants, so that's great! Hopefully he gets the other admission letter in the mail soon!

    1. Tanner, that IS his thrilled face!lolz
      This my laid back(think surfer dud), don't show any emotion kid. He is so much like my oldest brother it's scary sometimes. ;-)

  2. Just filled out the FAFSA last night. Bleh. Congrats on the acceptance. Hope #1 comes through, too!

  3. I thought I saw all three of them smile once, all at the same time in the same picture. It must have been your birthday.

    So, even when you put on the FAFSA you had two in college, they still expect you to shell out $42K? Wow, you must be rich.

    My grandson was accepted at all five schools he applied to. However, I have no idea of the quality of the school. The only thing that mattered was where his girlfriend attended. So, she made the choice for him. Silly kid. At least your son seems to be making sound decisions or at least making decisions with his big head. Don't let him read this remark.

  4. Congrats to #2!!!!! I bet he gets into his #1 choice too. I just have a feeling. DJ is in the same boat, his #1 hasn't responded. At least, he will be going somewhere.
    Oh and let me summarize your FAFSA rant=they suck.
    Oh and the crazy comment that you left when you had to make something up was WONDERFUL!!!

  5. Congratulations, but this is the very reason D#1 went in state for law school. Even though she was accepted at Penn State and several private Law schools the price difference was about $70,000 for three years even with a huge scholarship so she decided that she didn't want that much debt. Smart because it is expensive and we did not have enough money at that time to help her. Your son may decide the same thing.

    1. I was hoping my grandson would, but he had his mind made up about following that little girl that broke up with him the first two weeks.

  6. Congratulations to Noah! Good for him. Even if he isn't beaming, I am sure he's happy inside!

    Peace <3

  7. First off, Congrats to your son!! How awesome for him! Yes. School is ridiculously expensive. I didn't know the ins and outs of the FAFSA form as I never filled one out for my older two daughters. We split the cost with their father (when tuition/room and board was $10,000 a year) and it worked out fine. However, we filled out the FAFSA this year for our daughter who will be attending JMU in the fall. I found the question "Do you have more than $37,000 in cash?" a very strange question, but unfortunately (fortunately?) I had to say no (thanks to our whole first level re-do). All of our cash is tied up in 401Ks and IRA's. said that we may qualify for a $5195.00 pell grant. We are still waiting to hear back from JMU on this one, but we are pretty excited if this is the case. This would bring down our obligation to $13,000/year. And when our son goes next year, hopefully we'll get the same. Who would have thought NOT having a sizable EF would be a good thing? Well, we'll see. It's not a for sure thing yet. I would much rather be in your shoes, having a sizeable savings account!!

  8. ha if temple notifies him he could live at judys house. my daughter went to temple and it didnt nearly cost that much but that was in 2003 to 2007

  9. There have been a couple of years in the past where we had zero in savings when filling out FAFSA - still calculated we could pay around 45000.

  10. I hear ya re retirement funds! It sure is hard to cover everything these days - seems there are more places for our money to go than there is money to go around. It's a balancing act that will always shortchange one or two areas. I'm like you - when my income increased I DID NOT move to a bigger house or buy a new car. I've stayed in my frugal condo for 20 years and drive a 14 year old truck! Like Sonya I prefer NOT to have a car payment. Good luck to you Sluggy and DS2 - I'm happy he's at least got into choice #2 :)

  11. I do not miss the days of paying for college. My parents were in a similar boat.. made just enough to get by, but according the gov't far too much to award me ANY money. My 1st year of college was paid for with scholarships, but the remaining years were paid for entirely with loans. I'm now in the process of paying back over $40k :( I was a good HS student.. graduated with a 3.8/4.0, several honor and a few college level courses, editor of my HS newspaper, choir for 7 years, leadership council, volunteer work, and held down a job. But a well-rounded student isn't what scholarships/grants are looking for. It seems like you either have to EXCEL in one area (grades, sport, etc) or come from a financially strapped background to qualify. It's all very disheartening when the job you end up getting barely pays those student loans you took out.


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