The mystery of monies and the real costs of college

February 12, 2019

The mystery of monies - If I cared about money, I’d have a lot more, but discussions of finances make me weary, which is only one reason I married a smart woman who is the head of the Management and Budget Home Office on the first floor of my house. Last week, I was actually in a signing photo with my buddy since eighth grade, Zach Simpler, who has been accepted into the Career and Life Studies Certificate program on the University of Delaware campus. I misrepresented the cost of the program only because I was wondering why Mike Simpler was so happy and where he was coming up with that kind of jack. James Sellers, program manager, sent me a friendly clarification: “The fees and tuition for in-state students is just over $25,000 ($29,000 is the out-of-state cost). In addition to the DDDS and DVR support, students in CLSC are eligible for federal Pell Grants and the Advance Scholarship, a scholarship modeled after the SEED scholarship for programs such as CLSC. Students who are eligible to get the maximum awards in all these areas are able to attend for free or close to it. Other students may have to pay up to $5,000 to $7,000 per year depending on FAFSA eligibility. An additional area of support for southern Kent and Sussex county residents is that they may be eligible for financial support from DVR for campus housing. This is due to the distance being an access barrier. Zach’s DVR counselor, for example, is applying for this funding so that he may live on campus for free.” I’ll be giving Zach a $100 Fredman scholarship for spending monies, but he’ll have to find a bank in Newark that cashes those giant oversized checks, or he can hang it on the wall.

$12,000 Letter - The Fred twins Tom and Jack transferred into Delaware from UMBC their junior year. We qualified for no free monies, so I wrote the director of financial aid a funny letter pleading for non-payback cash, otherwise known as grants. He so enjoyed the letter that each twin was awarded $3,000 per semester over two years for a grand total of cash and prizes of $12,000. The framed letter hangs in my home office. Unfortunately, I moved and can’t remember what it said.

$25,000 Pyramid - Cape used to run their Senior Awards Night like a game show, starting with students who got $25 from a thrift store to those bound for a Service Academy education worth a quarter of a million dollars. As a parent, I refused to play the game saying, “you can say the Fred twins will attend UMBC with the help of scholarship money from lacrosse,” but Cape wanted an exact figure and I refused to play the game, so the Fred family jumped free of the hamster wheel of social mobility and community recognition at the IGA. And like a runner who cuts the course short, I was ahead of my time. I have been taking signing day photos for 25 years and I never ask “so how much money are you actually getting from your school that offers no athletic scholarships?” (I’m trying to avoid a package joke here.)

Implosion therapy - A form of conditioning where a person learns to confront fears and deal with them. Sports is the perfect arena for implosion therapy because if you never realize and experience your worst fears, then you have a soft schedule. I still go to games with a personal anticipation, “this is what I hope happens,” and mostly that’s not what happens at all. That’s why to quote Lyle Lovett, “I live in my own mind, ain’t nothing but a good time.”

Snippets - The Cape swim girls were surprise winners at Henlopen Conference championships. Great job by coach Gep and to those swimmers who perform for team and school because no one except relatives attends swim meets. Hannah Jones (Cape) is a sophomore softball player for the Campbell University Fighting Camels. A third baseman at Cape, where she hit 17 home runs, Hannah is playing first base in college. She starts and is batting cleanup. Campbell University is in Buies, N.C. Professional sports have become so much about free agency and salaries, mid-season trades and salary caps that I have mostly lost interest. And college athletes who are rented for a year by some prestigious university don’t interest me much either. I’m not grouchy, I just prefer high school sports teams where athletes play for each other and their community. The next level is actually a step down from the joy of going to battle with your friends. Go on now, git!