Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Hmmm...Not a bad idea.

An NYU student is getting a free place to stay from the university after living in the library for several months.

"...despite receiving $15,000 a year from a scholarship and working 30 hours a week, he could not afford the money for a room on top of his tuition fees."

The moral of the story? If you sleep in the library and have a weblog about it, the administration will shack you up free of charge to avoid a PR problem. The other moral of the story? Don't go to a university where tuition is $31k a year.

I find this plan extraordinarily tempting. I think I'm gonna sleep in the Squelch office for eight weeks to protest the $730 of summer session tuition and fees that I had to pay last month, thus leaving me with not enough money to pay for May rent, thus forcing me to call my mom to ask to borrow a few hundred dollars. Of course two minutes into our conversation I remembered that I can transfer money from savings to checking, which, though she would have been happy to donate it, is preferable to suffering the embarassment of taking money from my parents. Three cheers to stubborn pride and misplaced ideals of the merit of self-reliance!

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to propose a revised formula for determining "financial need." I don't get squat from the government because my parents make "too much" money. I get unsubsidized loans and that's it. My mom starting paying back my lower division debt last year to the tune of $180 a month, but I don't receive any other money from them.

Problem number one with the FAFSA is that it doesn't take into account parental credit card debt. Mom and Pop shell out $13,000 a year to their credit card debt consolodation company (they were young, it was the 80s, my step-dad couldn't get a job and take care of his new new kids at the same time, my dad wasn't a real champ about child support because he himself was struggling financially, etc.); coincidentally, it costs about $13,000 a year for me to go to Cal. Problem number two with the FAFSA is that it doesn't take into account parental willingness to fund their college student. The old Pee and Em, if they tried a lot harder, could skimp and/or save and be able to write me a check every so often to pay for books or food or whatnot, but they're not really interested in skimping, saving, or making any more sacrifice than they need to. Problem number three with the FAFSA is that terrible green ink they use. Honestly, federal government. Green is so 1990s.

At this point I've convinced myself that even if my parents could and would pay for my education I'd politely decline in the name of independence and hard work. Given the impossibility of that alternate reality, however, I would be pleased as punch if the kids in Washington cared that I'm not getting any money from home.

See you in the Squelch office.


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