Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I brought home about 30 pounds worth of books from the library yesterday. They are all scholarship books. We are going to try to get some scholarships for Alann’s next school year, and maybe avoid more loans. If we get enough, we might be able to pay off some of the previous loans. Why we haven’t thought of this before now, I don’t know. As I was searching through one of the books last night, I realized something very profound. I think Alann stated it best: “Why are there no scholarships for average white married guys whose parents are still alive??” and later “Let me know when you find the white married guy with two dogs and a cat scholarship.”
In order to get lots of money in scholarships, you have to be a woman, currently graduating from high school, from a minority class (with special preference given to African Americans or people with Armenian or Japanese descent), who bowls or like horses, with a bleeding disorder (hemophilia or blood-clotting issue), and who has had cancer, or whose parent or sibling have had or died from cancer, or whose parents have died while in the line of duty or on the job. (If you were affected by 9/11, that’s even better!) This is all according to the Kaplan book of scholarships. Please don’t think I am making fun of anyone. If you have these characteristics, by all means, GO TO SCHOOL FOR FREE!! But as for my dear husband, he is none of these. (I have learned however that my children will bowl whether they like it or not! Seriously, there are probably 15 scholarships out there for people who bowl.)
I think I heard once when I was searching for scholarships that they do not exist to help people who will go to college anyway; they exist to help people who might otherwise not go. Which doesn’t really make sense to me. I mean sure, help the people who are disadvantaged, who have had hard lives and need some help getting to college, but what about those of us who have relatively normal lives, who can go, but need loans to do it. According to our taxes, we made over $50,000 last year, but for half of that year I worked a second job, and during the first semester, Alann was only in school part time and working full time. So yeah, we made $50k, but how much do we have to show for it? Not much. Can we afford to pay for Alann’s schooling out of pocket? Um, no. We can’t even afford to pay for his books. (And as stated before, we are not living the high life.)
If I am ever rich, I am going to offer the average white kid scholarship. For kids whose parents make too much money to qualify for other scholarships, but who can’t afford to send them to college, who have good grades, but don’t qualify for anything else (they are not Armenian and their parents don’t have cancer). Maybe I will require them to take a financial planning class or two. Or maybe the married average white person scholarship, where they have to be married and in school. I know most scholarships come from people who have overcome serious odds and made it big in the world, but some of these scholarships are so specific that they make me laugh. I saw one that is for a specific kind of brain tumor (not that having a brain tumor is funny, just the fact that it has to be that specific kind to qualify).
I really wish I had more seriously looked into scholarships when I was in school. Of course, I didn’t really have summers off in order to fill out all these applications, which is what is recommended. By the way, this all started thanks to a personal finance blog I read. (Of course, Ramit has it going for him. He is a minority (“Indian- from India” -wording seen in the scholarship book).
Speaking of the making $50k a year, Alann said last night (this is two quotes for you today honey) “I wish we made that much now. We would be so much smarter about it.” And I agree. We are learning to budget better and have fewer payments due each month. At the height of making money, which was between March and August of last year, we also were paying the most minimums. We were paying off RC Willey for the dryer, my CC was super high, Alann’s was/is super high, I was paying an extra $20 on my car each month, and we NEVER seemed to make our grocery budget. But we are doing really well with our grocery budget now. (Of course, now food prices are going up. Ugh.) And my CC is paid off, my capital one is paid off, everything seems to be evening out. Even when we don’t think we are going to make it, somehow we do. And we are a lot smarter about our money, for the most part anyway. So yeah, I wish we were making that much now too. We would make some serious headway on everything if we were. Do I want to work a second job again? Um, not at all. But maybe next semester, if Alann can take the right classes this summer, he can get a “real” job with a planning firm (even if it’s Gopher for $15 or $20k a year) and quit Lowe’s and all their crap. That would be awesome. And we could make more money. And pay off our debts. And reduce our overhead so that I could be more likely to quit and stay home with the kids. THAT would be awesome. (I get really excited sometimes when I think about the fact that this dream of mine to stay home could actually be a possibility.)

1 comment:

Ramit Sethi said...

Nice post. Btw, I think I only got one scholarship for being a "minority" (and it was for a small amount, less than $5,000).

Most of the scholarships I've seen are applicable to accomplished people, not just people with particular traits.

Also, don't forget to check your local high-school career centers. Local scholarships are my favorite because nobody ever applies for them.

Good luck!