On the local news this morning I heard there was going to be a meeting tonight at the University of Texas - an open meeting between students, parents and administration to discuss a potential tuition hike.
Funny...I wasn't invited.
I receive a newsletter from the University...a newsletter from the Parents' Association...and I'm on the email list for the University President's new blog, Tower Talk. If any of these mentioned the meeting, I didn't see it.
It's not that I would be able to attend, anyway. After work I need to come home and write...trying to gather all the pennies I can to pay those monthly financial aid loan bills and gambling on writing a best-seller to pay off all the loans, once and for all...and possibly pay for my own college classes.
Tom can't attend - he's gone twelve hours a day as it is and when he comes home, he helps with the housework and then on the laundry room...still determined to finish building this house we started almost a decade ago.
We're still chasing our dreams because we don't want our kids to give up on theirs.
But I hope there is someone there who can speak for us...the ones who make just enough money that the only financial aid available is a semi-low interest loan, but not enough to pay the tuition otherwise, and not enough to pay for four years of college x 3 kids worth of loans without drowning.
Will someone speak for those of us with above-average, hard-working kids who are good at a lot of things, but not necessarily the best at anything?...who don't excel at one thing enough to qualify for a scholarship?...who aren't part of a minority, so can't qualify for a scholarship?
I wish I could be there so I could explain that we don't live extravagantly - it's not that we have the money and just choose to spend it elsewhere. We have one car payment - the first one since 1988. Our kids don't have their own cars, used or otherwise. They were the last ones to get cell phones and personal computers (high school graduation gifts.) They don't mind hand-me-down clothes or shopping at Goodwill. They've never even been to Disneyworld, except the oldest who went for a high school band competition years ago.
In fact, I've never been to Disneyworld or on a cruise or to Cozumel.
Don't get me wrong - I don't resent these things - they are sacrifices I made knowingly and willingly when I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, and they were worth it. But what I didn't expect was for college tuition to be out of reach - even at the public level. We couldn't afford the Texas Tomorrow Fund, but we thought the kids would be able to work enough to pay for it...gather some scholarships...perhaps go in the military if necessary. They are working...they did gather some scholarships...the military option is out because of asthma...but I'm wondering now if they'll even be able to finish if the tuition continues to climb.
It's all I can do to stop one of them from dropping out even now - he wants to save us money and thinks he'll go back on his own, later. As a college-dropout myself, still holding on to that dream of finishing "one day", I just can't let that happen.
If anyone goes to that meeting tonight, will you please speak for us?