I just went through an annoying hour of compiling financial information and making educated guesses for The College Board. Our daughter is graduating high school and interested in attending college. A couple months ago I filled out the Financial Aid Form and thought I was done, but several schools to which she has applied require this second more invasive, less convenient form, so I lost the hour to finding information, filling in online forms, and realizing that we are just broke, broke, and broke. At least in this case, that works to her advantage.
Bernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail and I wish I could get excited about that. I was supposed to be excited last time too, being a liberal and leaning toward socialist tendencies — God forbid we share with one another! — but I couldn't get excited about his ideas especially the one about free college. That's a nonstarter.
I think it's a mirage. Free tuition, maybe, but free college, that ain't gonna happen. And anyone who has looked at college can tell you, tuition isn't the half of it. Anyway, I doubt "free" college would be the solution to our problems. I'm not into free college. Instead, I wish we could have guaranteed inexpensive college. Why not? I like the idea of my girl having to pay something, to have some skin in the game. Free stuff too often is valued as much as we've paid for it. I want college to be inexpensive and to not burden her for the rest of her life with crushing debt. I want her to get an education, not become indentured.
There's a good chance I'll need to fill out the forms again next year and show that we're making even less money. Yay!? Quitting my job will likely have that effect. The forms I completed today asked what I think my 2019 income will be. I almost laughed and then put in numbers half of what I made in 2018. Who knows what will be?
The whole time doing the forms I wondered who comes up with these things. I imagine they evolve over time like viruses or infections. One lawyer adds something and an accountant adds another and before long it's incomprehensible to the mere mortal. It becomes something that no longer makes sense but we do it anyway because no one can imagine pulling the whole thing down and starting from scratch.
What would happen if every college cost the same low nominal fee? I'm sure selection criteria would get crazy. It's like making all school districts funded by the state per pupil according to the cost of living in that town, instead of funding schools through local property taxes. I'd love to see the Syracuse City School District funded the same as a suburban district like my alma mater Fayetteville-Manlius. I'd really love it if students could choose to attend either one. That's not going to happen. Savage inequalities must be maintained.
Can Bernie Sanders change that? Can anyone? Not right away. There will be plenty of bluster and bloviating from the left side of the campaign trail. That's better than the hate which spews from the right. Still, I would support a candidate who said simply that she rid us of financial aid forms and level the playing field. Yeah, I could go for that. Especially the first part. I'm so sick of those forms.