Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Best Laid Budget Meets the Occasional Roadblock

So here I am, with my carefully worked out summer budget which includes a quarterly payment in July for my daughter's 2007-2008 private school tuition, and all is financially doable. When, to my shock and dismay, I get a letter from the school telling me that there will be no financial aid award to my daughter for her senior year. Say what? All of a sudden, I have a $6000 budget problem!

First, let me say that I am a fan of public schools, and they are relatively good in my city. But my daughter was adopted at age 8. She has a myriad of social, emotional and organic issues that the public schools adequately addressed in the third and fourth grades but completely mishandled after that. I worked my way unsuccessfully through special education hearings for a year, then gave up and placed my child in a private middle school for learning disabled children. It was a great success, so much so that I was unwilling to place her back into the public school system and possibly lose ground. So, on she went to a private high school for learning disabled children, where she continues to experience success.

The school is expensive. From the beginning, I received $5000 to $10,000 in annual financial aid awards. This was due to the very high incomes of the other families who had children at the school.

Two things, both good, have led to the loss of the scholarships. One is that my income increased this past year after being frozen for the previous two years. The other is that the school is trying to increase its racial diversity which means that they have more students with families whose income and resources are substantially lower than mine.

Now what? This is not something that can be handled out of my $1000 emergency fund.

Fortunately, this story will have a happy ending.

I let the school know that I might have to take my daughter out. Since she is a senior with a three-year track record, this is the last thing I want to do. As it happens, the school doesn't want to lose her either, especially since they can take so much of the credit for the growth she has shown during the past three years. We wound up agreeing that I will pay her tuition over two years rather than one year. This works for me because this is her last year of high school and any post-high school expenses will be at the lcoal community college. It works for the school because--well, I don't know why it works for the school, but I am grateful we reached a resolution.

1 comment:

Boulevard R said...
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