This is may end up as more of a vent than an informative post, but it is something that has been bothering me for a little while.
I think we can all agree that military families have to move a lot. There are a few that are blessed with several tours in one general area, but that is more the exception than the rule. This makes college planning a little more difficult.
I remember 9 years ago when my son was going into 3rd grade that someone asked me if my son would qualify for the Bright Futures scholarship if I homeschooled him. 3rd grade. I didn’t know, but it didn’t matter to me because I knew that we wouldn’t be in Florida anymore by the time he went to college.
We were fortunate enough to live in Washington for six years. It looked for awhile that Washington would be our forever home. People encouraged me and my son to look at the in-state public colleges and plan his high school around their entrance requirements. It would only make sense that he would want to go to school somewhere close. Right?
Well, as it turns out, I am glad that he didn’t set his heart on one of those in-state WA schools because we aren’t in WA anymore. Would he even get in-state tuition? I don’t know. Some states give military in-state tuition while the family is stationed in that state, but I haven’t done much research on it. Have you seen the WA out-of-state tuition rates? Wowsa.
Here we are in South Carolina. People that don’t know him very well are surprised to hear he is considering a private college so far away. There are so many good schools here, and he would be close to home they say. But for how long? After he starts school, we will only be in South Carolina another 18 months (God willing- and please, God, be willing).
We have no idea where we will be next. None. Why shouldn’t he pick the school that he wants? The one that he has his heart set on? We may end up in Nebraska for all I know. There is no certainty. Planning his college around where we may be in 2 years is a waste of time.
People tell us about the scholarships. How it will save him so much money. I guess there is a South Carolina scholarship of some sort here. There are actually a couple of them. The LIFE scholarship seems to be better than the others, but it is all about residency. In the end will it save money? I don’t know. It depends on the powers of the FAFSA and his SAT scores.
This affects my daughter as well. She will be at the end of her senior year when it comes time for us to move. We will no longer be residents of South Carolina. How will this affect her state scholarships? It also means that she will most likely not qualify for any state lottery scholarship for the state we are moving into.
Honestly, it is a big pain in the butt. You can not plan college the same way as long term residents. It just doesn’t work.
So, when my kid tells you that he was accepted to some place far away, just be happy for him. My kids understand what it is like to move to a place where they don’t know anyone. Maybe they will be homesick, but do you know what? When I moved overseas and couldn’t run home to my family, I grew up. All of a sudden it was about building my own network, taking care of my own needs, and figuring out who I was. It was hard. Oh, good golly it was hard. (And here I am doing it once again. I despise it. It never gets easier for me.)
But just because it is hard, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile or doable. I want to have faith that my kids can do it. I will be here if it doesn’t work out, but for now I am going to believe in them. If they say they can, they can.
And as Melanie says, IT WILL BE FINE!