• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.


Friday Fragments

A misleading scholarship letter and the changing face of snowstorms over the years.

January 28, 2022

This week The Girl heard from one of the colleges to which she applied. The message congratulated her on her excellent application and mentioned that she had been awarded a $40,000 scholarship.

Reading just a little farther revealed that it’s $10,000 per year, renewable based on GPA.

Maybe it’s me, but that struck me as sneaky. They don’t quote tuition as a sum total for four years. Compiling all four years of the scholarship into a lump sum, but referring to tuition only for a single year, seems designed to mislead.

I’ve coached TG that what matters is not the dollar figure of a discount but what’s left after the discount. A $10,000 discount against an $80,000 sticker price—such things actually exist—wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to matter. We’re waiting for the full set of responses, at which point we’ll put together a spreadsheet and see what there is to see. And I think it’s important for TG to have a sense of it herself, so she’ll have context for other financial decisions in the future.

In the meantime, my plea to admissions reps everywhere is to be a little more straightforward. If tuition is quoted per year, then discounts should be, too.

Although snow forecasts are notoriously unreliable in these parts, we’ve been getting warnings of the apocalypse for a few days now.

As a kid, my attitude toward snow was the more, the better. More snow meant bigger and better snow forts, higher drifts to slide down, and more time off from school. I don’t recall ever losing electricity as a kid, so the prospect of power outages didn’t even occur to me.

As a younger adult, I looked at snow mostly as a driver and shoveler. In other words, the less, the better.

At this point, I’m really all about the electricity. As long as the power stays on, I’m good with it. That seems to become more of an issue over the years. Here’s hoping that my neighbors throughout the region are able to keep warm over the next few days …


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