Could you say no?

Today on Facebook, that axis of a time-suck, a friend of mine posted the fantastic news that her daughter got into University of Notre Dame. She is a wonderful young woman, and it is truly an amazing accomplishment. Any parent would be off their head proud of a child like that.

Heck, I’ve only met her a few times and I feel proud of her! She’s an accomplished athlete, and an honor student, and a great person to boot.

I took a moment and thought about what that would be like, to have my own child reach such an amazing goal. It was a good moment…until I thought about how much that has to be costing. Even if she received scholarships (which I’m sure she did for athletics or academics, or likely both), I looked up the tuition.

Flabbergasted is one word that comes to mind.

Tuition, room & board, fees, books, etc. clocks in at $62,461 for one year at (non-ivy league) University of Notre Dame. I don’t even know how you go about paying for one year let alone paying for 4 (provided she doesn’t pick a 5 year program, or worse pre-med or law).

But how on earth could you tell your child no? Sure, you could tell them they can’t even apply to such a costly school, but that feels like you’d be a crusher of their soul. I know this family has a history with UND (I can’t remember if one of her parents went there but they are huge UND people). So I imagine they knew exactly what they were getting into.

My son doesn’t quite have UND dreams (at least not yet, he’s only in the 8th grade, but we did attend the high school college fair in October…that was eye-opening). I think, as he’s already said, he’d want to stay closer to home (which as of a few months from now will be in England for the next two years, and who knows beyond that?) He thinks he wants to go into engineering, probably mechanical or something. There are so many different types I can’t even name them all. But he is heavily interested in science and math, and thankfully, excels at both.

If he came to me and said he wanted to go to an aeronautical school for example (one of the brochures we picked up at the school fair), or MIT, that’s an exceptionally large chunk of change he would need for his education. And could I tell him no?

Probably not. I don’t know how we would pay for it (and I would say we are upper middle class), but even I balk at $50,000 a year for college. That’s like buying a BMW 5 series every year for 4 years, or a vacation home. It’s a hard task being a parent when you have a child who is definitely going to have dreams. But looking at the picture my friend posted of her daughter holding her acceptance packet from UND, how on earth could a parent deny a child that kind of excitement, accomplishment, and one-of-a-kind moment?

I know I’ll be smiling right along with my child when the moment comes, even if my mind is swimming with how on earth to pay for it.

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