Debt Reduction, Everyday Living

My school spirit doesn’t go as far as my pocketbook

When it came time to choose a higher educational institution, let’s just say that my less than stellar academic performance precluded me from getting into some of the state schools of my choice. (I’m amongst friends, so I’ll tell you … I was in the lower half of my graduating class. I had an issue with applying myself. And maybe I still do from time to time.)

Luckily though, given that I had a decent singing voice and a great uncle who was a prestigious alumni from this institution, I gained admittance to a spendy, private college that was a half hour from where I grew up. And since the choice was between that or a community college, I decided to go the route of everlasting debt. Given that my choice ultimately afforded me the opportunity to travel for six months in foreign countries, be the editor-in-chief of my college’s newspaper, get involved with the college’s radio station, introduce me to my mentors, some of the most amazing friends that I could ever wish for and the man who would eventually be my husband, you can see that I’m not too entirely disappointed in my choice of college.

I’ll be honest though … every time I get a fundraising request from my school, usually via email, snarky comments abound between my husband and I. This week, we had an invitation to attend a ball that my alma mater is hosting that would benefit a scholarship fund for youth in the Twin Cities to attend our college. For $80, my husband and I could enjoy an evening of dancing and schmoozing, with a whole $10 going towards this scholarship fund.

I’ll admit it – I’m a jerk. I could go all high road on you folks and say that I will instead make a more meaningful contribution to the college, but chances are good that I won’t. At least not right now … once I pay off my college loans, I will probably be more generous, but that’s not for a few more years. Sorry alma mater …

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4 thoughts on “My school spirit doesn’t go as far as my pocketbook

  1. Being in the higher ed development business myself, I am a little surprised that only $10 is designated for the scholarship. Certainly an $80 donation straight to the institution’s annual fund would be much more beneficial. But as you say, you aren’t going to do that, either, and that is the dilemma of fundraising — how to engage your alumni? Some think that a fancy dinner with good vibes is the way to do it. I am sure their hope is that some of the attendees, who are basically coming for the fun of it, will eventually become major donors.

    Just a plug here — alumni participation rates REALLY make a difference to some major donors, as well as improve the school’s reputation in the rankings, so if you do love your alma mater, even a $10 gift will help more than you know.

  2. I always laugh when my husband receives solicitation for money from “his” university.
    They never send me one.
    I did both my BS and most of my Masters at the university- about seven on and off years. He attended for 18 months.
    They will never get a penny from this household!

  3. I am always torn on this one too – for me it’s mostly because when I have to prioritize what I give to, I am really much more passionate about giving to things that have a direct impact and/or are more community/local (e.g. this year the theme has been animal shelters and clothing drives).

    However…a part of me realizes that I am where I am today at least a little bit because I went to a public, land-grant, donor-funded university. Sure I still had to work hard myself, but I know that many of those amazing life activities I got to do were because someone donated money for them to exist. So I do put in the occasional donation to specific things like the wonderful university marching band I was a part of and have so many life-long friends from.

    But I feel your pain…especially when you haven’t finished making the original payments to them ๐Ÿ™‚

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