When mother nature changes your finances

change of financesI’m sure the whole world has heard about the terrible rains, floods and tornadoes that wreaked havoc in May and June in Iowa – and other parts of the Midwest. Our farmland didn’t get flooded with river water, but it did sustain a lot of damage from the continuous and unrelenting rain. My husband was finally able to plant all the corn but it was in the ground more than 7 weeks later than it usually gets planted. What that means is a lot less product. Yields go down and when it is harvested in the fall, it will take much more electricity and power to dry it to be able to store it away to feed all the pigs.

Hence, our family finances are kind of in a big quandary – just like thousands of people in a lot of towns in Iowa. The future seems very uncertain and scary for our bank account and our livelihood since the farming operation brings in the bulk of our family’s living expenses.

The private college that our son has selected to attend is bending over backwards to help a lot of us left in this situation. Some of the families sending their kids to this college lost everything in the floods. Some were devastated by a tornado that ripped through their homes. Others, like us, will barely make it to pay the regular bills this fall and next spring.

When our family traveled recently to the college for the freshman orientation, we spoke to the financial aid director. She said that many people were filling out financial aid appeal forms which notify the college of a loss or projected reduction in one’s family income. She also said that the college would re-evaluate people’s situations and try to find financial solutions.

She also is helping us with another scholarship for Scott. He re-took the ACT and was hoping to raise the score by 3 points to receive a $2,500 scholarship from the college. However, he only jumped it up 2 points. His science score was increased by 10 points, and that impressed the financial lady enough to tell us to “Send me all the information, and we’ll see what we can do for Scott. He may not get all the $2,500, but we’ll see what we can come up with.”

Talk about lending a hand to those in need. We may not get another dime, but at least someone is caring enough to let us try to find other resources. When you feel like no hope is left, someone is at least listening. I’m not sure that would have happened at a big university. I admire when organizations such as this institution understand everyday life and the struggles everyday people can encounter. This spring, Mother Nature has made tough situations for many people. Businesses will fail or never re-open. People won’t rebuild in their neighborhoods. Farmers will sell out.

But all those things shouldn’t stop our children from getting a great college education. And we don’t want Scott to graduate in four years with thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. He’s making some good money this summer at a factory job to help pay for his education. But it will never be enough to cover what’s left on the bill after he already takes out $5,500 in loans. I’m just glad that his college isn’t shutting the door on him. Instead, they are inviting him in and seeing what else they can do to help him out.


Understanding College Costs