The Dilemma I’ve Been Sitting On…

I mentioned something a little over a week ago, about a possible “What if…?” scenario since I was still waiting on a response from one more school.

Then, last week, I logged into the school’s application system, and saw this:

Which, for those as unfamiliar with the UK system as I was when I started, “Unconditional” translates into “Accepted with no restrictions.” I logged out and back in to the system another half dozen times, with no change. It still took another couple of hours before it really started sinking in..

I. Got. In. To. Glasgow!

Which prompted my dilemma… Accept with a request for deferment, or let it go? If I accept, what do I do about Seton Hill? Do I try to juggle demands for both an MFA and a PhD (since, with the deferment, I would be about half-way through the MFA program by the time I would go to Scotland)? Slide to part-time at Seton Hill for the last few sessions?

That’s been a major part of my silence for the past week, a mix of squee at getting in and sucking on a salt block while weighing the options. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that I really, really, really would like to take the offer – both MC and I think it would be a great opportunity & experience for us and for the baby – but the more I looked at the numbers, the more salt I had to swallow.

To make it work, I would need to get financial aid… no problems with that. However, assuming max disbursement per year (covering tuition & cost of living allowance), we would be staring at roughly $45k after allowing for the exchange rate. Per year. That’s right, year. At full tuition rate, the entire cost of the (3-year) MFA program at Seton Hill sits just under what it would cost for one year in Scotland.

We could make it work, I’m sure we could. But… I find it extremely hard to swallow the idea of setting us up for a student loan payment that would rival a mortgage payment (and, if we were to sell everything off – cars included – to offset some of the cost, we would then have to incur car payments upon our return). That would just be based on the cost for Glasgow, not even including the cost of trying to double with Seton Hill.

I’m not entirely counting it out… I haven’t yet gotten any kind of official notification (remember, it took two emails to finally get to this point), so there’s a chance for some kind of windfall or special “sorry we took so long, here’s some money” award, or I could opt to request the deferment and spend a good chunk over the next couple of months beating the bushes for possible scholarship options (there’s one that would reduce tuition from the “International” to “UK Resident” rate)… but I’m not sure how feasible it would be to go that route, between having a 3-month old at home and about to start another program.

Looking at the bigger picture, though… as excited as I am about the acceptance, I think the dilemma has found it’s own answer, and I will end up letting Glasgow go. Like all nominees for major awards, it is truly an honor to get the acceptance. MC and I are already talking about planning a trip for when I finish my run at Seton Hill to hang out in Scotland, and the Glasgow campus is definitely on my short list of places to visit (and get a few souveniers from).

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