We filled out Andrew's FAFSA form last night. Even with the Fellowship he was awarded, we'll probably end up having to take out a loan to cover the rest of his tuition.
The form seemed a lot more involved this time around than it was before. We figured that it was either because it was for a loan instead of a grant or that it was for graduate school instead of undergraduate education. Either way, they seemed to ask us a lot more questions than they did in the past.
After answering a few easy questions, like whether Andrew is male or female, we had to get our tax forms out and go over them several times to find all the answers for the tricky questions. We even had to break out the calculator a few times. Is it really supposed to be that complicated?
Anyway, after about 45 minutes we had finally filled in the form, to the best of our knowledge, that is. We clicked "next" and this question popped up:
Are you a preparer?
I stared at it. It was a yes-or-no question and yet I couldn't think of a good answer for it. I started to analyze my lifestyle.
Am I a preparer? That's a good question. Let's see.
We have some food storage. Sure, it isn't what it could be but we don't have all that much room to keep food so a year's supply is out of the question. We've probably got a few months worth of food. Maybe. So we're relatively prepared in that department.
Andrew was an Eagle Scout. Aren't scouts supposed to be prepared? He still carries a pocket knife, which really has come in handy a few times. He keeps band-aides in his wallet. And I'm pretty sure he knows how to tie a square knot.
Before I leave the house I usually remember to check to see if we have diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for Rachel. Actually, I'm often well over-stocked when we leave the house, carrying half my weight in baby hud. And I wear an extra hair elastic on my wrist just in case I want to put my hair up.
And I'm studying Arabic. That's great preparation for moving to Egypt. Shoot--I've already started packing!
Yes, I decided, We're definitely preparers.
Still, I wasn't quite sure if that was what the question was asking, so I decided to ask Andrew what it meant. He seemed much more sure of his answer.
"What does that even mean?" I asked innocently, trying to pretend that the cyclone of thoughts I had just had never happened.
He pointed to the small print and patronizingly answered, "A preparer is someone who prepares forms for a living."
Oh, I see. We're definitely not preparers.