Monday, October 16, 2017

Colleges, Residency Vent, Budding Baker

Nolan and Michael went to college day at University of Alaska - Anchorage. Reviews are mixed. Nolan has options. They do have a business degree at UAA, their tour guide didn't know much about it. They discovered he can complete the entire business degree online from UA - Fairbanks. He can also do two years at the Mat Su University (UA Branch) and then the final two years at UAA. (Send men to College Day and you get no photos!!!!) ::snort::

One issue for us is this state's illogical  residency laws. Jamin discovered he has to live in Alaska for two years before he can get in state residency at UAA. The certification he is looking at is $32,000 for an out of state student. TWO YEARS. For Nolan in state tuition is around  $5-6,000, out of state tuition is $17,000+.  When I look over the entrance requirements, I see some loop holes for Nolan....he will graduate with a diploma from an AK public high school (though we are homeschooling), our tax returns will show we are AK residents, as we have been for decades.  We shall see.  It will probably have to be evaluated.

We have been Alaska residents since 2003. Alaska was listed as our home of resident on all our military paperwork. We made an intentional decision not to receive the Permanent Fund Dividend years ago, as we were not actively contributing to Alaska's economy. No judgment for those who did differently, this was our choice. In other words, we LOVE ALASKA.  Who would have guessed that NOT taking the PFD would result in all sorts of issues for us as military retirees? If we'd continued taking the PFD, through the military clauses, there would be no question about our residency. (Maybe the military clauses have changed since we quit taking it in 2006).  The state has some great benefits for Vets (property tax waivers for one) - we can  get none of them until we receive the PFD (which will be 1 1/2 years since our arrival up here post retirement)..... This is getting crazy.....tuition, taxes....we have had all our vehicles registered here for 14 years, the IRS considers us AK residents, the military considers us AK residents, AK told us we were residents - even though not in the state due to military service. Now they say WE ARE RESIDENTS, we just aren't entitled to any in state breaks. Go figure.  It all seems illogical. Why have a way for military members to remain residents if you are going to penalize them when they retire?  We plan to talk with someone higher up - as soon as we figure out who that may be.  I keep wondering if the various officials in the offices we've been to aren't listening. They hear "No, we didn't receive the PFD last year," and their automatic response is, "Then you aren't eligible for tax relief or vet license plate...." One tries to explain why they didn't take the PFD - but there seems to be no comprehension beyond the one all important question - "Did you receive the PFD?" In other words all of AK seems willing to let the guys who work at the PFD department determine eligibility for every other department. I guess it seems a fair and easy bar to judge by - but they can't seem to comprehend folks like us, who qualified but chose not to take it. There is talk of the PFD going away. I wonder how all these offices will determine residency then. ::snort:: Bottom line - we love this state, we'll wait another year and a half for Disabled Vet benefits.

 ANYWAY - they enjoyed the tour, but aren't sure if Nolan will be able to go to college there in the fall - because we aren't paying 17K for out of state tuition when we LIVE HERE. LOL He can pay out of state tuition in many states outside for less than UAA. Nolan may take online college or something until AK determines he qualifies for in state tuition  - as he's schooling through IDEA, I think he will be considered an in-state student. I guess joining IDEA was good for reasons we never considered! Wise choice, Nolan.

It was cold today - all day. No snow...but a heavy frost. In fact the frost never melted in the side yard. There is STILL no snow on the top of our sheltered mountain. It never got above 22* here in our little neck of the woods.

While Nolan and Michael toured college, the rest of us schooled. Stacia filled the afternoon with baking. We found a cookie cookbook for .50 at Bishop's Attic. She's spent many happy afternoons trying out new recipes.  Chocolate, chocolate chips were a  hit....much better than the cake mix cookie variety. ::wink::

In honor of fall, she tackled Chocolate Caramel cookies today. She wrapped chocolate cookie dough around caramels, frosted with a cream cheese/chocolate/caramel frosting, and topped it all with more chocolate.

She topped them with chocolate chips, and after discovering they looked like alien eyes and other assorted things, she switched to grating chocolate over the top. She's 12 y'all. I have at least  six more years of this amazing chef/baker in the house! YES. 

The thing is Stacia will only allow herself two sweets a week. If she uses them up before Sunday, she skips ice cream. She's not TRIED these - others are happy to taste and give her suggestions. One thinks they could use more sugar....other than that....judging by how they are disappearing, I'd say they are a hit.

I need to post a host of recipes......