We recently shared a nice little story about Shana Bartell, a young lady bitten by the aviation bug. She also happens to be a divorcee with five kids.
And many – but not all – in the crowd on Facebook and our website feel it appropriate to tear her apart. After all, they know better.
Mind you, not all the comments are negative. But those that are — to be honest make me feel sad.
A few examples from Facebook:
“Her poor ex, whom I am sure is footing a large portion of her lifestyle here as well as what seems to be a very nice home. Not impressed,” says Reagon Moon.
“What financial plan are you using? 5 kids x 5 daddies equals 50k of free money…” chimes in Travis Duane Hinson.
“From the looks of the big house and well dressed kids and able to do all this she must’ve gotten a good divorce lawyer and lots of child support,” offers Brian Gokey.
There are plenty more, but I’m sure you get the idea.
I have one daughter in college and another starting in the fall. As a result, I’m keenly aware of the cost of school, as well as some of the options available to pay for that education.
With a few minutes of digging on the Southern Utah University (SUU) website, the school Shana is attending, I find that tuition and fees total $3,385 per semester for Utah residents. Those fees jump to $10,293 for non-Utah residents.
Shana moved to Cedar City, Utah (home to SUU) in 2014 with her then-husband. So she is likely a resident and enjoys the in-state tuition, which appears to me to be a bargain.
By the way, a quick look at Zillow shows an inventory of nice homes priced below $250,000. Using that measuring stick alone, Cedar City appears to be one of the more affordable places to call home.
Specific to learning to fly, SUU’s Fixed-Wing Pilot Specialization pricing sheet details the cost of learning to fly.
- Semester 1, SEL Solo, 18 flight hours, $5,908
- Semester 2, SEL Private Pilot Certificate, 32 flight hours, $11,373
- Semester 3, SEL Instrument, 36 flight and 14 sim hours, $15,419
- Semester 4, SEL Commercial Phase 1, 52.5 flight and 17.5 sim hours, $18,840
- Semester 5, SEL Commercial Phase 2, 43.5 flight and 6.5 sim hours, $15,765
- Semester 6, SEL CFI, 20 flight hours, $8,905 and SEL CFII, 6 flight and 4 sim hours, $4,488.
That total is $80,698. Of course, for an aspiring professional pilot, a student will need to add on multi-engine training as well. So the final price will be higher.
And for all those fees, there are any number of scholarships available. And for the balance not paid by scholarships, any number of lenders are happy to step in to finance a dream.
I haven’t asked SUU or Shana Bartell how she’s doing it. To be honest, it is none of my business. I’m sure it is a combination of income from a job, scholarships, loans, perhaps alimony.
Is Shana’s path easy? Hardly. Few, if any people, enjoy an easy path in life. Regardless, I fail to understand the need for people to tear into her.
I’m sorry so many have forgotten the age old lesson, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Chin up Shana. May you find blue skies and tailwinds. Not to mention a few more pilots following in your footsteps.