well, it turns out that the gates millennium scholarship isn't a full ride. it could be, if the family's expected contribution were $0. but they will not cover the expected family contribution -- either student's share or the parents'. that was... disappointing.
the big issue with columbia has been that they have evaluated our ability to pay (that is, our expected family contribution) very differently than one might expect. how they ever thought we would be able to pay $30+k is still not clear to me. the offers have been better since then, but we're still not quite to a level we could actually afford. but we're appealing -- again.
so i guess it's never time to stop praying. thanks for keeping b (and our family) in your prayers.