Last night I had a rehearsal with my improv group. We are working up to a public performance and as part of the process we are working on learning new games. One of the new games we learned last night was “He Said, She Said”.

It’s a game of direction. One actor says a line, and then their scene partner adds “…he said while [they make up an action or an emotion].” The person who originally spoke the line must then do whatever was said. Now it is the second actor’s turn to say a line, and after the line is delivered the first actor gets to add “…she said while [they make up something else]” and the second actor must do whatever is said. Sound confusing? Check out this video and you can learn a little more about the game.

and I mean the improv game only…

What’s fun about this game is that you get to take turns being an actor, and a director. At some points you are creating the dialogue (and moving the scene forward) and at other points you get to be the one deciding the blocking or emotional state of the other actor. It’s fun, but confusing. Switching back and forth between Direction and inDirection (see what I did there?) can tire your brain.

Of course if you’ve seen the blog before you should know that this kind of introduction leads to a somewhat connected topic about financial aid. Today is no different. In the world of college expenses, we often talk about Direct vs. Indirect costs, and today I want to spend some time explaining what this means.

Direct costs refer to those charges which will show up on your bill (or your student account statement). These charges will include tuition and fees and may (depending upon your situation) include room, board, books or other expenses that you are being charged by the institution directly. If you live on campus, you will see direct charges on your billing statement for housing and (likely) dining. You may not see charges from the bookstore on your bill if you paid for them yourself or got them from some other source.

Indirect charges are those costs that are part of your COA (or Cost of Attendance) but are not ones that are charged to you from the college or university itself. For example, you will have costs related to your transportation to campus (even if you live on campus, you’ll need to get there at the start of the year, and come home for breaks or at the end of the year). Your transportation cost (gas, wear and tear, airplane tickets, bus fare) isn’t a direct cost you pay the school, but it is a cost you will have to pay during the year, so it counts as part of your COA. If you live off campus, room and board costs (probably for you more like rent and groceries) are also an indirect cost. You aren’t paying the college for these expenses, but you do have to pay them somehow.

Many students get confused about how financial aid can be used to help you pay your indirect costs. If you receive enough financial aid so that your direct costs are covered by your financial aid, any extra financial aid you receive will be sent to you in the form of a refund which can then be used by you to cover any of your indirect costs. The issue here is timing.

Usually refunds aren’t available until a month or longer into a semester. This means you will need to be prepared to pay for your indirect expenses out of pocket until your refund is available. If you aren’t clear on the timing, check with the financial aid office at your school. We know you need the refund as quickly as possible, but there are processes on our side that do sometimes cause delays; working with your financial aid officer proactively can help eliminate those delays.

Also keep in mind that when you receive your refund, you need to carefully manage what can be a large amount of money. Don’t treat it like a lottery win and spend it all immediately. Keep in mind, this is your money for (usually) the semester. Make a budget (more on this later) and stick with your budget. This way you won’t run out of funds before the semester ends.

So, what kind of improv games have you played? What kinds of direction do you appreciate?

I could use some direction from you!!! Have these entries been helpful? What questions are on your mind. Leave a comment below!

5 thoughts on “InDirectIon

  1. Leslie Rodriguez November 21, 2019 / 3:59 pm

    What advice can you give on budgeting your money when receiving the refund from financial aid? Is there any helpful tools or resources that we can use?


    • moneyman November 21, 2019 / 4:07 pm

      Great question, Leslie, and welcome. There are many great programs out there that help you manage your budget. I personally use Quicken since it tracks my expenses, and allows me to create and manage my budget. I would suggest taking a look at to see the programs they recommend. I also suggest checking with your college to see if they have a financial literacy partner that offers tools to their students. Also my next blog entry I plan is exactly on this topic!


      • Leslie Rodriguez November 21, 2019 / 6:23 pm

        Thank you! I am looking forward to reading your next blog 🙂


  2. Anon1104 November 22, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    Mr. Moneyman:

    Re: Have these entries been helpful?

    Yes sir, very much so. All your articles have been enlightening for someone like me who still is no more than a college freshman. And it’s not just the information, the way you connect everything to financial aid is entertaining too.
    I remember finishing my first and second semesters and realizing I had no money left from the refund, but I changed this for the third semester. With a carefully calculated budget I was able to save up over a thousand dollars! All of it coming from financial aid. Basically, thank you for sharing your advice, it might not help me now, but I’m sure it’s invaluable for many other students out there.


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