Yesterday I overheard someone talking about how he was taking classes at the University of Maryland because they offer free tuition if you’re over 60.
My brain IMMEDIATELY began scripting a screwball comedy in which a broke millennial who desperately want to finish his long-abandoned degree but is drowning in student debt pretends to be a senior citizen in order to attend college for free.
I’m picturing someone Channing Tatumesque, applying age makeup every morning before he heads off to class. It’s sort of a cross between 21 Jump Street and Mrs. Doubtfire. He keeps forgetting which hip is supposed to be his bad one. His classmates laugh every time he uses slang. There’s definitely a scene where he attends a college party and busts it up on the dance floor.
He catches the eye of a fellow returning student, a woman in her 50s, but she thinks he’s like 70 and she’s already buried one husband, you know? She’s not interested in doing that again. When his charade unravels (hilariously) at the end of the movie, though, she finds out he’s actually like 30 and has abs you could bounce a quarter off. And he’s still super into her. And really, maybe it’s time she gave May-December romance a chance.
Okay so to refine this concept a little:
Our Hero is stuck in a job where he keep seeing people get promoted past him because they have a 4-year degree and he doesn’t. He can’t afford to go back to school until he finishes paying off his student loans for the degree he’s one semester from completing. If he got the promotion he wants he could pay them off a lot quicker. But he can’t get the promotion without the degree.
Along comes a clerical error in his almost-alma mater’s records which lists his birth year as 1948 instead of 1984. He gets a call from them about their “free tuition for seniors” program. “Wow, that sounds amazing!” he says. “I’ll be sure to tell my, uh, grandpa, as soon as he gets home.”
It’s one semester. If he can keep up the charade, he’ll have the degree, get the promotion, pay off the student loans. Hell, if they figure it out after the fact and come after him for the tuition, he’ll be able to afford it by then. He just needs to pass as a 70-year-old until graduation. How hard could it be?
(also, someone in the notes suggested “Senior Year” for a title, which is PERFECT.)
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