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karliebug
03-17-2008, 05:16 PM
My DD is an A student, planning on attending a state college (Penn State, local campus).:cool1: We filled out the FAFSA, which said she doesn't qualify for federal aid based on our income.:eek: She received her financial aid letter today which basically says she can take out a loan for $3500 but that we will need to foot the rest of the bill-about $14,800.:scared1: Oh, but we can for a fee of $50 spread it out for 10 months for $1480 per month plus the $50 fee.:rotfl2: How many people have an extra $1480 per month sitting around????:confused3 We have no savings, and lots of credit card debt, a mortgage, a car payment, etc.etc. She has applied for lots of local scholarships but they are for a few hundred dollars and frankly, I don't know if her chances are very good for getting those. I guess I'm just venting, but I don't really know what we will do. She works part time but most of her earnings go to gas money,clothing,etc. She will work full time this summer.I plan on calling the financial aid office on Thursday (when I'm off work) to see if there is anything else they can do for us or if she can at least qualify for work-study. Thanks for listening.

maggiew
03-17-2008, 05:22 PM
Maybe she can try to go to a community college for the first 2 years and work her way through? It is cheaper to go to a CC and it might make it more affordable.

Maggie

Tnkrbelle565
03-17-2008, 05:23 PM
Her letter should have included any work study she is eligible for. Just a tip, wait a little bit until kids start accepting/regecting schools. Call the school (or even better...send it in writing) and tell them that this school is DD's first choice but the financial aid package isn't what she hoped and ask them to reconsider. She may get more $$$. You see, they are offering a bunch of financial aide to kids who won't be going to that school. SOOO, they will have all that money laying around and WILL give more out after the initial letters are sent out. I did this and ended up with more scholarship money AND work study for my top choice school.

bumbershoot
03-17-2008, 05:27 PM
Things might have changed since I was in college, but ALWAYS contact the financial aid people at the college that has been chosen. Each year I sas rejected for financial aid entirely, and each year my mom sent a letter of explanation to the aid office, and soon after that the offers (mainly loans, a few grants, lots of work study) were available to me.

Lisa_M
03-17-2008, 05:28 PM
Having been in your daughter's situation (as millions of other students have been) options are very limited. Even if she qualifies for work study, it really won't make a dent in that bill. Your options other than a payment plan, are have her wait a year and work like crazy to save up money, go to school full time (or part time) and work to try to pay as she goes, take out a Parent Plus loan (federally guaranteed and begin payments after 6 months) or have her take out a private student loan (interest rates are based on credit scores and variable). I went the private loan route and it wasn't the best idea, but the best idea for me at the time.

Is she living at home? You said local campus, I don't know if that means you live in State College, or if she is attending a satellite campus in your hometown. If she can live at home, that would greatly reduce the bill and be my recommendation, even if she has to take a private loan to cover the rest of the bill.

Good luck!

petchie
03-17-2008, 05:31 PM
Maybe she can look at one of the PASSHE schools that are state funded? (Penn State is a public, not a state school even though everyone thinks it is a state school) http://www.passhe.edu

Much cheaper than Penn State!

ajk912
03-17-2008, 05:38 PM
I know this doesn't help your situation, but it just blows my mind that it's just ASSumed by nearly every college out there that parents are able and WILLING to contribute to their children's education. That just blows my mind. Sheesh. My parents couldn't even be bothered to fill out the FAFSA....they say it wasn't worth their time. Guess who had a REALLY rough time going to college because of it? :confused3

EthansMom
03-17-2008, 05:38 PM
Has the college contacted her regarding Merit Scholarships yet? Also, if she has any idea what she'd like to study, she should contact the head of that department at the college and ask if there are any scholarships available for incoming freshmen.

Good Luck!

Mocharilla
03-17-2008, 05:55 PM
Maybe she can try to go to a community college for the first 2 years and work her way through? It is cheaper to go to a CC and it might make it more affordable.

Maggie

This is what I'm doing.

She may not want to do this, but at that high of a cost, it's honestly a better idea.

Remember, her future jobs will only care that she got a BA or BS from the 4-year college and not worry where she got her AA from.

alittlepixxiedust
03-17-2008, 06:02 PM
I'm not sure where you live in PA, but from my understanding if you are a full time employee of Penn State which also includes the Hershey Medical Center your children would automatically qualify for a 75% tuition reduction. I think part time employees also get a reduction but there is a waiting period.

You said the campus is local so this might be worth looking into.

Jeninindy
03-17-2008, 07:21 PM
My DD is an A student, planning on attending a state college (Penn State, local campus).:cool1: We filled out the FAFSA, which said she doesn't qualify for federal aid based on our income.:eek: She received her financial aid letter today which basically says she can take out a loan for $3500 but that we will need to foot the rest of the bill-about $14,800.:scared1: Oh, but we can for a fee of $50 spread it out for 10 months for $1480 per month plus the $50 fee.:rotfl2: How many people have an extra $1480 per month sitting around????:confused3 We have no savings, and lots of credit card debt, a mortgage, a car payment, etc.etc. She has applied for lots of local scholarships but they are for a few hundred dollars and frankly, I don't know if her chances are very good for getting those. I guess I'm just venting, but I don't really know what we will do. She works part time but most of her earnings go to gas money,clothing,etc. She will work full time this summer.I plan on calling the financial aid office on Thursday (when I'm off work) to see if there is anything else they can do for us or if she can at least qualify for work-study. Thanks for listening.


I feel your frustration!!!!

We got the same "financial aid" package. Stafford Unsubsidized Student loan for $1750 per semester at an interest rate which is currently 6.8% with a 2.5% origination fee.....

Thankfully, DS is going to Indiana University, which is a state school, tuition is currently $187.50/credit hour - so for a full load of 15 credits plus assorted fees and books - each semester will be approx $4000. He is paying half of his tuition (sort of - he doesn't know his half is going in a special bank account) and we are paying the "half." Oh and he is living at home for at least the first two years.

We have hunted down just about every scholarship we can find and he has submitted a ton - unfortunately most of the scholarships also have a "need" stipulation, so we shall see what happens.

He has had a tough time in school and has worked his butt off to get where he is - his GPA is 3.6, he has Asperger's and still has an IEP, but has been on his own without special services for 2 years. He has worked part time since he was 15 and does have $8,000 saved so far, but even that counted AGAINST him when we were being analyzed for financial aid. He will probably have another $3000 saved by the time school starts - but that will count against him next year for financial aid. Go figure........have to stop teaching him that work ethic.

Our FAFSA said that we could afford to pay $30,000 a year for college - LMAO, I wish I knew where I put that "EXTRA" $30,000.......Oh wait, I know $10,000 went towards medical bills, looking under the mattress for the rest............

barkley
03-17-2008, 07:29 PM
I feel your frustration!!!!

We got the same "financial aid" package. Stafford Unsubsidized Student loan for $1750 per semester at an interest rate which is currently 6.8% with a 2.5% origination fee.....

Thankfully, DS is going to Indiana University, which is a state school, tuition is currently $187.50/credit hour - so for a full load of 15 credits plus assorted fees and books - each semester will be approx $4000. He is paying half of his tuition (sort of - he doesn't know his half is going in a special bank account) and we are paying the "half." Oh and he is living at home for at least the first two years.

We have hunted down just about every scholarship we can find and he has submitted a ton - unfortunately most of the scholarships also have a "need" stipulation, so we shall see what happens.

He has had a tough time in school and has worked his butt off to get where he is - his GPA is 3.6, he has Asperger's and still has an IEP, but has been on his own without special services for 2 years. He has worked part time since he was 15 and does have $8,000 saved so far, but even that counted AGAINST him when we were being analyzed for financial aid. He will probably have another $3000 saved by the time school starts - but that will count against him next year for financial aid. Go figure........have to stop teaching him that work ethic.

Our FAFSA said that we could afford to pay $30,000 a year for college - LMAO, I wish I knew where I put that "EXTRA" $30,000.......Oh wait, I know $10,000 went towards medical bills, looking under the mattress for the rest............

may be too late for you but just as an fyi-if you have medical bills or expenses due to a medical situation (lost wages due to md appts/days off, perscriptions, co-pays...) you can contact the financial aide adminstrator at a child's college and request that they recompute the fed figures based on actual expenses vs. the set formula they use. this can result in a student becoming eligible to grants they otherwise would not be. i suggested this to a friend whose dh had an unexpected injury that impacted their finances and sure enuf her dd received some grants she was not previously deemed income eligible to:thumbsup2

Vijoge
03-17-2008, 07:41 PM
a She received her financial aid letter today which basically says she can take out a loan for $3500 but that we will need to foot the rest of the bill-about $14,800.:scared1:

I hear ya. They think we can pay $13, 500 :rotfl: and DS can borrow $2700.

Gillian
03-17-2008, 08:09 PM
He has worked part time since he was 15 and does have $8,000 saved so far, but even that counted AGAINST him when we were being analyzed for financial aid. He will probably have another $3000 saved by the time school starts - but that will count against him next year for financial aid. Go figure........have to stop teaching him that work ethic.This is one of the problems for hard working students. Most of what they have saved or what they earn during the year is expected to be spent on tuition.

I've been trying to tell this to my SIL for a while, but she really doesn't believe believe anything I say, even about Disney. :rolleyes: Their FAFSA says they can afford 20k this year.

We're still figuring this all out, our kids are only 4 & 7.

Teacher03
03-17-2008, 08:18 PM
I feel your pain....we are currently trying to figure out how to put our third (and last) through college. We just got one through at a cost of $120,000 (we paid about half), our son will be a senior in college next year, and now we have our youngest. We do not make alot of money. I'm a teacher and I have to go back to school to get my masters (it's required), and we just can't do it. We haven't received her financial aid package yet, but I have been worried about it daily. We know what to expect with our son, but I don't know what we will do with two. I am going to have to get a second job, which I really don't want to do. It is just so depressing...I feel we will be paying for college for the rest of our lives.

MissMommy928
03-17-2008, 08:20 PM
I'll be graduating with my Bachelors in May and my school is 23,000 a year. I didn't qualify for financial anything my first two years, and took out at least 4,000 in loans every semester after just to pay what financial aid couldn't the other 2 years. I"ll be graduating with about 65,000 in debt. Obviously it's not ideal, but at least i have the opportunity to live with my parents and pay off that debt in 2 years. I won't let it accrue that assinine interest they're charging.

Why not go to a community college and then transfer into the state university? It's such a cheaper way to go. Gen eds are just gen eds. You can do them anywhere. Transfer to the university when the credits count towards the degree of choice. You'll save so much money in the longrun!

HaleyB
03-17-2008, 08:25 PM
They expect parents to borrow money to finance their children's education. Not that I think anyone should, but that is why there are parent loans available.

I had to lol when I saw our family contribution for our son 3 years ago. Never in a million years did I think we would be able to pay it, and we can't. But by cutting back as much as possible, in every way anyone has ever suggested on these boards, we have been able to get by without loans. Next year, his last, we will have to sell some stock to cover tuition. As soon as he graduates one of us is getting a new car! Not having a car payment is part of what made it possible for us, that got is about 1/3 of the way there.

In addition to work study the department she is going to may have some non-work study jobs. Mostly those go to Grad students, but it never hurts to ask. If there is anything that is an unusual expense, medical, job loss, anything, let the Finical aid department know. The FAFSA numbers can be adjusted so long as they can show proof of the income loss/expense.

wendy darling
03-17-2008, 08:31 PM
My DD is an A student, planning on attending a state college (Penn State, local campus).:cool1: We filled out the FAFSA, which said she doesn't qualify for federal aid based on our income.:eek: She received her financial aid letter today which basically says she can take out a loan for $3500 but that we will need to foot the rest of the bill-about $14,800.:scared1: Oh, but we can for a fee of $50 spread it out for 10 months for $1480 per month plus the $50 fee.:rotfl2: How many people have an extra $1480 per month sitting around????:confused3 We have no savings, and lots of credit card debt, a mortgage, a car payment, etc.etc. She has applied for lots of local scholarships but they are for a few hundred dollars and frankly, I don't know if her chances are very good for getting those. I guess I'm just venting, but I don't really know what we will do. She works part time but most of her earnings go to gas money,clothing,etc. She will work full time this summer.I plan on calling the financial aid office on Thursday (when I'm off work) to see if there is anything else they can do for us or if she can at least qualify for work-study. Thanks for listening.

Has she thought of trying for a loan with Sallie Mae? I think they are loans for education.

ZPT1022
03-17-2008, 08:47 PM
I know this doesn't help your situation, but it just blows my mind that it's just ASSumed by nearly every college out there that parents are able and WILLING to contribute to their children's education. That just blows my mind. Sheesh. My parents couldn't even be bothered to fill out the FAFSA....they say it wasn't worth their time. Guess who had a REALLY rough time going to college because of it? :confused3

:hug: I was in a similar position- my dad died when I was 11 and my mother had remarried by the time I was off to college. Step "father" was certainly not paying anything for me to go to school but his six figure income definitely hurt my chances. I went to a year and a half of community college because it was what I could afford to pay for. I had wanted to go to a state school which would have cost less than $10,000/year, including room & board. My expected family contribution was almost $20K :rotfl2: Like that happened.

The FAFSA is really screwed up.

OP- good luck. Hopefully you will get somewhere when you call the financial aid department. Search out every source of aid you can possibly think of- your church, your DD's former schools, community stuff, if she knows what she wants to do, try professional organizations for that field of study (which may help with internships down the road too). Good luck to you and to your DD, I hope it all works out for you

Jeninindy
03-17-2008, 08:55 PM
Has she thought of trying for a loan with Sallie Mae? I think they are loans for education.

You cannot just apply for those loans - you have to qualify for them via the FAFSA.......

They tell you what you can and cannot have.....bless their hearts....sorry, bless the computer's hard drive.....

punkin
03-17-2008, 09:00 PM
Yeah, I have a 10th grader and I am scared already. I filled out some FAFSA-type calculator and out contribution came out about $40K per year. :lmao:

Sure, I can afford that if we don't eat. Our mortgage payment is huge but no one takes that into account.

neatokimmo
03-17-2008, 09:35 PM
Anyone can get a student loan, the loan is not based on need. Grants are. OP, call your student loan office and talk to them about it.

There is an additional bonus when you get your AA first. When you need to work part time to complete your BA, you'll make more per hour. I got my "real" job off a AA but completed my BA because my Dad wanted me to (I could of cared less lol) :goodvibes


You cannot just apply for those loans - you have to qualify for them via the FAFSA.......

They tell you what you can and cannot have.....bless their hearts....sorry, bless the computer's hard drive.....

lucigo
03-17-2008, 09:58 PM
When I first filled out the forms we were told we were ineligible, but we went into the financial aid office to see what they had, and he refigured it for us and it turned out she was eligible for aid. We have a very complicated income with social security, VA disability, all kinds of weird stuff so I don't even know if HE did it right but he is the expert so whatever works. I just filled out this years and I'm hoping they are going to be able to make it right again for me this year! Anyway, what I'm saying is, go talk to financial aid, they know what they are doing!

dis-happy
03-17-2008, 10:01 PM
College can be expensive, but do what you have to do to make it affordable. Community college credits are certainly worth a long consideration. Also, is she taking AP classes or are there some CLEP courses she can test out of? That will save on the total bill if she can get credit. My friend's dd took dual-enrollment classes at community college (high school credit and college credit at the same time), then transferred to Chapel Hill as a sophomore plus. That saved her family a lot of money.

Also, I checked the link someone posted and most of the full-time in state tuition costs are $5-6k per year. It seems like it would be affordable if she lived at home instead of on-campus.

Finally, I think you can the Hope credit on your taxes next year...$2500. Not sure of all the details (my dd is a freshman and we haven't done our taxes yet) but that will help too.

When I went to college I worked on campus one year. Not only did it pay my bills, but since I was a state employee I didn't have to pay state taxes, so more money in my pocket. This was in CA, not sure if PA is the same.

APB513
03-17-2008, 10:09 PM
I'm a single mother of two. My oldest wanted to go to a school in IL that costs about $30,000 a year. He was conditionally accepted and was not able to go last fall. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

He is in his second semester at the Community College. I wish he would do another year at the CC and then transfer but he has his heart set on going to the school in IL in the fall. FAFSA said my contribution was something ridiculous. There is NO way I can afford to pay for him to go college. As it is, I'm taking out loans to cover my Grad school expenses.

chris1gill
03-17-2008, 10:45 PM
Things might have changed since I was in college, but ALWAYS contact the financial aid people at the college that has been chosen. Each year I sas rejected for financial aid entirely, and each year my mom sent a letter of explanation to the aid office, and soon after that the offers (mainly loans, a few grants, lots of work study) were available to me.

This is exactly what I did, except I, the student wrote the letter & my aid was always increased to some degree.

The next option is to apply to private schools that might actually offer you a better aid package and thus a lower price per year.... The last option is for your DD to take out loans to pay the balance. I came out of school owing 40 grand.

We've had that tuition payment for each of our kids already, so I do feel your pain and they weren't even in college yet... Now THAT I REALLY look forward too, NOT!

disneyleslie
03-17-2008, 10:54 PM
okay for those of you talked with the financial aid - we are currently looking at a private college - they have already given ds an academic scholarship - he is also trying to get in jazz band for more money - is it possible they would give more of an academic scholarship or would they pull it from somewhere else? It would be great to get it down a bit more.

Leslie

madge
03-17-2008, 10:59 PM
The next option is to apply to private schools that might actually offer you a better aid package and thus a lower price per year....


That's what happened with us. My DS started out choosing between 4 schools, 2 state universities and 2 private schools. Once we did our FAFSA and saw that our EFC = the cost of state tuition, we held our breath to see what the private schools packages included. Our EFC number is higher than I'd like, but it's not completely unmanageable (thank God) and it's considerably lower than the tuition at the private schools. My DS was awarded a nice merit scholarship at each school and that, combined with grants, work study, and a small loan (that we might not even take this year) has kept our costs lower than the state schools on his list. Go figure.

I went into the Financial Aid process with little to no understanding of how the process works. It's quite overwhelming.

dznyacct
03-17-2008, 11:13 PM
Although we haven't received the official financial aid packet from Purdue, I know that we won't get squat!! DS is #3 in his class with a GPA of 4.0877. He has an inept guidance counselor who did not provide information in regards to SAT scores and a FULL tuition scholarship to Purdue :(. He is not terrific at standardized tests, so I talked with her about SAT prep. He took the test once and she said his scores were "fine". If they had been ~ 40 points higher, he would have received an AUTOMATIC $7,000/year for 4 years, scholarship from Purdue :(. I know that I should have done more research, but silly me, I thought it was her job to communicate this type of info to students/parents. It's not like DS's class is huge (~ 60 students) and she can't keep track of everyone. I think our FASFA EFC was ~$22,000. That's fine if we don't eat and cut our house size by ~ 75%! We have applied for over 20 scholarships and so far nothing. I am the "information organizer" and DS gets everything together along with the numerous essays. I'm really getting burned out and frustrated by the rejection :(. We have a few more to do after Spring Break, but all I want to think about for the next few weeks is šoš!!

Thank goodness DS likes us :) and plans on living at home (we're only ~ 10 minutes from campus). Sadly, I am losing my job at the end of the year (after 22 years) so I have to begin job hunting, anticipating a pay decrease to boot. It's kind of pathetic.....I pray every night and the last thing I pray for is for some of the scholarships to come through:(. We'll be OK, I'm sure, it's just so sad that DS has worked soooooo hard for so many years and is penalized because we make too much $$.

phragmipedium
03-18-2008, 02:27 AM
Well, I wrote a huge long post but then I felt silly. :) I used to be a financial aid counselor until this past August, so if you have any questions, feel free to pm me.

LoveBWVVBR
03-18-2008, 06:56 AM
Although we haven't received the official financial aid packet from Purdue, I know that we won't get squat!! DS is #3 in his class with a GPA of 4.0877. He has an inept guidance counselor who did not provide information in regards to SAT scores and a FULL tuition scholarship to Purdue :(. He is not terrific at standardized tests, so I talked with her about SAT prep. He took the test once and she said his scores were "fine". If they had been ~ 40 points higher, he would have received an AUTOMATIC $7,000/year for 4 years, scholarship from Purdue :(. I know that I should have done more research, but silly me, I thought it was her job to communicate this type of info to students/parents. It's not like DS's class is huge (~ 60 students) and she can't keep track of everyone. I think our FASFA EFC was ~$22,000. That's fine if we don't eat and cut our house size by ~ 75%! We have applied for over 20 scholarships and so far nothing. I am the "information organizer" and DS gets everything together along with the numerous essays. I'm really getting burned out and frustrated by the rejection :(. We have a few more to do after Spring Break, but all I want to think about for the next few weeks is šoš!!

Thank goodness DS likes us :) and plans on living at home (we're only ~ 10 minutes from campus). Sadly, I am losing my job at the end of the year (after 22 years) so I have to begin job hunting, anticipating a pay decrease to boot. It's kind of pathetic.....I pray every night and the last thing I pray for is for some of the scholarships to come through:(. We'll be OK, I'm sure, it's just so sad that DS has worked soooooo hard for so many years and is penalized because we make too much $$.

The SATs can be retaken and the combination of the highest scores from both tests is used to calculate total score. Call Purdue (or even better, go there physically because you are only 10 minutes away) and explain the situation to the FA office (or whomever is in charge of the SAT scholarship). I'd actually make an appt. to do this face-to-face, since it's harder to dismiss someone's concerns in person. Ask them to allow your DS to retake the test and resubmit his scores. Emphasize that Purdue is his top choice, but that it is financially out-of-reach for you w/o this scholarship that he WILL easily qualify for when he retakes the SAT. Explain that the guidance counselor gave you bad advice about having DS retake the SAT. Keep going up the ladder until you find SOMEONE who will listen to you, and then have them verify the info in writing. Your DS can make up 40 points at the next SAT sitting, even if you have to send him to an SAT prep course to learn the tricks.

I went to the FA office at my school to argue for more aid for myself and my sister (she was also accepted). Her offer was raised by over 10K/year because I got the FA officer to really look at certain things that they had automatically put in the formula. My sister then got the offer matched by the FA office at the school that she really wanted to attend. She and my mother physically went to that FA office as well. Going in face to face helps.

LoveBWVVBR
03-18-2008, 06:58 AM
Well, I wrote a huge long post but then I felt silly. :) I used to be a financial aid counselor until this past August, so if you have any questions, feel free to pm me.

Why did you feel silly? I guarantee you that everyone on here would want to hear what a former financial aid officer has to say about this topic!

punkin
03-18-2008, 06:59 AM
Well, I wrote a huge long post but then I felt silly. :) I used to be a financial aid counselor until this past August, so if you have any questions, feel free to pm me.

Don't feel silly. Post away. I for one, am dying to know your perspective.

meandtheguys2
03-18-2008, 07:09 AM
Schools have to have money to function. It isn't their job to finance your child or my child's education.

My suggestion is to find a college you can afford.

Joan S.
03-18-2008, 07:13 AM
Things might have changed since I was in college, but ALWAYS contact the financial aid people at the college that has been chosen. Each year I sas rejected for financial aid entirely, and each year my mom sent a letter of explanation to the aid office, and soon after that the offers (mainly loans, a few grants, lots of work study) were available to me.

Hi, From personal experience with my DS at BU definitely CONTACT the financial aid at the college. Call and write!! Good luck! Joan

LisaNJ25
03-18-2008, 07:14 AM
This is what I'm doing.

She may not want to do this, but at that high of a cost, it's honestly a better idea.

Remember, her future jobs will only care that she got a BA or BS from the 4-year college and not worry where she got her AA from.

yep.. My sister did the same thing and my other sister who is graduating HS this year is also planning on doing the same thing.

For most its the only way to afford college these days. I will encourage my kids to do the same thing also.

WendyZ
03-18-2008, 07:16 AM
Don't worry you're not alone....DD first aid package came on Saturday. I can't help but wonder what the **** these colleges are thinking. First of all our FAFSA said we could afford over $22,000 a year for college!:lmao: :scared1: Ummm...WRONG!!!! No one sent a letter telling me where this money is. I certainly have no clue.
Then, her package came from schoool #1...they offered her a $7500 scholarship and a $3500 LOAN. Now a year of school is approx. $25,000. The rest of it is up to us b/c according the wonferdul FAFSA we can afford the above amount.:sad2: With that being said, school #1 isn't her first choice, so that's good. We knew it was probably out of the question, but it doesn't hurt to look. School #2 is her first choice and it's much more reasonable, thank goodness. Plus they have offered her one scholarship with the possiblity of more, we're waiting to hear from them in regards to this.
I knew we wouldn't get any help so none of this is a surprise to me. I told DD a long time ago when it came to college we would be on our own. So our FAFSA was no surprise, in fact DD and I both laughed when the sent us the amount.:rolleyes: It's just to bad for the people who believe that to be the gospel truth, that if someone says they have x amount of dollars for this...they think they do. Then end up in enormous debt, taking out loans etc. That's so sad....they'll never get going in life with all that debt. So yes another venter here as well...DD is our first for college. Needless to say I am learning alot this year.

dvcnewgirl
03-18-2008, 07:20 AM
I had the same situation I wanted to go to a private school, they offered me a 500.00 LOAN!:lmao: :lmao: The rest was to be paid in CASH! So I ended up going to a state school. Anyway we hope to do prepaid college for my children it is only around 90,000 for the 2 of them:eek: . Hey where did I put my checkbook??:rolleyes1 That is why I say hope.. I am glad they are 4 and 1 I have a little while to try to find the $$..:upsidedow

kimsuenew
03-18-2008, 07:23 AM
I would have LOVED to go to a well known, highly revered, private local university (within 30 miles of my home) but could not afford it and had to choose the much lower priced state university (not even the main campus, a branch) nearby, at a mere fraction of the cost. I still have had to take many student loans out and will have a huge debt in the end, but it will be worth it!

If you cannot afford to pay for the college of their choice then your child has three choices:
1. Take out private student loans for his/her college of choice.
OR
2. Go to a local state college, a cheaper branch, or something of that genre.
OR
3. Not attend college until after the parents accountability is over (I think the age cut-off is 23). I know this option stinks, but it may be the only option if their heart is set on the expensive college and it cannot be financed.

It is very expensive, and yes the FAFSA does take parents income into account. If he/she was married, it takes the spouses in, even though they may not contribute to the cost. That is FAFSA simply the rules.

bear_mom
03-18-2008, 07:38 AM
You cannot just apply for those loans - you have to qualify for them via the FAFSA.......

They tell you what you can and cannot have.....bless their hearts....sorry, bless the computer's hard drive.....


You can, I do. I am going back to school and according to the FAFSA dh makes way too much money for me to qualify for any kind of aid. So I applied for loans and was granted them. No questions asked.

Emily

OhMari
03-18-2008, 07:38 AM
3. Not attend college until after the parents accountability is over (I think the age cut-off is 23). I know this option stinks, but it may be the only option if their heart is set on the expensive college and it cannot be financed.

It is very expensive, and yes the FAFSA does take parents income into account. If he/she was married, it takes the spouses in, even though they may not contribute to the cost. That is FAFSA simply the rules.

I wish they would reconsider this rule. Especially if parents don't claim their kid on their taxes.

KelNottAt
03-18-2008, 07:45 AM
In addition to Sallie Mae, there's also http://myrichuncle.com/index.aspx?adv=tpr-mtl.

Also, like the other poster said, I'm pretty sure there are 2 types of federal loans:

Subsidized Stafford loans are need-based, and interest does not accrue on these loans while you are in school, during a six-month grace period immediately preceding repayment, and during authorized deferment.

Unsubsidized Stafford loans are not need-based, and you are responsible for all of the interest that accrues on the loan, including while you are in school.

I believe there are dollar limits, but at least the unsubsidized is not need-based.

Good luck.

taitai
03-18-2008, 07:47 AM
Has she applied to any private schools? Typically, they give lots more financial aid as they are flush with cash from their massive endowments. As I am sure you are aware, all the Ivies are now basically giving a free ride to accepted students with family incomes below a certain threshold ($100K?) and then a sliding fee scale (never more than 10% until another, higher threshold).

taitai

Lisa_M
03-18-2008, 08:28 AM
Well, I wrote a huge long post but then I felt silly. :) I used to be a financial aid counselor until this past August, so if you have any questions, feel free to pm me.

I read your post before it was deleted,it was EXCELLENT. So informative and a good representation of the school's prospective. If you have it saved, please re-post. No need to feel silly. Anyone could benefit from your knowledge

Chicago526
03-18-2008, 08:36 AM
If you go the CC route, just be sure that the credits will transfer to the college of choice, they don't always! The CC counselors can help you figure that out, but be sure you or your kid talks to them about it. Here in IL the CC credits in gen ed will transfer to any state school, but private schools or specialized courses, they may not. Nothing worse thank taking (and paying for) the same course twice!

Toby'sFriend
03-18-2008, 08:41 AM
College pretty much has to be saved for over a period of years and years.
I guess I look at it a little differently

$14k -
Room and board at the dorms is probably $6 to $7k of that

So tuition is what? roughly - $8,000

If the student could pay $3,000 from a summer job, which my 17 year old easily made last summer bagging groceries
Mom and Dad are left with $5,000 in tuition. That is more than reasonable for a Higher education. It is less than what I will be paying to send my son to High School next year.

Then you have to decide about Dorm Living. If you do not have the money, I guess you finance it or make a plan for the student to live at home.

It sounds like your kid has an awesome GPA, it is certainly worth a try to go back to the school and see if there is any more money to be had.

My oldest son is a High School Senior this year and I'm just shocked by the number of times I've heard this conversation of the past month and shocked by the number of pretty solid middle class parents I know that have saved nothing at all for their kid's college.

I think all the articles that have been published lately about places like Harvard and Yale making school "free" for the middle class have really skewed expectations.

girli565
03-18-2008, 08:42 AM
Maybe you could look into private student loans through citibank and chase. They have reasonable rates.

And scholarships?

aka-mad4themouse
03-18-2008, 08:44 AM
Unfortunately, the application deadlines for Ivy League schools has passed for Fall 2008 admissions. And qualifying for admission to those schools is rigorous. Most require unweighted GPAs of 3.8 and above with a heavy load of honors and AP courses, SAT scores of 1400+ and active community service records. Being an outstanding student is not enough. You have to be outstanding among the best students in the country.

I do agree that the private schools do have a lot of money to offer students. However, they also have higher tuition costs. The scholarships mostly make it just as affordable to attend the private school as it is to attend a state university.

DD was offered $20K/year at her 3rd choice school. Tuition is $29,500. Room & Board is another $10K+. So, even with the very nice scholaship, we still have to come up with another $20K every year to cover college costs. And that's only if she doesn't get into college #1 (we're still waiting).

I don't have any words of wisdom for the OP. I live in PA, too and I envy my DSis's kids who live in NJ. In NJ, if you graduate in the top 20% of your high school class, you can attend your local community college for free for up to 5 semesters. After that, if you've kept your grades up, you can apply to any state university and the NJ STARS scholarship will cover your tuition there as well. My neice will be applying to Rutgers next fall for the Spring 2009 semester. And all of her GCCC credits will transfer completely.

mominwestlake
03-18-2008, 08:50 AM
My oldest is a freshman in college so I am just beginning to look at all of this. I understand filling out the FAFSA and they send you your EFC. Let's say your EFC is $14,000 but the school is $20,000. What will happen if anything? How can you get money that doesn't have to be paid back? Sorry if this sounds silly but I've heard 2 types of stories- people who get these great packages and people who got nothing. And what, if anything (besides saving, saving, saving) can we do now to help my dd get money from the college that won't have to be repaid?

daughtersrus
03-18-2008, 08:54 AM
We're in a similar situation.

Our oldest DD (21) is a junior at ISU. She transferred there this fall from the Community College. She wanted to go away to school for all 4 years but we couldn't afford that. (I have a DD with a rare genetic disease so we have a TON of medical expenses). We told the girls that if they go to CC, we will pay for the first 2 years. If they want to go away, we will give them the amount of CC but they will have to find a way to cover the extra costs.


We didn't even fill out the FAFSA forms the first two years because we knew that she wouldn't qualify for anything. We did fill them out when she transferred and her EFC was $17,000. Luckily, she was selected for a tuition waiver through our state for Special Education majors. They will cover the costs of tuition only but the catch is that she has to teach at least 2 out of 5 years after graduation in IL in the field of special education. She has a Federal Student Loan for $5,000 to cover her roam/board and she is on a monthly payment plan for about $100.00/month. We paid for books. We've filled out a ton of scholarship applications but most of them say that the money can only be used towards tuition so she can't get them even if chosen.

I just filled out the FAFSA for this coming year and her EFC is now $13,000 and DD(18 who will go to CC) has a EFC of $9,000. So basically, they are saying that as a family we can afford $5,000 more this year than last! I have no idea where they get that from since our income is about the same and DD(18) made about $3,000 last year. She will also transfer to ISU after her AA but we hope work better with the CC to be sure that she can graduate on time. Although DD(21) transferred with her AA, she can not graduate until Jan 10 because of the observation, practicum and student teaching hours that are needed. We're also hoping that she will also be selected for the tuition waiver.

We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Tigger1
03-18-2008, 08:55 AM
At my childrens school, the majority of the cost was Room and Board. Both of my children shared an apartment really close to campus for about half the cost of a dorm room. They had small grants to help pay books and tuition and loans and part time jobs to cover the rest. My daughters student loans will be less than 15,000 for 4 1/2. The college she is at is well over 10,000 year living on campus. She also has many years of job experience. My son has similar situation but is out of school and working full time where he did his internship during his full college life.

Several of my coworkers purchased a house for thier children at this University. I could not afford to do this, but it worked well for them.

The Tuition at this University is about $200 per credit or $3000 per Semester.
(including fees).

Room and board, sharing a small dorm room $3500 per Semester.

Two bedroom apartments $300 To $600 per month + food and Electricity.

luvdzny
03-18-2008, 09:00 AM
I feel your pain! I am not sure how the arrive at those figures, but I wish they would come and pay my bills for me and show me where the "extra money" is!!!

DS lives in Oregon, he works full time, goes to school full time and has his own apartment. We live in Wisconsin and only help him out occasionally. He provides 90% of his support. When I filled out the FAFSA for him he was still considered a dependent. (This was in December, he just started school in January.) DD took a year off of school due to illness, she would like to attend college in fall if her health permits. When I filled out the FAFSA for her I could not include DS as a dependent!!! Talk about a catch-22.... Right now I am not sure where the money will come from. DD is only able to work part time and once school starts will not be able to work at all because of her illness.

Good luck, I hope you can find a a way to finance your DD's schooling.

Kimberly Hill
03-18-2008, 09:06 AM
My son attends a state school on scholarships and a small loan that he is responsible for, since he chooses not to work heavily during the summer. About 6 weeks into the fall semester the school took the scholarship funds not used by kids who'd chosen other schools and divvied it up among the kids who had received scholarship money and attended the school. Only a few hundred dollars but it was a nice surprise.

Amy Epcot
03-18-2008, 09:34 AM
I work in Financial Aid and this is definitely a hot topic but if you have issues with the aid package that the school sent, go in and speak to a FA counselor! Financial Aid is calculated by completing the FAFSA and some schools also require another form called the CSS Profile which goes a bit deeper than the FAFSA. A note of caution about the FAFSA; it is a government form not a school form. When you have complaints that you don't qualify for anything it is because the government has determined this; not the school.

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but this is the analogy I always come back to; you want to buy a BMW but you can't afford it. Do you go to the dealership and demand that they give you one? Do you complain to your friends about the "audacity" of the dealership to deny your request? No, you investigate cars that are more affordable and that fit into your budget. Same thing with a college, there are plenty that are affordable (especially community colleges) and they may not be your child's first choice but in the end, they'll do the trick and you child will not graduate with $85,000 in debt nor will you be re-paying a PLUS loan well into your 80's.

Mocharilla
03-18-2008, 09:37 AM
If you go the CC route, just be sure that the credits will transfer to the college of choice, they don't always! The CC counselors can help you figure that out, but be sure you or your kid talks to them about it. Here in IL the CC credits in gen ed will transfer to any state school, but private schools or specialized courses, they may not. Nothing worse thank taking (and paying for) the same course twice!

Oh, yeah! Definatly!

Otherwise, they'll have to retake the classes, and that sucks.

Just make logical decisions, and ask a counselor if you're wondering. I was thinking about taking "The History of Grand Rapids" because I was like "Wow, that sounds dumb :rotfl: ", but realized it'd be a waste, and took a regular history class so that it'd transfer.

phragmipedium
03-18-2008, 09:45 AM
Okay, here's my original post. I just felt silly because it's so darn long. :)

I used to be a financial aid counselor for a public university until recently. I can tell you that no one understands their family's expected family contribution - if it helps, it's equally unfair to everybody. :) Unfortunately, with skyrocketing tuition and slowly increasing federal aid programs, it's very difficult for all but the lowest of incomes and highest of student achievers to finance an education without debt. Unless families have been planning and saving for college since their children were small, loans generally make up the bulk of college financing for those who are quite lower-middle-class and up.

The most important thing you can do to try to help yourself is file as early as possible - you can file in January with estimates, and make updates in February after you've gotten a clearer picture. Make sure your FAFSA is *complete* and has been signed by parent and student; read the notes they give you in your Student Aid Report to see if there is conflicting information or something else needed, because as long as your application is "unofficial" you have not met the school's deadline. If your Student Aid Report does not have an Estimated Family Contribution number, it is still unofficial. Contact FAFSA if you are unsure what's wrong with your application or what else you need to do. It's also important to be honest - many schools have edits in place to detect information that seems "off" and select a family for verification, which is a request for taxes and other information to verify FAFSA reportings. Some schools require this information for every student, no matter what. Also keep in mind that your Estimated Family Contribution is not necessarily what the school expects you to write a check for - it's simply an indicator of need that helps the school determine what kind of aid your student qualifies for. Beyond that, it's a pretty meaningless number for practical purposes.

I can also tell you that we *never* increased someone's aid just because they wrote us a letter and asked. We almost always *over* awarded our funds because we had a very good idea from statistics how many of our students would not accept their offers and would go elsewhere. I recall only one instance when we determined in September that we would have significant-enough extra funding in one program to raise the eligibility requirement and award more students; we did this without them asking us as long as they were newly eligible and had accepted their original aid offer.

In other cases, families requesting more aid needed to have information to provide that was not reflected in the FAFSA, because we had to treat everyone equally by FAFSA's determination of need. Because FAFSA doesn't consider "consumer debt," credit card debt was not something we could factor into aid determination. But a family *could* contact us in writing and request that we review their situation if something had changed or something catastrophic had happened.

As you know, the FAFSA asks for information from the prior year - so if something's significantly changed, it's worth it to write a letter requesting review along with documentation. Depending on what has changed in your circumstances, the financial aid office may be able to make an immediate decision, or ask that you wait until later in the year to get a better picture of your total income for the current year (they may do a "base year change" and consider the current year income rather than the prior year income that FAFSA has considered). If you're asked to wait until later, potential changes may not happen until school has already started or sometimes, if the circumstances are particularly complicated or uncertain, you may even be asked to wait until you've filed your 2008 taxes so they can see exactly what changed from from the 2007 information reported on the FAFSA. If a change results, it would be retroactive to the beginning of the year and any additional aid would disburse at that time, but of course it's not something to count on when selecting a school. If they ask that you wait until later in the year, it's generally a good idea to only go with that school if you can handle the aid package as originally offered and treat any potential changes as nice surprises.

Each financial aid administrator has the power to make a "professional judgment" and the scope of that power is pretty far-reaching if it can be justified within the laws, but consistency in the office is what's most important - so a lot depends on the philosophy within your school's financial aid office, their interpretation of the regulations, and how strictly or loosely they adhere to them. They are not required to make professional judgments, and do face having their decisions audited, so their decisions need documentation and justification and must be consistent with similar cases in the office. Some schools make many professional judgments for things that are IMO questionable within the federal guidelines, and others are much more stringent. However, it can never hurt to talk to the office and at least run your situation by them, and follow it up with written requests and documentation if they believe it will might make a difference in your situation.

I do have to say that frequently, even if a request would have been approvable, it still didn't make a big enough impact in the Estimated Family Contribution to make a difference in the amount of aid at all and make the family grant-eligible. Even more painful, sometimes it would have made a big difference if the family had applied by our priority deadline of March 1 (after which all need-based programs except the Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant were no longer available), but they didn't, so the only additional aid was perhaps a $400/year Pell Grant when it could have been potentially about four thousand more in grants that go along with pell-grant-eligibility if they'd applied earlier. All states have different priority deadlines, so apply early and ask with your office - they usually need to have *received* the processed, complete application from FAFSA by that date. You might not think you need aid, but circumstances change within families all the time - file by the priority deadline just in case something happens and you need aid. Even if your special-circumstances request doesn't make you grant-eligible, it may change the loan offered to the student from an unsubsidized loan (accruing interest while they are in school) to a subsidized loan (interest will not accrue while they are in school). The parent loan is always unsubsidized. I should also mention that in many cases that a family's circumstances change and they do suddenly become grant-eligible, it often still leaves a gap in need that would have to be covered by parent loan, private loan, or other means of payment.

Work study is also considered a need-based program, and while the limits are generally slightly higher than the Pell-Grant and accompanying possible grant programs, it's generally not a large sum - perhaps $1500-2500 per year. It can also sometimes limit students because some employers cannot allow them to work beyond their work study dollars due to their budgets; sometimes students can earn more money if they work a non-work study job, or at least find one that can afford to keep them on after their work study funding runs out. One benefit to work study is that when filing the FAFSA, students report the income they earn as a work study student, but then report it again later in the FAFSA as work-study earnings so they are "protected" and the student is not punished for having earnings that were made available to them on a need-basis. At least at the school I worked at, work study funding failed to grow but the number of students qualifying for work study did grow, and we had to reduce the eligibility level and the dollar amount in order to still provide a reasonable allotment to students.

If your child is set on attending a four-year university from the start, you will probably have to finance part of their education with a loan outside of the Stafford loan offered in their name, as you've recognized the relatively low loan limits for federal loan soffered to students. As others have mentioned, you can do this in several ways. You can apply for the parent PLUS loan and see if you qualify. It's a fairly lenient credit check - the few denials we saw were generally for being 90 days delinquent on a credit account or having a bankruptcy in the last 7 years. If you are turned down for the loan after applying, contact your school's aid office because they can make more UNsubsidized Stafford loan available to your student. Not a whole lot, but they can provide for them the same level of Stafford loan funding that they could if the student were independent - an additional $4000/year for a freshman or sophomore, or $5000 for juniors or seniors. You must contact your school to pursue this option if you've been denied the PLUS loan, and ask them their procedure. The school cannot make this additional amount available simply because a parent refuses to apply for the loan, and the additional amount is only unsubsidized even if their original Stafford loan was subsidized. Your student also will not qualify for additional grant aid because this has happened; your information stays as part of the FAFSA calculations even though you do not qualify for the loan. Keep in mind each PLUS loan begins repayment 60 days after the final disbursement for the year; they are *not* deferred payment until the end of college or separation from school like the student loans are.

If you choose not to apply, the student can also apply for a private student educational loan. Most lenders like federal banks offer these loans, as well as lenders like Sallie Mae. These are based on credit for the student and they can generally borrow this amount: cost of attendance - all other accepted aid. Often, students need a cosigner. They may be more likely to be approved by someone like Sallie Mae without a cosigner, though they will likely pay for this leniency with higher interest and more fees. These loans should be deferred until they are separated from school. These lenders generally send the funds directly to the school to pay off any remaining charges and then are disbursed to the student for their expenses for the term. There are private lenders out there who do not contact the school to find out what the student is eligible for and simply lend them whatever the student asks for and send it directly to the student, not the school - these loans are generally not federally backed and will have interest and/or fees out the wazoo. In addition, your aid office will *not* want to know about them because a student is legally not supposed to receive more aid than the cost of attendance (though there are exceptions for students fully-funded by scholarships who also qualify for "entitlement" programs like the Pell grant). These loans are sort of murky water. I would highly recommend your student not try to go that route, and try to live within the means of the cost of attendance in their financial aid statement. If for some reason they have higher expenses, they can go to the financial aid office and talk about increasing their cost of attendance and their private loan certification.

One final option I saw a lot of families taking was to take out a home equity loan because it was better interest than the PLUS loan. I'm no financial advisor and am not suggesting this over other options, especially given the current housing and mortgage situation, but do want to make it known that a significant portion of families went this route and you have to determine if this is the best option for your family.

Please also have your student (and yourself) use a repayment estimator with whichever lenders you choose. Have your student estimate the amount of loans they would take over the life of their education and see what kind of monthly payments they would be able to expect. Will they be able to afford them? Would it be better to take a year off and save some money? To go to a community college for a year? To go to a college in a hometown or a town with relatives and live at home or with family? To go instate instead of out of state? Go part time and work while in school? To consider private schools, which may look more expensive but might have more funding available to award your student? Have your student think carefully about the amount of debt they will accrue, and also consider yourself whether you will be able to make payments on four separate, potentially large parent loans by the time the student is finished with a bachelor's degree.

One final note - this is a busy and stressful time of year in financial aid offices. I can pretty much guarantee you that they are doing the best they can to offer your student what's available to them. Certainly make them aware of situations you think might change your circumstances, but also realize that in most cases their hands are tied by federal regulations and numbers, and try to be respectful even if you are unhappy with your aid package (providing whoever you are speaking with is respectful as well, of course). I started out answering phones in the office before I became a counselor, and I cannot tell you the amounts of obscenities that were hurled at me or the accusations that were made. The state of federal financial aid funding is extremely frustrating for financial aid administrators as well, so try to work with them toward any possible changes that can be made, rather than against them. :hippie:

Hmm...guesss I wrote a book. Guess I miss my job a little bit since we relocated for hubby's career. :) It's a tough job, but occasionally someone would tell me that I was helping them realize their dreams of higher education, and that they'd never thought it would be possible. Getting a hug from a stranger suddenly crying happy tears was pretty cool! :cloud9:

meandtheguys2
03-18-2008, 09:51 AM
I work in Financial Aid and this is definitely a hot topic but if you have issues with the aid package that the school sent, go in and speak to a FA counselor! Financial Aid is calculated by completing the FAFSA and some schools also require another form called the CSS Profile which goes a bit deeper than the FAFSA. A note of caution about the FAFSA; it is a government form not a school form. When you have complaints that you don't qualify for anything it is because the government has determined this; not the school.

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but this is the analogy I always come back to; you want to buy a BMW but you can't afford it. Do you go to the dealership and demand that they give you one? Do you complain to your friends about the "audacity" of the dealership to deny your request? No, you investigate cars that are more affordable and that fit into your budget. Same thing with a college, there are plenty that are affordable (especially community colleges) and they may not be your child's first choice but in the end, they'll do the trick and you child will not graduate with $85,000 in debt nor will you be re-paying a PLUS loan well into your 80's.

:thumbsup2

kimsuenew
03-18-2008, 09:54 AM
Thank you "phragmipedium" for such a valuable post! :flower3: It explained a lot. All of us, ecspecially "newbies" to this whole FAFSA/financial aid "thing" appreciate it! :goodvibes

Todd&Copper
03-18-2008, 10:00 AM
I know this doesn't help your situation, but it just blows my mind that it's just ASSumed by nearly every college out there that parents are able and WILLING to contribute to their children's education. That just blows my mind. Sheesh. My parents couldn't even be bothered to fill out the FAFSA....they say it wasn't worth their time. Guess who had a REALLY rough time going to college because of it? :confused3

Seriously, most parents do help their kids rather than making the kids save up their own money for YEARS (which mine did - I never got to spend any birthday or Xmas money, it all went into the college fund) or suggesting Comm. Coll. to keep costs down, or helping their kids apply for grants and loans. It actually bothers me quite a bit, and it contributes to the "me first" sense of entitlement lots of young adults have now.

leahjade
03-18-2008, 10:06 AM
That's why parents are urged to start saving as soon as their kids are born for college. We scrimped and saved and did without on our lower middle class income to buy savings bonds for our kids. So it really wouldn't be fair to give financial aid to someone who has made more money than us over the years, but never saved for their kids' education. Of course we still don't have the whole thing covered, so our kids will work summers to pay half and will still have to take out some loans. I think people appreciate things more when they have to help pay for them!

Melmac
03-18-2008, 10:33 AM
I'm not too sure how it works in the United States but in Canada some banks offer an "Educational Line of Credit". I was approved for a certain dollar amount every year I was in school (I think it was $10000) that I had access to, if I needed it. It worked like any other LOC but all I was responsible for each month was the interest payment on the money I borrowed (I think it was around 4% of the balance). Payments on the principle of the LOC started 6 months after graduation. The nice part about this type of loan is that I could use the money any way I needed it (i.e. tuition, books, etc). I also had a part-time job and full-time summer job to help with costs. Something like this might work if your DD is set on Penn State. Do they have something like this in the US?

Debbie Jean
03-18-2008, 10:45 AM
I feel your pain, OP, since as a single parent, I am in much the same situation. :sad2: My anticipated contribution was over $20,000! :scared1:

DD (21) went to a CC for a couple of years before transfering to a 4 year private. I was able to pay the CC so only had to resort to loans this past year. I would encourage you to explore any state loan resources that might be available. I took out DD's loans through NJCLASS which are payable over 20 years. The only requirement is that you be "credit worthy". I chose an immediate repayment plan and direct debit from my account so the interest is only 6%, lower than the PLUS would have been for me. The 2% origination fee was also lower.

It's not ideal but at least it's do-able for me. I actually teach at a large State University which DD could attend tuition-free. After much discussion, we came to the conclusion it would not be a good situation for her... but I have to say, it would have made the whole ordeal a lot easier! :rotfl:

Mocharilla
03-18-2008, 10:48 AM
Seriously, most parents do help their kids rather than making the kids save up their own money for YEARS (which mine did - I never got to spend any birthday or Xmas money, it all went into the college fund) or suggesting Comm. Coll. to keep costs down, or helping their kids apply for grants and loans. It actually bothers me quite a bit, and it contributes to the "me first" sense of entitlement lots of young adults have now.

I agree. I hate the sense of entitlement most kids have.

I went to high school in a very rich district, but was personally OOD. I was surrounded by the kids who got EVERYTHING. I had spent my elementary school years in our public school system, which is VERY bad here. I learned to appreciate things and work for them. When I transfered into the FH district for high school, I was shocked at how much kids not only got, but expected. Almost every student had a car, bought by their parents (the oldest cars were '00 at the earliest), gas paid, everything paid, with parents paying for their college and everything. So, all our class stuff was a LOT of $$$, because the families had it to spend. I went on one big trip in all of my HS years, and that was to NYC, because I was in the theatre program. It was $1000, and I WORKED for that. I was actually the only person on the trip (About 25 kids) who paid for it myself. There were kids who went on the NYC trip every year on their parent's dime. It was rediculous. Almost all my friends got a brand new (like, literally BRAND NEW) car for their 16th birthday. DF and my best friend got slightly-used cars for their 16th birthdays, and their parents both still pay gas to this day (both of their parents said they'd pay it through college). My parents said they weren't buying me a car or paying my gas, but I feel was lucky enough that they said that they would pay for my college up until my AA at a Community College. I was so excited for them to do that for me. It was HUGE. When I told my friends, most of them were like "They don't buy you a car for your 16th birthday, and now they're just paying 2 years at a comm college?! :confused: ". I was still ecstatic though!

Anyways, to sum up my rant... kids need to start working for things more!! :sad2:

Traveliz
03-18-2008, 10:56 AM
Okay, here's my original post. I just felt silly because it's so darn long. :)

I used to be a financial aid counselor for a public university until recently. I can tell you that no one understands their family's expected family contribution - if it helps, it's equally unfair to everybody. :)


Hmm...guesss I wrote a book. Guess I miss my job a little bit since we relocated for hubby's career. :) It's a tough job, but occasionally someone would tell me that I was helping them realize their dreams of higher education, and that they'd never thought it would be possible. Getting a hug from a stranger suddenly crying happy tears was pretty cool! :cloud9:

Seriously you need to put out a shingle and work as a freelance consultant for parents -- that has to be a market out there that hasn't been tapped and people would pay for that service.

Very helpful post!

Liz

phragmipedium
03-18-2008, 11:02 AM
Ha! Thank you, TravelLiz. :) I guess I would just feel badly charging for something that families can get for free. Financial aid offices and FAFSA should be willing to answer the same questions for you! I know it's overwhelming and intimidating, but the best way to overcome that is to learn more about it.

If anyone else has any questions, I'd be happy to answer to the best of my abilities - but certainly your best resource and final answers will have to come from the aid office at the school you choose. :) Best of luck!

Green Tea
03-18-2008, 11:02 AM
I agree. I hate the sense of entitlement most kids have.

I went to high school in a very rich district, but was personally OOD. I was surrounded by the kids who got EVERYTHING. I had spent my elementary school years in our public school system, which is VERY bad here. I learned to appreciate things and work for them. When I transfered into the FH district for high school, I was shocked at how much kids not only got, but expected. Almost every student had a car, bought by their parents (the oldest cars were '00 at the earliest), gas paid, everything paid, with parents paying for their college and everything. So, all our class stuff was a LOT of $$$, because the families had it to spend. I went on one big trip in all of my HS years, and that was to NYC, because I was in the theatre program. It was $1000, and I WORKED for that. I was actually the only person on the trip (About 25 kids) who paid for it myself. There were kids who went on the NYC trip every year on their parent's dime. It was rediculous. Almost all my friends got a brand new (like, literally BRAND NEW) car for their 16th birthday. DF and my best friend got slightly-used cars for their 16th birthdays, and their parents both still pay gas to this day (both of their parents said they'd pay it through college). My parents said they weren't buying me a car or paying my gas, but I feel was lucky enough that they said that they would pay for my college up until my AA at a Community College. I was so excited for them to do that for me. It was HUGE. When I told my friends, most of them were like "They don't buy you a car for your 16th birthday, and now they're just paying 2 years at a comm college?! :confused: ". I was still ecstatic though!

Anyways, to sum up my rant... kids need to start working for things more!! :sad2:

This is interesting to read. I don't think my child feels a sense of entitlement, but we do provide everything. He has the car, the computer, the fully paid college. He graduates from HS this year. We didn't fill out the FAFSA because we knew we wouldn't qualify for aid. He has received a merit award from a college which would make the entire tuition/room/board/travel abroad free to us. DH is of the thought that he should make any decision irrespective of costs. If he wants to go to a $45K year school a little more than free school, then he should do it. He thinks money doesn't matter. I disagree. I think the finance of it should play in. DH get annoyed if I try to bring finances into the picture in college decisions when having conversations with ds. He says $ shouldn't factor into the decision. I think $ should be discussed with the student, dh does not. Interesting to read your post. Thanks for sharing your observations. (and yes, we pay all of the gas for the car :( )

meandtheguys2
03-18-2008, 11:09 AM
Green Tea, I agree with you. It is teaching the child to look at the whole picture. I hope your husband sees your point eventually.

We have money saved for our kids college. But if DH and I both continue to work at his U. and my college, the kids could attend them (or their affiliates) for free. That said, the deal is if they go to free school, they get the cash to buy their first home.

Very few fields care about the college after the first job. Aside from networking and bragging rights, it just doesn't matter.

shelly3girls
03-18-2008, 11:17 AM
This is interesting to read. I don't think my child feels a sense of entitlement, but we do provide everything. He has the car, the computer, the fully paid college. He graduates from HS this year. We didn't fill out the FAFSA because we knew we wouldn't qualify for aid. He has received a merit award from a college which would make the entire tuition/room/board/travel abroad free to us. DH is of the thought that he should make any decision irrespective of costs. If he wants to go to a $45K year school a little more than free school, then he should do it. He thinks money doesn't matter. I disagree. I think the finance of it should play in. DH get annoyed if I try to bring finances into the picture in college decisions when having conversations with ds. He says $ shouldn't factor into the decision. I think $ should be discussed with the student, dh does not. Interesting to read your post. Thanks for sharing your observations. (and yes, we pay all of the gas for the car :( )

I see both sides of your situation. I can understand that for many situations there is not a big difference the exact school you attend. For some though it really matters. If a student is looking at certain career fields or graduate programs, the school makes a huge difference in where they will go upon graduation. Some of the top hiring companies only recruit and high level schools. If you don't have a highly regarded school on your diploma they don't even look at your resume.

I completely agree with your argument about sense of entitlement. My parents paid for everything but my spending money which I earned in a summer job. They had the attitude that school comes first, it was my job. As a result I achieved high and was accepted into every Ivy where I applied. I definitely did not have a sense of entitlement, I worked hard! I was able to have a well rounded resume with high grades, sports, extra curricular activities and charity work all of which are needed to be accepted into a top school. I realize not all parents can provide everything for their kids but I think the kids without jobs during the school year have a definite advantage. Of course, what they do with that time is a whole other thread.

Also, CC is not always the best option even though it is cheaper. Although it may prepare you for many schools it will not get you into a top notch / Ivy League school. I know this is not a big concern for many but it really depends on the student's potential and career plans.

MELSMICE
03-18-2008, 11:29 AM
I guess I look at it a little differently

$14k -
Room and board at the dorms is probably $6 to $7k of that

So tuition is what? roughly - $8,000

If the student could pay $3,000 from a summer job, which my 17 year old easily made last summer bagging groceries
Mom and Dad are left with $5,000 in tuition. That is more than reasonable for a Higher education. It is less than what I will be paying to send my son to High School next year.

Then you have to decide about Dorm Living. If you do not have the money, I guess you finance it or make a plan for the student to live at home.

It sounds like your kid has an awesome GPA, it is certainly worth a try to go back to the school and see if there is any more money to be had.

My oldest son is a High School Senior this year and I'm just shocked by the number of times I've heard this conversation of the past month and shocked by the number of pretty solid middle class parents I know that have saved nothing at all for their kid's college.

I think all the articles that have been published lately about places like Harvard and Yale making school "free" for the middle class have really skewed expectations.
Unfortunately, not every college is $14,000, which would include dorming.

My DD's got a decent Merit Scholarship & we are still paying a large amount out of pocket & she does not dorm. She lives at home.

Of course, we could have forced her to go the larger university in the area, however, this was the best choice for her, so I'm not complaining. I'm just stating that not all schools are the price you have quoted.

Ha! Thank you, TravelLiz. :) I guess I would just feel badly charging for something that families can get for free. Financial aid offices and FAFSA should be willing to answer the same questions for you! I know it's overwhelming and intimidating, but the best way to overcome that is to learn more about it.

If anyone else has any questions, I'd be happy to answer to the best of my abilities - but certainly your best resource and final answers will have to come from the aid office at the school you choose. :) Best of luck!
Don't feel bad. Honestly, I'm sure there is a market for your services. Some people don't have the time or the rescouces to do the job you do.

You could work from home, doing something you obviously enjoy & help people. It would be a win, win situation.

A friend of ours hired a gentleman to research scholarship opportunities for his daughter. This is something that I'm pretty sure can be done on your own, but they didn't have the time so they hired someone to do it.

I would seriously look into becoming a consultant to people.

Toby'sFriend
03-18-2008, 11:33 AM
Of course, we could have forced her to go the larger university in the area, however, this was the best choice for her, so I'm not complaining. I'm just stating that not all schools are the price you have quoted.

But that is the case for Penn State, which is the school the OP is talking about - which is also an great school.

Yes, I'll be paying much more than $5000 for my son next year also.

phragmipedium
03-18-2008, 11:35 AM
Don't feel bad. Honestly, I'm sure there is a market for your services. Some people don't have the time or the rescouces to do the job you do.

You could work from home, doing something you obviously enjoy & help people. It would be a win, win situation.

A friend of ours hired a gentleman to research scholarship opportunities for his daughter. This is something that I'm pretty sure can be done on your own, but they didn't have the time so they hired someone to do it.

I would seriously look into becoming a consultant to people.

Hmm...I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to start this, but thanks for the vote of confidence. :) It's also hard to give people specifically helpful advice without being able to view their FAFSA information, as I was able to do as an aid counselor. So far I've just been helping family and friends with kids going into college, but perhaps I'll think about it.

Toby'sFriend
03-18-2008, 11:49 AM
There is a whole industry out there of "College Coaching" that walks parents and students through the whole process from searching, to applying, to paying. Many people are hiring advisors now in the kids 8th grade/Freshman years of High School.

Maybe you could search around and find an established agency that could make use of your knowledge.

Green Tea
03-18-2008, 11:50 AM
I see both sides of your situation. I can understand that for many situations there is not a big difference the exact school you attend. For some though it really matters. If a student is looking at certain career fields or graduate programs, the school makes a huge difference in where they will go upon graduation. Some of the top hiring companies only recruit and high level schools. If you don't have a highly regarded school on your diploma they don't even look at your resume.



Absolutely agree! All the schools he is considering are all top tier colleges, so taking one over the other really isn't an impact. Fit is #1 but he only applied places where he knew he wanted to go. So free vs potentially not free! We won't know until the April notification dates.

madge
03-18-2008, 12:03 PM
My oldest is a freshman in college so I am just beginning to look at all of this. I understand filling out the FAFSA and they send you your EFC. Let's say your EFC is $14,000 but the school is $20,000. What will happen if anything? How can you get money that doesn't have to be paid back? Sorry if this sounds silly but I've heard 2 types of stories- people who get these great packages and people who got nothing. And what, if anything (besides saving, saving, saving) can we do now to help my dd get money from the college that won't have to be repaid?

here's a hypothetical situation:

FAFSA amount:
11500

School B:
Total Cost of Admission: $35,000
(room & board, tuition, and various fees)

Financial Need: $23,500

Financial Aid Package from Private School:
$22,250, including a merit scholarship, various grants, and a $3500 subsidized Stafford loan

The package was weighted 85% scholarships/grants and 15% subsidized Stafford loans. There was a gap of approx. $1250 from the package and the FAFSA number, so that needs to be factored into the Cost of Admission.

Total out of pocket cost: $12750/year (approx)

Dopey420
03-18-2008, 12:57 PM
We have 2 kids in middle school. We have been saving a total of $585/month toward their college education since their birth. This essentially causes us to live paycheck to paycheck. If they intend on going to a private school, this savings won't even come close to covering the cost.

I told them their career path MUST include a high paying salary!!!

We're hoping that they get full ride scholarships. Then we'll retire and buy a trailer and move into Fort Wilderness!!

LoveBWVVBR
03-18-2008, 01:09 PM
We have 2 kids in middle school. We have been saving a total of $585/month toward their college education since their birth. This essentially causes us to live paycheck to paycheck. If they intend on going to a private school, this savings won't even come close to covering the cost.

I told them their career path MUST include a high paying salary!!!

We're hoping that they get full ride scholarships. Then we'll retire and buy a trailer and move into Fort Wilderness!!

We also live paycheck to paycheck thanks to the college and retirement savings. We're saving enough to pay for a private college, but we hope that our kids will use their FLPrepaid plans for undergrad and their 529 savings for grad. Time will tell, I guess.

mla1977
03-18-2008, 02:23 PM
I know when I have kids I won't be paying for their schooling until I'm done paying for mine! I have over $100k in student loan debt.

mla1977
03-18-2008, 02:26 PM
I feel your pain....we are currently trying to figure out how to put our third (and last) through college. We just got one through at a cost of $120,000 (we paid about half), our son will be a senior in college next year, and now we have our youngest. We do not make alot of money. I'm a teacher and I have to go back to school to get my masters (it's required), and we just can't do it. We haven't received her financial aid package yet, but I have been worried about it daily. We know what to expect with our son, but I don't know what we will do with two. I am going to have to get a second job, which I really don't want to do. It is just so depressing...I feel we will be paying for college for the rest of our lives.

If you are going to school yourself, your child will be eligible for more grant money. My Mom was in school while I was in college and I received Pell Grant money. Once she left school the money disappeared from my package.

phragmipedium
03-18-2008, 02:49 PM
If you are going to school yourself, your child will be eligible for more grant money. My Mom was in school while I was in college and I received Pell Grant money. Once she left school the money disappeared from my package.


The child actually will not be eligible for more money just because this happens. When a parent goes to school, the child still reports the number in the family in college as just themselves (or any other siblings in the household in college as well). Parents do not count on the child's FAFSA as someone in college, even if they're attending. However, when the parent fills out a FAFSA for their own financial aid, they do get to include the child as part of the number of family members in college. So - student and parent are going to college. Student reports number in household in college as 1, and parent reports number in household in college as 2. It used to be different, but for quite some time this has been the case. The justification from the feds is partially that often parents are only going part-time, not full-time, and it's less of an impact on the family for a parent to go to school than it is a child. :) Think of that what you will, but them's the rules.

Though, it's quite possible that in the quoted case, the student qualified for Pell Grant money simply because her mother was earning less income due to being a student and that impacted her Estimated Family Contribution enough to make her grant-eligible. That *would* reflect in the FAFSA, though the Pell Grant wouldn't have had anything to do with mom going to school, just the reduction in income.

I have heard of some schools making a professional judgment to factor that extra parent going to college back into the FAFSA calculations. That's one example I mentioned about, in my opinion, some financial aid administrators making potentially questionable professional judgments, because the federal regulations are quite clear on this - parents going to school cannot be reported as part of "number in household attending college" on the FAFSA for the student. I'm not quite sure how a FAA would justify that judgment if they were audited.

Jeninindy
03-18-2008, 02:57 PM
may be too late for you but just as an fyi-if you have medical bills or expenses due to a medical situation (lost wages due to md appts/days off, perscriptions, co-pays...) you can contact the financial aide adminstrator at a child's college and request that they recompute the fed figures based on actual expenses vs. the set formula they use. this can result in a student becoming eligible to grants they otherwise would not be. i suggested this to a friend whose dh had an unexpected injury that impacted their finances and sure enuf her dd received some grants she was not previously deemed income eligible to:thumbsup2


Thanks for your input - we did submit a letter detailing our medical expenses and other expenses, but don't expect anything different....especially since the EFC includes other costs besides the specific college expenses.

Thankfully, we are currently in a position in which I have unlimited overtime if I need it to help pay tuition costs, we have reasonable tuition rates even for a great school (Kelley School of Business at IU) and we have a son who has a work ethic and is ready, willing and able to contribute to his education.

Teacher03
03-18-2008, 04:19 PM
The child actually will not be eligible for more money just because this happens. When a parent goes to school, the child still reports the number in the family in college as just themselves (or any other siblings in the household in college as well). Parents do not count on the child's FAFSA as someone in college, even if they're attending. However, when the parent fills out a FAFSA for their own financial aid, they do get to include the child as part of the number of family members in college. So - student and parent are going to college. Student reports number in household in college as 1, and parent reports number in household in college as 2. It used to be different, but for quite some time this has been the case. The justification from the feds is partially that often parents are only going part-time, not full-time, and it's less of an impact on the family for a parent to go to school than it is a child. :) Think of that what you will, but them's the rules.

Though, it's quite possible that in the quoted case, the student qualified for Pell Grant money simply because her mother was earning less income due to being a student and that impacted her Estimated Family Contribution enough to make her grant-eligible. That *would* reflect in the FAFSA, though the Pell Grant wouldn't have had anything to do with mom going to school, just the reduction in income.

I have heard of some schools making a professional judgment to factor that extra parent going to college back into the FAFSA calculations. That's one example I mentioned about, in my opinion, some financial aid administrators making potentially questionable professional judgments, because the federal regulations are quite clear on this - parents going to school cannot be reported as part of "number in household attending college" on the FAFSA for the student. I'm not quite sure how a FAA would justify that judgment if they were audited.

I actually went to college the first time when my oldest was a senior in high school. So we were in college at the same time for a year. I thought she might get extra money, but she didn't and I didn't. It does help that we will have two in college next year, but not much.

mla1977
03-18-2008, 04:46 PM
The child actually will not be eligible for more money just because this happens. When a parent goes to school, the child still reports the number in the family in college as just themselves (or any other siblings in the household in college as well). Parents do not count on the child's FAFSA as someone in college, even if they're attending. However, when the parent fills out a FAFSA for their own financial aid, they do get to include the child as part of the number of family members in college. So - student and parent are going to college. Student reports number in household in college as 1, and parent reports number in household in college as 2. It used to be different, but for quite some time this has been the case. The justification from the feds is partially that often parents are only going part-time, not full-time, and it's less of an impact on the family for a parent to go to school than it is a child. :) Think of that what you will, but them's the rules.

Though, it's quite possible that in the quoted case, the student qualified for Pell Grant money simply because her mother was earning less income due to being a student and that impacted her Estimated Family Contribution enough to make her grant-eligible. That *would* reflect in the FAFSA, though the Pell Grant wouldn't have had anything to do with mom going to school, just the reduction in income.

I have heard of some schools making a professional judgment to factor that extra parent going to college back into the FAFSA calculations. That's one example I mentioned about, in my opinion, some financial aid administrators making potentially questionable professional judgments, because the federal regulations are quite clear on this - parents going to school cannot be reported as part of "number in household attending college" on the FAFSA for the student. I'm not quite sure how a FAA would justify that judgment if they were audited.

My example was from 10 or 11 years ago, so it was probably when they were taking that into consideration. I was told specifically by my FA Dept that that was why I was no longer getting the Pell Grant.

phragmipedium
03-18-2008, 05:10 PM
My example was from 10 or 11 years ago, so it was probably when they were taking that into consideration. I was told specifically by my FA Dept that that was why I was no longer getting the Pell Grant.

You may definitely be correct then. I'm pretty fresh out of college myself, just 25, so I was only in the office for a couple of years. :) I do remember our associate director telling me that the change in parental consideration had been around "a long time," but that's not very specific. :)

Vijoge
03-18-2008, 06:00 PM
Yeah, I have a 10th grader and I am scared already. I filled out some FAFSA-type calculator and out contribution came out about $40K per year. :lmao:

Sure, I can afford that if we don't eat. Our mortgage payment is huge but no one takes that into account.


, if you could afford $40,000 a year you wouldn't be filling out the FAFSA!!

Vijoge
03-18-2008, 06:04 PM
Unsubsidized Stafford loans are not need-based, and you are responsible for all of the interest that accrues on the loan, including while you are in school.

I believe there are dollar limits, but at least the unsubsidized is not need-based.

Good luck.

Yes, there are limits. The max DS could borrow his freshman year was $2700.

Green Tea
03-19-2008, 04:27 AM
Interesting (:confused3 ) situation developed here overnight. Merit award from one school was increased by a bit, and school wants the answer on acceptance in a couple of weeks. We won't get all the answers from other schools until April, one mailed as late as April 5, and the date is prior to the accepted applicants weekend. Surely FA offices grant extensions on acceptance of awards on occasion, don't they phragmipedium? The notification date for scholarship acceptance conflicts with the date for acceptance of offer of admissions.

daughtersrus
03-19-2008, 08:23 AM
Yes, there are limits. The max DS could borrow his freshman year was $2700.

I think that the limits have increased a bit. I found this on Staffordloan dot com
The limit for the academic year beginning in 2007 is $3,500 per year for freshman undergraduate students, $4,500 for sophomore undergrads, and $5,500 per year for junior and senior undergrads.

I don't know if there will be an increase for 2008-2009

irisbud
03-19-2008, 08:37 AM
Having been in your daughter's situation (as millions of other students have been) options are very limited. Even if she qualifies for work study, it really won't make a dent in that bill. Your options other than a payment plan, are have her wait a year and work like crazy to save up money, go to school full time (or part time) and work to try to pay as she goes, take out a Parent Plus loan (federally guaranteed and begin payments after 6 months) or have her take out a private student loan (interest rates are based on credit scores and variable). I went the private loan route and it wasn't the best idea, but the best idea for me at the time.

Is she living at home? You said local campus, I don't know if that means you live in State College, or if she is attending a satellite campus in your hometown. If she can live at home, that would greatly reduce the bill and be my recommendation, even if she has to take a private loan to cover the rest of the bill.

Good luck!

One other option (and I hope she dosen't have to do this, I wish I hadn't had to: I had to wait until I was 24 and elgible for federal aide on my own. I was straight A / top 5% ACT as well, but the aid wasn't enough and my parents were completely unwilling to help for some reason (don't know if they couldn't or didn't want to :confused3 ). They made WAY too much to qualify, so I started school when I turned 24 and had it nearly all funded through fed aid and subsidized loans. I hated to have to wait so long, but I had no choice as they didn't want to cosign a loan either as mom dosen'y believe in loans :rolleyes:

Good luck!

madge
03-19-2008, 08:46 AM
Interesting (:confused3 ) situation developed here overnight. Merit award from one school was increased by a bit, and school wants the answer on acceptance in a couple of weeks. We won't get all the answers from other schools until April, one mailed as late as April 5, and the date is prior to the accepted applicants weekend. Surely FA offices grant extensions on acceptance of awards on occasion, don't they phragmipedium? The notification date for scholarship acceptance conflicts with the date for acceptance of offer of admissions.

One of our award packages specifically says to send a written letter for an extension. (Which reminds me, I need to do that today!) It can't hurt to call the FA office!

merryweather's twin
03-19-2008, 09:47 AM
Are any of your kids in a long term relationship? I got married right out of high school to my DH (he was 2 years older) in order to afford collage. Our parent were all for it. We have had to pay for all of our school without parent help and we came out on the other side of collage with only $7000. in debt total for 4 years for me and a masters for him....
We worked as a team and I think it made us stronger. It also saved our families well over $100,000. That they did not have. I mean if kids are willing to go in the military to pay for school and wait until their parents income no longer counts and even go to a lesser collage that will effect their earning potential in the long run why not marry their high school sweetheart? I guess I was lucky but I knew DH for 3 years before and it made my life much better and took the pressure off my parents and his Mom. We have been together 17 years now and are happy. I am not saying they should marry just anyone but if you have kids that are waiting to get married until after collage it may be an answer.

crisi
03-19-2008, 09:59 AM
Something that hasn't really been mentioned. There are states that have reasonable four year college programs - even for out of state students. North Dakota comes to mind. So if you are looking at $25k for your local state school, consider an out of state school. Yes, its North Dakota - but on the plus side they'll probably learn to help birth cows as well as write a research paper.

Note that "reasonable" isn't "free." Its still two plus decent new cars worth of tuition.

Gillian
03-19-2008, 10:21 AM
I don't have any words of wisdom for the OP. I live in PA, too and I envy my DSis's kids who live in NJ. In NJ, if you graduate in the top 20% of your high school class, you can attend your local community college for free for up to 5 semesters. After that, if you've kept your grades up, you can apply to any state university and the NJ STARS scholarship will cover your tuition there as well. My neice will be applying to Rutgers next fall for the Spring 2009 semester. And all of her GCCC credits will transfer completely.This is good to know. It's also interesting for me because at some local high schools my kids would be crushed while at others they would do well (as far as rank). Some of the public high schools around here are super competetive!

The other thing I'd worry about is the difficulty level of some community colleges. Ours (Mercer) seemed very easy when I took summer classes there.

My nephew lives in PA and wants to go to school in NJ. His parents are letting him choose, so they're ending up with a higher bill than they would have at some PA schools where he was accepted.

phragmipedium
03-19-2008, 11:27 AM
Green Tea - whether or not there are extensions really depends on the school's policies, so you should definitely call the office to see if the offer must be accepted by a certain date or not.

In our office, for example, we did send out letters about scholarships asking students to sign and return by a certain date, or indicate that they were going elsewhere. However - as soon as we input the scholarship for that student, we automatically marked it as "accepted" and only changed that if they returned the form to tell us if they were going elsewhere. We did not award scholarships on a rolling basis; we awarded our funds for the year and if we ended up having more cancel than anticipated, the funds just stayed in the same account for next year. Students did not lose the scholarship they were awarded even if they forgot to return the acceptance form.

For other forms of aid, the award letter did have a date on the bottom by which families were to respond - usually 45 days out from the date the letter was printed. The Stafford and PLUS loans were always available even after that date, as well as Pell grants if the student had that as part of their package. However, if our funding for other grant programs was particularly tight, we set a time usually in late July where we would begin to "purge" the tight grant aid from awards of those who had not been accepted yet, with the assumption they had chosen another school without letting us know.

Bottom line is, every school does things a little bit differently, so you should definitely call them and ask for the policy. Also ask for the name of who you speak with, and if it's possible for them to note your request in your student's account - just in case you get a "Yes, extensions are fine" answer and hear something different later from someone else.

Green Tea
03-19-2008, 03:17 PM
I sent an email asking so I would have the written response. No problem. Come and enjoy the visit, then turn the letter in after. So I am less stressed again. The whole thing was kind of surprising. The merit award was for more than the initial offer said, then a 3 week acceptance/rejection request. 3 weeks is not a long time when all the other schools don't send admit decisions for 2 more weeks! Thanks for your help!

Sarah'sMomfrom PA
03-19-2008, 06:28 PM
Phragmipedium....I can't pm you but I would love to ask you some questions about the FAFSA form and if I should contact DD choice of college (entering in September) and I have a question on a payout that my husband received when he first collected SS disability but it is showing as income on the FAFSA form...should I send a letter to the college to explain this to them since we will not receive this lump sum payment every year (we went without income for 1 1/2 years until the determination was made). Could you please pm me so I can answer you. Thanks! Mary Jo

phragmipedium
03-19-2008, 07:21 PM
Phragmipedium....I can't pm you but I would love to ask you some questions about the FAFSA form and if I should contact DD choice of college (entering in September) and I have a question on a payout that my husband received when he first collected SS disability but it is showing as income on the FAFSA form...should I send a letter to the college to explain this to them since we will not receive this lump sum payment every year (we went without income for 1 1/2 years until the determination was made). Could you please pm me so I can answer you. Thanks! Mary Jo

Mary Jo,

Yes, if you've received something lump-sum that is not recurring income, you should definitely contact your college's aid office and ask to speak with a counselor about your situation. I hesitate to give you more information than that, because they'll want to look at your actual FAFSA record and determine how to handle your situation - there's a few routes they might take. And of course, whatever they do would be a professional judgment, which is not something that they are required to do - but I hope that they would be willing to do so if it's documentable and justifiable, and makes a difference in your daughter's aid. Schools have different policies on how to handle things like this, but I'd highly recommend you gather up any documentation you have, make your written request for consideration of special circumstances because they will probably want this for the file, and contact the school as well to ask what else they might need from you.

One other thing - often, a school will not process a special circumstances consideration unless the student has already accepted their aid package (this doesn't mean necessarily accepting the loans if you don't want them, but indicating that she will be attending the school and "accepts" the offer they've made.) You can always decline the aid package later in writing if she decides not to go, so if this is DD's first choice make sure to ask the school if there's anything else you need to do to have her request considered. Best of luck to you!

ExPirateShopGirl
03-19-2008, 08:36 PM
I will probably be flamed... however...

doesn't anyone save for college? I see a couple who mentioned they did, but otherwise I see a LOT of parents upset about the amount of money the schools expect them to contribute. I am disheartened by the number of people who don't or haven't saved a penny when, in fact, you've known this day was coming since the stick turned blue! This is where sacrifice comes in; things like not taking a vacation every year, even though you feel you deserve one, choosing Pop over GF even if your credit card limit allows a stay at the GF, buying a Honda instead of an Escalade, even if the salesman says you qualify. These are the choices we make throughout our adult lives that can help or hurt our kids in the long run, when it comes time to pay for the thing that really matters... the education!

Just like those commercials on TV where the savings waddles through the living room... you must make saving and savings a part of your life.

end of rant... :goodvibes

phragmipedium
03-19-2008, 08:58 PM
I will probably be flamed... however...

doesn't anyone save for college? I see a couple who mentioned they did, but otherwise I see a LOT of parents upset about the amount of money the schools expect them to contribute. I am disheartened by the number of people who don't or haven't saved a penny when, in fact, you've known this day was coming since the stick turned blue! This is where sacrifice comes in; things like not taking a vacation every year, even though you feel you deserve one, choosing Pop over GF even if your credit card limit allows a stay at the GF, buying a Honda instead of an Escalade, even if the salesman says you qualify. These are the choices we make throughout our adult lives that can help or hurt our kids in the long run, when it comes time to pay for the thing that really matters... the education!

Just like those commercials on TV where the savings waddles through the living room... you must make saving and savings a part of your life.

end of rant... :goodvibes


:) People have different philosophies on whether or not they should be expected to contribute to their children's education. It's a controversial subject, but I think sometimes people forget that financial aid is there to help people finance an education - but for the most part, college isn't free and it does cost money. A lot of money.

I have heard many, many people tell me that they didn't qualify for any financial aid, but the truth is practically everyone qualifies for aid if they do the FAFSA (unless they have problems with the drug question, are international students, etc). It's just that sometimes that aid is only federal student and parent loans, which are not attractive to many people, especially those teetering just above the grant-eligibility levels. But they *are* financial aid, and they are offered to help finance an education if it has not been saved for and families have no other means to pay for it out of pocket. The student loans are guaranteed, which is helps students with no work history, credit, or job who would have a hard time otherwise qualifying for a loan on their own - and the parent PLUS loan has quite a lenient credit check, not based on credit score or income/debt ratio, that helps families borrow who might not otherwise be able to. For every ten parents or students that would call me distraught or angry that they only had loans, I would get a call from a parent who was just delighted and in tears, thrilled that they had been offered a way to fully finance their child's education - through Stafford and PLUS loans only! And the interesting thing was that the latter more often than not had quite a low Estimated Family Contribution, just out of grant range, and some of the angriest families had quite high EFCs. It's so interesting how the same news and aid package can be received so differently by people - everyone handles their money differently and has their own set of circumstances. Families and students have a lot of difficult decisions to make when it comes to college, especially if they have not saved and do not earn enough to pay out of pocket comfortably, but earn too much for need-based gift aid.

Green Tea
03-20-2008, 04:41 AM
:) - but for the most part, college isn't free and it does cost money. A lot of money.



Great sentence. I will remember this when we discuss options after April 1 when ds is debating free school vs others that will likely not be free schools. You are right. We knew it wouldn't be free (this one option that is is a great opportunity, but the choice should still be his) and if ds wants one of the ones that isn't, I should be happy that he has found a place he can call home.:)

ekmom
03-20-2008, 06:32 AM
I will probably be flamed... however...

doesn't anyone save for college? I see a couple who mentioned they did, but otherwise I see a LOT of parents upset about the amount of money the schools expect them to contribute. I am disheartened by the number of people who don't or haven't saved a penny when, in fact, you've known this day was coming since the stick turned blue! This is where sacrifice comes in; things like not taking a vacation every year, even though you feel you deserve one, choosing Pop over GF even if your credit card limit allows a stay at the GF, buying a Honda instead of an Escalade, even if the salesman says you qualify. These are the choices we make throughout our adult lives that can help or hurt our kids in the long run, when it comes time to pay for the thing that really matters... the education!

Just like those commercials on TV where the savings waddles through the living room... you must make saving and savings a part of your life.

end of rant... :goodvibes


Thank you for saying what I've been thinking as I read through this thread!

nowellsl
03-20-2008, 06:53 AM
I will probably be flamed... however...

doesn't anyone save for college? I see a couple who mentioned they did, but otherwise I see a LOT of parents upset about the amount of money the schools expect them to contribute. I am disheartened by the number of people who don't or haven't saved a penny when, in fact, you've known this day was coming since the stick turned blue! This is where sacrifice comes in; things like not taking a vacation every year, even though you feel you deserve one, choosing Pop over GF even if your credit card limit allows a stay at the GF, buying a Honda instead of an Escalade, even if the salesman says you qualify. These are the choices we make throughout our adult lives that can help or hurt our kids in the long run, when it comes time to pay for the thing that really matters... the education!

Just like those commercials on TV where the savings waddles through the living room... you must make saving and savings a part of your life.

end of rant... :goodvibes


I wouldn't flame you for a second! You are absolutely right!

karliebug
03-20-2008, 07:01 AM
My DD qualified for $3500 in federal loans and is supposed to come up with the additional $14,800 herself. She is 17. She works part time and recently most of her paycheck has been going for gas. We do have some saved, but we also have 2 younger children. If she was the only one, I might be tempted to take out a home equity loan to help her finance her education, but that would but us even more in debt. She has applied for many local scholarships so we'll see how that goes. I do think that the government should make college more affordable for those who are good students. If you are truly needy, you get aid and if you are rich you don't need aid but for those of us stuck in the middle it is a huge expense. I drive a van with 97,000 miles on it and have never stayed at the GF. We live paycheck to paycheck and don't live lavishly.

crisi
03-20-2008, 07:06 AM
To be fair "they grow up so fast" and "you'll never have kids if you wait until you can afford them." Its easy to have kids when you are fairly young and money is tight....you'll start a college fund when you aren't searching up change from the couch for diapers. You start making a little more money, and rather than putting that money towards college - you'll do that tomorrow - you decide to reward yourself for the hard work that got you that promotion with a new car. Life happens, another baby arrives, and you manage to put off starting that college fund another year. Your kid is now ten and you know you NEED to start saving - but he really wants to play travelling baseball - and he's pretty good - and that's expensive.

Your kid goes off to college and - if you had your kids when you were in your mid 20s - they head off right as you hit your peak earning years - but you didn't make that much money until just a few years ago - how could you have saved that much. You've managed to save some - a few hundred here and there - but now you look at tuition for the first time since you went and say $20k a year!

Toby'sFriend
03-20-2008, 07:11 AM
I do think that the government should make college more affordable for those who are good students.

But the governments do make college very affordable. I'm sure there is a Community College very close to you.

crisi
03-20-2008, 07:11 AM
I do think that the government should make college more affordable for those who are good students.

Do you really want your taxes increased so that college is more affordable for someone else's kid? Because you'll pay one way or another - either she pays for her education, or you pay in taxes for everyone else's. Personally, this is one area where I'd rather see government make reasonable efforts - like providing state schools that are half the cost of private colleges, or community colleges, to making school affordable - but not making it free - or even cheap. They already provide state schools and community colleges.

meandtheguys2
03-20-2008, 07:14 AM
Do you really want your taxes increased so that college is more affordable for someone else's kid? Because you'll pay one way or another - either she pays for her education, or you pay in taxes for everyone else's. Personally, this is one area where I'd rather see government make reasonable efforts - like providing state schools that are half the cost of private colleges, or community colleges, to making school affordable - but not making it free - or even cheap. They already provide state schools and community colleges.

:thumbsup2

It isn't as though schools are raking in the profits. It costs a lot to run a campus.

Gillian
03-20-2008, 07:19 AM
Great sentence. I will remember this when we discuss options after April 1 when ds is debating free school vs others that will likely not be free schools. You are right. We knew it wouldn't be free (this one option that is is a great opportunity, but the choice should still be his) and if ds wants one of the ones that isn't, I should be happy that he has found a place he can call home.:)
I agree with your earlier opinion on this, that the cost matters and should be factored into the decision. It's likely that your son will be happy no matter where he goes. He will find friends and a niche for himself. I don't know the schools he's considering, but sometimes a big school is better than a small one because it's easier to find a group for yourself. A small school can be easier to navigate, and more friendly. A big school may have more services and choices.

My parents let me choose the school and didn't try to influence me at all. I wish they had, because I would have made a different decision and still been happy. They would have spent less money, too! I didn't choose the most expensive school, so they were happy, but a state school would have been better for several reasons.

I think it's a big decision for an 18 year old to make, especially if they're not paying for it.

That nephew I've mentioned before is going to a state school, but not in his own state. To me, that seems silly, as he will be paying more than most of the other people there. It would irk me to no end to be paying full price when others have a discount code. :)

Pigeon
03-20-2008, 07:31 AM
Do you really want your taxes increased so that college is more affordable for someone else's kid? Because you'll pay one way or another - either she pays for her education, or you pay in taxes for everyone else's. Personally, this is one area where I'd rather see government make reasonable efforts - like providing state schools that are half the cost of private colleges, or community colleges, to making school affordable - but not making it free - or even cheap. They already provide state schools and community colleges.


I work at a state university. The amount that the state contributes to higher education in my state has plummeted in the last 15 years. Tuition has gone up accordingly.

Yes, I do think the government should be investing more in higher education, and yes, I wouldn't mind a tax increase to fund it.

luvavacation
03-20-2008, 08:06 AM
So what do you do when you have a child that wants a career in a field that not many colleges offer? And the colleges that do offer that major are running around $35,000 for room and board and fees? Not counting transportation?

My daughter has wanted to be an entomologist (study of bugs) since she was 2 years old. Not many schools offer it. The only state school we have that does offer it will still run us $28,000+ per year. I highly doubt we will qualify for any "free" money. My daughter has been working hard in school so that she can try for scholarships, and is in the top 10% of her class, but she has to actually work for her grades, so schools may not look at her as scholarship material since she has not been "straight A's", although she does take honors courses. Our state school is also very competitive, and has already stated to us that it may not necessarily take local college course credit because their curriculum is much tougher, and it would not be fair to the student. Out-of-state schools that she is looking at offer no guarantee that her community college credits will be accepted. This is a bummer, since my daughter is going to high school in the morning and community college in the afternoon, hoping to graduate high school with 20 credit hours, thinking this would help in affording college. Even if her credits were accepted, we would still be looking to pay over $90,000 for 3 years!

Perhaps we made a mistake because my husband and I felt it was most important for him to work long hours so that I could stay home with our children. I don't regret this at all, for my joy in life has been raising my daughters (and their friends that rely on me since their own parents are not always fortunate enough to be able to take off of work). I have helped the family where I could, dog walking and working as an outside travel agent, but still, my husband's income is what we live on. We have always lived frugally, no McDonald's, rarely eating out, I don't shop at Nieman Marcus or Von Maur, we drive 10 and 11 year old vehicles, we have the smallest home in our subdivision, but we live in an area with a good school district, so we are ok with that.

We may have made another mistake in thinking that family trips were important. I felt it was beneficial for us to spend time away from the stresses of school and home life and enjoy being together in different places. I have shown my children many parts of this world (not just Epcot:) ) so that they can realize they are part of something bigger than just their own little part of America. From so many posts here, I was wrong to make staying home and vacations an important thing in our lives. Yet, I have 2 daughters that know geography and understand the political systems in many countries and realize that "one size fits all" does not always work in government, and most importantly, my daughters understand that what they do can have an impact on others, be it a smile to a small child sitting next to a stall on a dirt road in some far-off country to recycling in hopes of saving the Arctic ice for the polar bears (which is what my youngest plans on doing for her career). But being aware of one's place in this world does not pay for college, unfortunately!

I have two daughters. One after the other will be off to college. I do not know how we will afford this. I believe it is wrong to be expected to take all my equity out of my home and drain our savings to pay for one daughter's college, then having nothing left for the other daughter. There is something wrong when people that make their family a priority are unable to send their daughter to a school that will provide her with an education in the field that she has been dreaming of since she was two years old!

I do not know what the solution is. We have friends that are already sending their children to college, and they tell us to empty our bank accounts and put the money into pop-up campers because you can always sell those. Not feasible where we live, but it works for that family! Another family tells us to take the money out of savings and put it into a safety deposit box, or give it to my parents and have them hold it in their name. I don't know. We have some money saved for both girls, we always thought college would be more affordable (it has been years since DH and I have attended!) and that the money saved would be there for our girls when they graduated, to help them begin their lives. We were wrong.

So my DH and I sit here, worrying over college for our daughters. Yet, we continue to live as we have been, saving where we can but yet using some money to enjoy our lives and spend time with our daughters while they are still home. A few of our friends say that they paid their own way through college, their parents didn't help, and they appreciated their education that much more. Guess we could do that. Nowhere is it written that parents must provide an education beyond 16. Yet, that doesn't seem like the perfect answer for us, either.

Many times, I wish the U.S. school system valued their children and the education system more. I come from a country where college is free. However, you pay big taxes to provide that (and other things). I live in America though, this is where my children were born, and struggling to provide your children with a good education so that they can have a good future is the American way now. At least, that is how my friends and I look at it. I wish it was easier, I wish I had answers for school, I wish my daughter was valedictorian!;) Instead, I shall keep hoping that someone here finds the answer.

meandtheguys2
03-20-2008, 08:12 AM
Many times, I wish the U.S. school system valued their children and the education system more. I come from a country where college is free. However, you pay big taxes to provide that (and other things). I live in America though, this is where my children were born, and struggling to provide your children with a good education so that they can have a good future is the American way now. At least, that is how my friends and I look at it. I wish it was easier, I wish I had answers for school, I wish my daughter was valedictorian!;) Instead, I shall keep hoping that someone here finds the answer.

Why should the US school system value your child's education more than you do? You are making your priorities. They aren't your child's college and career. But you want/wish for others to pick up the tab! Good grief.

My mom couldn't afford to send us to college, so we all worked for our degrees. We took out loans, and have paid them. Personally. My life, my responsibility. Life isn't easy.

Disneyoverload42
03-20-2008, 08:16 AM
Honestly, I didn't read all 8 pages because I had a feeling this was going into a debate that I shouldn't participate in so forgive me if this has already been stated.... Any loan amount that you have been approved for should be able to be transferred into college work study money if you don't want to take the loans. Going and actually talking to the financial aid counselors at the school really is your best bet, sometimes they can tweak packages to make them fit better given individual circumstances. And I would apply for any and every scholarship out there - you never know and every dime will help ;)

We have to cash flow our oldest, 2nd has her college fund done already and 3 and 4 should by the time we get there - just not looking forward to cash flowing #1!

Good luck!

Green Tea
03-20-2008, 08:23 AM
That nephew I've mentioned before is going to a state school, but not in his own state. To me, that seems silly, as he will be paying more than most of the other people there. It would irk me to no end to be paying full price when others have a discount code. :)

I COMPLETELY agree with this! If my child wanted to go to a large public institution, it would be in our home state. Why pay for UNC when when you can go to UVA for a fraction. Why VA Tech when NC State offers similar but in state for NC residents. I completely agree on that. We discouraged public schools for a lot of reasons. We discouraged universities for a lot of reasons. But, he came up with his own list of matches for himself.

I think DS will factor costs into his decision. He is like me in that respect. But I won't force him to take free school over not free school in the end. But, he wouldn't have applied anywhere he wouldn't have been happy.......hummmm. This is going to be a wild ride come April 1!

Disneyoverload42
03-20-2008, 08:32 AM
Originally Posted by Gillian View Post

That nephew I've mentioned before is going to a state school, but not in his own state. To me, that seems silly, as he will be paying more than most of the other people there. It would irk me to no end to be paying full price when others have a discount code.

This isn't always true, different schools have different financial aid packages available - I was accepted to an out of state private school that was going to give me tons more in scholarships than the in-state state school I ultimately picked (much to my parent's dismay - of course they never discussed finances so I didn't know). It does make sense though - that the state residents pay taxes and therefore should get a discount...:confused3

crisi
03-20-2008, 08:40 AM
I work at a state university. The amount that the state contributes to higher education in my state has plummeted in the last 15 years. Tuition has gone up accordingly.

Yes, I do think the government should be investing more in higher education, and yes, I wouldn't mind a tax increase to fund it.

Unfortunately, most people don't vote that way - we repeatedly elect people who promise to cut taxes. We repeatedly find that the public does not support more dollars to public education - either at the elementary/secondary levels or at post secondary levels.

I happen to live in a state where we still put at least some money towards education - though not as much as we used to. Other states do as well. Of course, the state I live in has really high taxes as a result - and a lot of people leave this state to go live in states with lower taxes. Which has put pressure on the state to cut taxes - which has put pressure on the state to cut services - and higher education is one that gets cut.

I'm a liberal, I'm one of those nutcases that supports higher taxes - but you and I are rare birds - and not many people will vote with us. And given our curent economy, I'm not sure I'd choose to invest what tax dollars are available to the state in higher education.

nowellsl
03-20-2008, 08:49 AM
So what do you do when you have a child that wants a career in a field that not many colleges offer? And the colleges that do offer that major are running around $35,000 for room and board and fees? Not counting transportation?

My daughter has wanted to be an entomologist (study of bugs) since she was 2 years old. Not many schools offer it. The only state school we have that does offer it will still run us $28,000+ per year. I highly doubt we will qualify for any "free" money. My daughter has been working hard in school so that she can try for scholarships, and is in the top 10% of her class, but she has to actually work for her grades, so schools may not look at her as scholarship material since she has not been "straight A's", although she does take honors courses. Our state school is also very competitive, and has already stated to us that it may not necessarily take local college course credit because their curriculum is much tougher, and it would not be fair to the student. Out-of-state schools that she is looking at offer no guarantee that her community college credits will be accepted. This is a bummer, since my daughter is going to high school in the morning and community college in the afternoon, hoping to graduate high school with 20 credit hours, thinking this would help in affording college. Even if her credits were accepted, we would still be looking to pay over $90,000 for 3 years!

Perhaps we made a mistake because my husband and I felt it was most important for him to work long hours so that I could stay home with our children. I don't regret this at all, for my joy in life has been raising my daughters (and their friends that rely on me since their own parents are not always fortunate enough to be able to take off of work). I have helped the family where I could, dog walking and working as an outside travel agent, but still, my husband's income is what we live on. We have always lived frugally, no McDonald's, rarely eating out, I don't shop at Nieman Marcus or Von Maur, we drive 10 and 11 year old vehicles, we have the smallest home in our subdivision, but we live in an area with a good school district, so we are ok with that.

We may have made another mistake in thinking that family trips were important. I felt it was beneficial for us to spend time away from the stresses of school and home life and enjoy being together in different places. I have shown my children many parts of this world (not just Epcot:) ) so that they can realize they are part of something bigger than just their own little part of America. From so many posts here, I was wrong to make staying home and vacations an important thing in our lives. Yet, I have 2 daughters that know geography and understand the political systems in many countries and realize that "one size fits all" does not always work in government, and most importantly, my daughters understand that what they do can have an impact on others, be it a smile to a small child sitting next to a stall on a dirt road in some far-off country to recycling in hopes of saving the Arctic ice for the polar bears (which is what my youngest plans on doing for her career). But being aware of one's place in this world does not pay for college, unfortunately!

I have two daughters. One after the other will be off to college. I do not know how we will afford this. I believe it is wrong to be expected to take all my equity out of my home and drain our savings to pay for one daughter's college, then having nothing left for the other daughter. There is something wrong when people that make their family a priority are unable to send their daughter to a school that will provide her with an education in the field that she has been dreaming of since she was two years old!

I do not know what the solution is. We have friends that are already sending their children to college, and they tell us to empty our bank accounts and put the money into pop-up campers because you can always sell those. Not feasible where we live, but it works for that family! Another family tells us to take the money out of savings and put it into a safety deposit box, or give it to my parents and have them hold it in their name. I don't know. We have some money saved for both girls, we always thought college would be more affordable (it has been years since DH and I have attended!) and that the money saved would be there for our girls when they graduated, to help them begin their lives. We were wrong.

So my DH and I sit here, worrying over college for our daughters. Yet, we continue to live as we have been, saving where we can but yet using some money to enjoy our lives and spend time with our daughters while they are still home. A few of our friends say that they paid their own way through college, their parents didn't help, and they appreciated their education that much more. Guess we could do that. Nowhere is it written that parents must provide an education beyond 16. Yet, that doesn't seem like the perfect answer for us, either.

Many times, I wish the U.S. school system valued their children and the education system more. I come from a country where college is free. However, you pay big taxes to provide that (and other things). I live in America though, this is where my children were born, and struggling to provide your children with a good education so that they can have a good future is the American way now. At least, that is how my friends and I look at it. I wish it was easier, I wish I had answers for school, I wish my daughter was valedictorian!;) Instead, I shall keep hoping that someone here finds the answer.


It's all about choices I guess. You're lucky you got to stay home with your kids - me, I didn't have that choice. I was very, very lucky and had parents who bought into a pre-paid tuition program when my daughter was very young. Then she got a scholarship (FL has a great program) and because of my income qualified for some small grants (very small). To top that off we live in a town that has a great state college and all she ever wanted to be was a FL GATOR:cheer2: She knew she had to live at home because room and board was out of the question! 2 more classes to go and she'll be out of college with no student loans :woohoo: although we would have taken them out if that was our only option.

It's too late to question the decisions you made when your kids were young. Maybe you could go back to work now to help with costs.

MKCP5
03-20-2008, 09:00 AM
So what do you do when you have a child that wants a career in a field that not many colleges offer? And the colleges that do offer that major are running around $35,000 for room and board and fees? Not counting transportation?

My daughter has wanted to be an entomologist (study of bugs) since she was 2 years old. Not many schools offer it. The only state school we have that does offer it will still run us $28,000+ per year. I highly doubt we will qualify for any "free" money. My daughter has been working hard in school so that she can try for scholarships, and is in the top 10% of her class, but she has to actually work for her grades, so schools may not look at her as scholarship material since she has not been "straight A's", although she does take honors courses. Our state school is also very competitive, and has already stated to us that it may not necessarily take local college course credit because their curriculum is much tougher, and it would not be fair to the student. Out-of-state schools that she is looking at offer no guarantee that her community college credits will be accepted. This is a bummer, since my daughter is going to high school in the morning and community college in the afternoon, hoping to graduate high school with 20 credit hours, thinking this would help in affording college. Even if her credits were accepted, we would still be looking to pay over $90,000 for 3 years!

Perhaps we made a mistake because my husband and I felt it was most important for him to work long hours so that I could stay home with our children. I don't regret this at all, for my joy in life has been raising my daughters (and their friends that rely on me since their own parents are not always fortunate enough to be able to take off of work). I have helped the family where I could, dog walking and working as an outside travel agent, but still, my husband's income is what we live on. We have always lived frugally, no McDonald's, rarely eating out, I don't shop at Nieman Marcus or Von Maur, we drive 10 and 11 year old vehicles, we have the smallest home in our subdivision, but we live in an area with a good school district, so we are ok with that.

We may have made another mistake in thinking that family trips were important. I felt it was beneficial for us to spend time away from the stresses of school and home life and enjoy being together in different places. I have shown my children many parts of this world (not just Epcot:) ) so that they can realize they are part of something bigger than just their own little part of America. From so many posts here, I was wrong to make staying home and vacations an important thing in our lives. Yet, I have 2 daughters that know geography and understand the political systems in many countries and realize that "one size fits all" does not always work in government, and most importantly, my daughters understand that what they do can have an impact on others, be it a smile to a small child sitting next to a stall on a dirt road in some far-off country to recycling in hopes of saving the Arctic ice for the polar bears (which is what my youngest plans on doing for her career). But being aware of one's place in this world does not pay for college, unfortunately!

I have two daughters. One after the other will be off to college. I do not know how we will afford this. I believe it is wrong to be expected to take all my equity out of my home and drain our savings to pay for one daughter's college, then having nothing left for the other daughter. There is something wrong when people that make their family a priority are unable to send their daughter to a school that will provide her with an education in the field that she has been dreaming of since she was two years old!

I do not know what the solution is. We have friends that are already sending their children to college, and they tell us to empty our bank accounts and put the money into pop-up campers because you can always sell those. Not feasible where we live, but it works for that family! Another family tells us to take the money out of savings and put it into a safety deposit box, or give it to my parents and have them hold it in their name. I don't know. We have some money saved for both girls, we always thought college would be more affordable (it has been years since DH and I have attended!) and that the money saved would be there for our girls when they graduated, to help them begin their lives. We were wrong.

So my DH and I sit here, worrying over college for our daughters. Yet, we continue to live as we have been, saving where we can but yet using some money to enjoy our lives and spend time with our daughters while they are still home. A few of our friends say that they paid their own way through college, their parents didn't help, and they appreciated their education that much more. Guess we could do that. Nowhere is it written that parents must provide an education beyond 16. Yet, that doesn't seem like the perfect answer for us, either.

Many times, I wish the U.S. school system valued their children and the education system more. I come from a country where college is free. However, you pay big taxes to provide that (and other things). I live in America though, this is where my children were born, and struggling to provide your children with a good education so that they can have a good future is the American way now. At least, that is how my friends and I look at it. I wish it was easier, I wish I had answers for school, I wish my daughter was valedictorian!;) Instead, I shall keep hoping that someone here finds the answer.

This is an interesting thread, and I have not read every post, so forgive me if I repeat anything. My children have a few years left before college (14 and 12 YO) and we have NOTHING for college. Like this poster, I spent the first several years at home with the kids believing that for our family it was a better situation than daycare costs. I have always wokred at least part time and when the youngest went to 1st grade I started full time work. Even with that, we live in an expensive part of the US and were only able to purchase our own home a year ago.

I would love to be able to tell my children to apply without concern to every University they think will suit their needs. That just won't happen. We will help them in whatever way we may be able to, they will have to make their choices with our guidance as they will have college debt when they finish school, and I am hopeful that they will receive financial aid and scholarships or some kind. DH and I worked our way through college. It was tough, I would have liked to have been able to go to a bigger school and live in the dorms and have that experience, but I am not scarred for life for lack of a private, 4 year, sleep away collegiate experience.

People need to give people a break to do the best they can and live with making the best out of their situation. Quit judging. Quit making people feel badly. We all make our choices feeling like it is the best choice at that time and praying that it will all work out. I respect your choices for your daughters and your family. They may not have been the bright, curious, excited young women that they are if you had done things differently. It will work out somehow!!

Toby'sFriend
03-20-2008, 09:04 AM
We may have made another mistake in thinking that family trips were important. I felt it was beneficial for us to spend time away from the stresses of school and home life and enjoy being together in different places. I have shown my children many parts of this world (not just Epcot ) so that they can realize they are part of something bigger than just their own little part of America. From so many posts here, I was wrong to make staying home and vacations an important thing in our lives. Yet, I have 2 daughters that know geography and understand the political systems in many countries and realize that "one size fits all" does not always work in government, and most importantly, my daughters understand that what they do can have an impact on others, be it a smile to a small child sitting next to a stall on a dirt road in some far-off country to recycling in hopes of saving the Arctic ice for the polar bears (which is what my youngest plans on doing for her career). But being aware of one's place in this world does not pay for college, unfortunately!

I'm not saying you made a mistake or didn't make a mistake. I'm saying ... that was the choice you made and when the day comes when you have an 18 year old wanting to go to bug school, those will be the consequences you will have to deal with. At some point in time, we all make choices with our money. You chose to be a SAHM and travel with your children, it wasn't forced upon you.

I think we all wish that there was some warm and fuzzy scholarship agency or government out there that would just be chomping at the bit to pay for those lifelong dreams that we hold and our children hold.

I'm quite sure the Armed Forces still offer Tuition Assistance.

allison443
03-20-2008, 09:09 AM
So what do you do when you have a child that wants a career in a field that not many colleges offer? And the colleges that do offer that major are running around $35,000 for room and board and fees? Not counting transportation?




In answer to your question, most SAHMs that I personally know have gone back to work when their kids are in high school, nearing college age...they are then able to contribute their salary to the college tuition bills. I may be wrong, but from your post it sounds like you are still at home? :confused3

mla1977
03-20-2008, 09:13 AM
It's all about choices I guess. You're lucky you got to stay home with your kids - me, I didn't have that choice. I was very, very lucky and had parents who bought into a pre-paid tuition program when my daughter was very young. Then she got a scholarship (FL has a great program) and because of my income qualified for some small grants (very small). To top that off we live in a town that has a great state college and all she ever wanted to be was a FL GATOR:cheer2: She knew she had to live at home because room and board was out of the question! 2 more classes to go and she'll be out of college with no student loans :woohoo: although we would have taken them out if that was our only option.

It's too late to question the decisions you made when your kids were young. Maybe you could go back to work now to help with costs.

My step sister did that for my nieces. They live in Jacksonville. Our parents have since divorced and I don't know what her girls ended up doing for college, but I always thought that was a great plan!

As for everyone else, the only way I was able to afford my 30k per year school was because my father passed away. My uncle wisely invested my life insurance proceeds and that helped me with tuition and at the end of school what was left was enough for a down payment on a car (which I am still driving 9 years later).

I finance my law school tuition and most of my living expenses on my own through Stafford loans and private loans. I even chose to go to a state school for my law school education and only had to pay around 10k for each year. I have about 100k in student loans for all of my education, and I only have that much because I chose not to work while I was in law school.

My BFF had to take out loans and agreed with her parents that she had to pay back the loans that they took out for her education. Everyone I know has some form of loans and that is the only way to get your education.

If your child wants to study in a field that is extremely specialized, you either need to suck it up and help them by taking out loans for their education or they need to find a way to pay on their own. I absolutely think that the government should do more to assist in higher education, but until we have law makers that take action on it, people need to figure out a way to do it on their own.

phragmipedium
03-20-2008, 09:55 AM
Honestly, I didn't read all 8 pages because I had a feeling this was going into a debate that I shouldn't participate in so forgive me if this has already been stated.... Any loan amount that you have been approved for should be able to be transferred into college work study money if you don't want to take the loans. Going and actually talking to the financial aid counselors at the school really is your best bet, sometimes they can tweak packages to make them fit better given individual circumstances. And I would apply for any and every scholarship out there - you never know and every dime will help ;)

We have to cash flow our oldest, 2nd has her college fund done already and 3 and 4 should by the time we get there - just not looking forward to cash flowing #1!

Good luck!

This was *definitely* not the case at the public school I worked at. Work study funding is still a need-based program. The government is subsidizing a percentage of the wages for that student so that the employer only needs to pay partial wages, so there is an issue of "real" dollars allotted to the program to worry about. It was, in fact, our tightest program, and we could never offer more than $1500 per year per student. We awarded it evenly to those who qualified to be as equitable as possible, and would not have given a student tens of thousands of workstudy dollars. It can't hurt to ask, especially at a private university with lots of university-specific rather than federal campus-based work study, but I cannot imagine it being offered in very many places.

In our state, it used to be that if you had at least $1 of work study awarded to you, you would qualify for food stamps. We would have students begging us to place that $1 on their award package. Clearly you cannot work a work-study job with just one dollar, and we felt it best to make actual, workable awards to those who qualified rather than simply make everyone eligible for food stamps; you can't award aid with other benefits like that in mind. The program has since changed to require students to show proof of working the work study job, rather than just an award letter with an offer of any amount of work study.

luvavacation
03-20-2008, 10:03 AM
I don't post here often, though I have read for years, but just wanted to say thanks to all you people here that provide so many varying viewpoints in a respecful manner. That is the beauty of a discussion board as big as this one - exposure to views from people that may not have the same experiences as I do and can provide a new way of looking at things. Thanks for that!

I think one of our biggest mistakes was listening to the investors that said to pay down your mortgage. We put $100,000 down on our home years ago, now we have more than that in equity. You always hear that being mortgage free is the way to go when entering retirement. That is certainly my DH's goal, that is how he was raised. In 20 years of marriage, with 20 years before retirement, we now find that our home we had planned on paying off in a few years might just be remortgaged. Oh well, best laid plans often turn out badly, or something like that.

Yes, going back to work is an option, but not at this time. I do work as an outside sales agent for a travel agency, I also take care of my elderly grandparents and my own parents, and that is very time consuming. When they die, then I shall have lots of time to pursue a career, but for now, they need me. I also volunteer at jobs I adore but am paid nothing but smiles, and would hate to give up my volunteer work. It is truly a conundrum, and I applaud others that manage to put their whole lives into working and do not now face family or college education worries. While they were thinking ahead, I was thinking about the here and now, but we all make the choices we thought were the best at the time.

Sometimes our choices hurt us later. I only wish remortgaging our home wasn't what the colleges expect of us in order to afford the education they offer. While my girls do what they can by earning good grades and working, truth is for what their future careers hold, if they don't get grants and scholarships, the burden lies upon the parents and the loans we can get that will someday need to be repaid. One of my good friends, when her daughter was applying for college, said that saving money was what bit them in the behind. That's a sad statement.

Honestly, how many people are out there that have managed to save enough to send two children to college at $35,000 per year? Add up all our vacations, we still don't come near that amount. Figure in what I could have made working (minus daycare and other etc.), we still don't come near that. DH works 55 hours a week, add another 5 hours to that of overtime, still we don't come near that. Oh well.

Funny about the military idea - my eldest has thought of joining the army, she was told they do research on bugs and military applications, but it truly is not for her. My youngest, however, on reading the college books and seeing the ratio of males to females, said that military academies are definitely for her (many males, few females in those schools!). She doesn't care what they offer, she plans on going for the boys! That one will turn us grey before the college payments will! :)

Disneyoverload42
03-20-2008, 10:15 AM
This was *definitely* not the case at the public school I worked at. Work study funding is still a need-based program. The government is subsidizing a percentage of the wages for that student so that the employer only needs to pay partial wages, so there is an issue of "real" dollars allotted to the program to worry about. It was, in fact, our tightest program, and we could never offer more than $1500 per year per student. We awarded it evenly to those who qualified to be as equitable as possible, and would not have given a student tens of thousands of workstudy dollars. It can't hurt to ask, especially at a private university with lots of university-specific rather than federal campus-based work study, but I cannot imagine it being offered in very many places.

In our state, it used to be that if you had at least $1 of work study awarded to you, you would qualify for food stamps. We would have students begging us to place that $1 on their award package. Clearly you cannot work a work-study job with just one dollar, and we felt it best to make actual, workable awards to those who qualified rather than simply make everyone eligible for food stamps; you can't award aid with other benefits like that in mind. The program has since changed to require students to show proof of working the work study job, rather than just an award letter with an offer of any amount of work study.

Maybe it's a state by state or school by school thing - I converted several semesters of loan awards into CWS at both schools I went to and I never got food stamps - even when I had a child and was going to school... but it could be different in different places I suppose.

crisi
03-20-2008, 10:20 AM
We paid off our home at the "expense" of funding our kids college. But our house was paid off when our oldest was in first grade. So we moved a lot (not all) of the cash flow from mortgage into 529s. The fact that our house is paid off is still our "back pocket" plan to pay for college if we don't save enough - although we will be ten years from retirement when my youngest should finish a B.A/B.S. - not a place to be to take out much equity debt.

To get through life financially secure, if you want to pay for your kids schools you need to create a balance. You need to - all at once - or within a relatively short timeframe: You need to save for your own retirement. You need to pay down your house enough that you can afford to live there in retirement. You need to put money aside for the kids for college. And you still need to eat, drive a car, and perhaps take time to go on vacation. Very few of us are going to be fortunate enough to be able to balance all of these demands on our income and get through having taking regular vacations, saved enough for retirement, paid down our mortgage, and managed to fully fund education.

(I'd never spend $35k a year for an undergrad entomology program. Look at her job prospects before you do. I know a few PhDs in that sort of field who make less than that a year (one in Oceanography another in Palentology) - and are unemployable without at least a Masters. Have her get a general biology degree for cheaper, and look to grad school if that is indeed her passion. Bugs are a little like majoring in Drama or Music - its great to have a passion - making a living at that passion is a challenge.)

drcmk
03-20-2008, 10:39 AM
We have 2 kids in middle school. We have been saving a total of $585/month toward their college education since their birth. This essentially causes us to live paycheck to paycheck. If they intend on going to a private school, this savings won't even come close to covering the cost.

I told them their career path MUST include a high paying salary!!!

Do you mean to say that you will only pay for their higher education if they choose a major that you approve of?

I've always told my children the opposite--that they have to seriously choose a profession that they will love to do for the rest of their lives, regardless of how lucrative the job is (assuming they can support themselves of course) because there is nothing worse than committing yourself to do something you hate for the rest of your life.

drcmk
03-20-2008, 10:46 AM
Its easy to have kids when you are fairly young and money is tight....you'll start a college fund when you aren't searching up change from the couch for diapers. You start making a little more money, and rather than putting that money towards college - you'll do that tomorrow - you decide to reward yourself for the hard work that got you that promotion with a new car. Life happens, another baby arrives, and you manage to put off starting that college fund another year. Your kid is now ten and you know you NEED to start saving - but he really wants to play travelling baseball - and he's pretty good - and that's expensive.

This puts me in mind of Ursula's quote from The Little Mermaid: Life's full of tough choices, isn't it?

Her tone was mean, of course, and I don't mean to be. But it is the truth. There is only so much money that anyone will have or earn and everyone has to prioritize how to spend it and then has to live with the results of their decisions.

MrsPete
03-20-2008, 11:02 AM
Do you mean to say that you will only pay for their higher education if they choose a major that you approve of?

I've always told my children the opposite--that they have to seriously choose a profession that they will love to do for the rest of their lives, regardless of how lucrative the job is (assuming they can support themselves of course) because there is nothing worse than committing yourself to do something you hate for the rest of your life.I'm going to encourage my kids to choose a major that'll lead to a high-paying job that can't easily be transported over to another country! I wish my parents had given me a little more guidance when I was in college; if they had, I might not've earned a first degree that was basically worthless -- well, no education is worthless, but it wasn't a degree that led to a paying job. That's what I want to avoid for them!

I don't mean they need to choose a career that they'll hate (the world is not divided into things we love and things we hate), but if they're going to put their time into working 40 hours/week for 30 years, it's important that they're well compensated for their efforts. They'll have lots of time for hobbies too!

Quite a few factors go into choosing a major and a career: money, the likelihood of employment, probable location of the work, one's abilities, whether the job demands will mesh with one's personal life, length of education required, and more! I wouldn't simply say, "Oh, just do what you love best!" Consider it, yes; but look at other factors too.

crisi
03-20-2008, 11:38 AM
This puts me in mind of Ursula's quote from The Little Mermaid: Life's full of tough choices, isn't it?

Her tone was mean, of course, and I don't mean to be. But it is the truth. There is only so much money that anyone will have or earn and everyone has to prioritize how to spend it and then has to live with the results of their decisions.

And I don't think any of us find those decisions to be easy. I really want to do three things with my extra money this summer - I want to take a vacation. I need to replace the deck on my house - which has gotten unsafe. And I really should stuff a little more money into the kids 529s. On top of summer day care. I may end up doing all three, but may be making some compromises to do them all - shortening the vacation by a few days. Taking fourteen square feet off the deck and skipping the window replacement. And sticking a little less towards college than I ought - and worrying about how to pay for college tomorrow. Honestly, I should replace the deck first, and then put money into the kids college funds, and if I put enough there, then take the vacation. But I may decide to take the vacation anyway.

meandtheguys2
03-20-2008, 12:21 PM
Yes, going back to work is an option, but not at this time. I do work as an outside sales agent for a travel agency, I also take care of my elderly grandparents and my own parents, and that is very time consuming. When they die, then I shall have lots of time to pursue a career, but for now, they need me. I also volunteer at jobs I adore but am paid nothing but smiles, and would hate to give up my volunteer work. It is truly a conundrum, and I applaud others that manage to put their whole lives into working and do not now face family or college education worries. While they were thinking ahead, I was thinking about the here and now, but we all make the choices we thought were the best at the time.



:rolleyes: We've managed to do both, thank you. One does not have to negate the other. I've worked many part-time positions, and still managed to care for my grandma (6 months with 3 of us providing round the clock), and my mom during her cancer treatment, while homeschooling my kids. Planning ahead took thought, and study. We've saved money in many ways. And still have many lovely memories to show for our time.:cloud9:

You seem content with your choices. That is great. But assuming that it is the duty of others to cover where you couldn't be bothered, is out of whack, imo.

I do believe that young people need to have a firm grasp re. job availability, income, etc. Yes, an art degree is lovely, but if you wind up a single mom supporting a family, can you feed them with it? (Taken directly from a gf's life.) They need to know that a BS in psychology isn't worth the paper its written on. That most college profs get paid very little. And that the second employer in their lives isn't going to care whether they graduated from Ohio University or Marietta College.

Toby'sFriend
03-20-2008, 02:23 PM
Honestly, how many people are out there that have managed to save enough to send two children to college at $35,000 per year?

not many I would imagine.
But I'm also not aware of many parents who have not saved for college that insist that a $35,000 a year college is the only viable option.

As much as we would all like to spend our working time in jobs that only pay in smiles, I'm not sure it is practical unless one spouse is a high wage earner or has a Trust Fund -- or the child receives significant merit awards based on talent or grades. I have a Niece that attends a very expensive University, but she is on a Swimming Scholarship. If she did not receive that scholarship, then she would be at a lower cost option.

Those are just the economics of life.

daughtersrus
03-20-2008, 02:31 PM
I lost track of this post a few pages back so please forgive me if this question has been answered.

My oldest DD(21) will be a senior at ISU next fall. She is a special ed major that has received a tuition waiver with the understanding that she will teach 2 years in IL after graduation. So, her tuition is covered but her room/board and books are not. She has a Federal Student Loan that is paid directly to the school and she has a payment plan for the remaining amount.

This coming year there will be a HUGE shortage of dorm space since they are tearing down several dorms and require Fresh and Soph to live in a dorm. She got her application is the minute it was due on Monday morning but we won't know until summer if she has a dorm room or not. She will also be student teaching the second half of the year in the Chicago area so she only needs housing for one semester.

If she can't get a dorm room and is able to find an apartment that she can lease or sublease for one semester, can she use the student loan to cover these expenses? Right now it's paid to the school directly but if she has no other expenses with them, can she get the money directed someway so that she can use it for rent?

We're keeping our fingers crossed that she will have a place to live. If not, I don't know what she's going to do! :scared1:
They won't let her change her student teaching placement to a location closer to Bloomington/Normal. She had to request that last summer but we had no idea that she might not have a dorm to live in for the fall semester.

Thanks!

mla1977
03-20-2008, 02:38 PM
I lost track of this post a few pages back so please forgive me if this question has been answered.

My oldest DD(21) will be a senior at ISU next fall. She is a special ed major that has received a tuition waiver with the understanding that she will teach 2 years in IL after graduation. So, her tuition is covered but her room/board and books are not. She has a Federal Student Loan that is paid directly to the school and she has a payment plan for the remaining amount.

This coming year there will be a HUGE shortage of dorm space since they are tearing down several dorms and require Fresh and Soph to live in a dorm. She got her application is the minute it was due on Monday morning but we won't know until summer if she has a dorm room or not. She will also be student teaching the second half of the year in the Chicago area so she only needs housing for one semester.

If she can't get a dorm room and is able to find an apartment that she can lease or sublease for one semester, can she use the student loan to cover these expenses? Right now it's paid to the school directly but if she has no other expenses with them, can she get the money directed someway so that she can use it for rent?

We're keeping our fingers crossed that she will have a place to live. If not, I don't know what she's going to do! :scared1:
They won't let her change her student teaching placement to a location closer to Bloomington/Normal. She had to request that last summer but we had no idea that she might not have a dorm to live in for the fall semester.

Thanks!


When I was in school you weren't able to have financial aid if you live off campus as an undergrad. That may have changed since then. 10 years ago it was cheaper for me to have an apartment for 12 months in DC than is was to live in the dorms for 9 months.

phragmipedium
03-20-2008, 02:59 PM
I lost track of this post a few pages back so please forgive me if this question has been answered.

My oldest DD(21) will be a senior at ISU next fall. She is a special ed major that has received a tuition waiver with the understanding that she will teach 2 years in IL after graduation. So, her tuition is covered but her room/board and books are not. She has a Federal Student Loan that is paid directly to the school and she has a payment plan for the remaining amount.

This coming year there will be a HUGE shortage of dorm space since they are tearing down several dorms and require Fresh and Soph to live in a dorm. She got her application is the minute it was due on Monday morning but we won't know until summer if she has a dorm room or not. She will also be student teaching the second half of the year in the Chicago area so she only needs housing for one semester.

If she can't get a dorm room and is able to find an apartment that she can lease or sublease for one semester, can she use the student loan to cover these expenses? Right now it's paid to the school directly but if she has no other expenses with them, can she get the money directed someway so that she can use it for rent?

We're keeping our fingers crossed that she will have a place to live. If not, I don't know what she's going to do! :scared1:
They won't let her change her student teaching placement to a location closer to Bloomington/Normal. She had to request that last summer but we had no idea that she might not have a dorm to live in for the fall semester.

Thanks!

The way this worked at my university is that charges applied to a student's account just prior to each term, for tuition and housing if applicable. The financial aid then applied as well and paid against those tuition and housing charges. If the charges were fully paid and there was excess financial aid, it was distributed in check or direct deposit format to the student on the first day of the term (or the Friday before the term started). Loan proceeds may be used to pay for housing, books, and other educational expenses, so that's not a problem - but check with her school's business office to make sure what the procedure would be at that school to receive the "refund" check at the beginning of the term - and counsel her in terms of good money management to make sure that the refund lasts her through the term. :)

mamalle
03-20-2008, 03:36 PM
wow! that is alot. Im interested in reading all of the posts here with the different views. For us living in fla it pretty much was a no brainer when the kids were born to pay for the flat rate of 4 years of college tution thru the Fla Prepaid. I am glad that is out of the way but really worry about the other fees like room, board, books, etc. Im really starting with the kids early to get good grades so they will qualify for Fla's Bright Future Scholarship so everything is covered 100% either private or public schools. It just shocks me at what it takes for kids to go to college now and I dont seeing it getting any cheeper either.. I hope you all can figure something out..

MKCP5
03-20-2008, 03:46 PM
I'm going to encourage my kids to choose a major that'll lead to a high-paying job that can't easily be transported over to another country! I wish my parents had given me a little more guidance when I was in college; if they had, I might not've earned a first degree that was basically worthless -- well, no education is worthless, but it wasn't a degree that led to a paying job. That's what I want to avoid for them!

I don't mean they need to choose a career that they'll hate (the world is not divided into things we love and things we hate), but if they're going to put their time into working 40 hours/week for 30 years, it's important that they're well compensated for their efforts. They'll have lots of time for hobbies too!

Quite a few factors go into choosing a major and a career: money, the likelihood of employment, probable location of the work, one's abilities, whether the job demands will mesh with one's personal life, length of education required, and more! I wouldn't simply say, "Oh, just do what you love best!" Consider it, yes; but look at other factors too.


aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh..........this of course begs the question--how many people end up working in the field that they majored in for college? Alot don't. My brother has a degree in history and is a corporate real estate exec, DH has a degree in television production and is a teacher (history) BFF has a degree in biology and is a sales rep......things change, desires change, work force changes. HOw do we prepare them to be prepared?

bumbershoot
03-20-2008, 03:47 PM
If she can't get a dorm room and is able to find an apartment that she can lease or sublease for one semester, can she use the student loan to cover these expenses? Right now it's paid to the school directly but if she has no other expenses with them, can she get the money directed someway so that she can use it for rent?


From my experience, and I had a variety of loans, you can't use undergrad-type loans for living expenses. (OK, tell that to the work study funds I was paid, but I digress) Once I got into graduate school, then they allowed you to take as much as TWICE what you needed for tuition, for living expenses. (ugh, what a dreadful mistake that was)


When I was in school you weren't able to have financial aid if you live off campus as an undergrad. That may have changed since then. 10 years ago it was cheaper for me to have an apartment for 12 months in DC than is was to live in the dorms for 9 months.

I think your university might have had adequate housing for all undergrads, thereby making it a choice versus a necessity.

Universities are so different! I got access to the "extra" car while in grad school because my brother, then an undergrad at Duke, was not allowed to have a car while receiving financial aid. If you can do the upkeep and pay the gas, insurance, etc, on a car, that money should go towards school, as far as they were concerned. So I got the car and he got to rely on his wealthier friends if he left campus.


The way this worked at my university is that charges applied to a student's account just prior to each term, for tuition and housing if applicable. The financial aid then applied as well and paid against those tuition and housing charges. If the charges were fully paid and there was excess financial aid, it was distributed in check or direct deposit format to the student on the first day of the term (or the Friday before the term started). Loan proceeds may be used to pay for housing, books, and other educational expenses, so that's not a problem - but check with her school's business office to make sure what the procedure would be at that school to receive the "refund" check at the beginning of the term - and counsel her in terms of good money management to make sure that the refund lasts her through the term. :)

That wouldn't have worked in my undergrad, with my loans. But it might work for another school, different loans!

mla1977
03-20-2008, 03:56 PM
I think your university might have had adequate housing for all undergrads, thereby making it a choice versus a necessity.



Actually it didn't have it. I was a transfer student my sophomore year and couldn't get housing. I have a large grant for my tuition and loans, and work study, but I didn't get any refund check for my housing. I think if I lived on campus I would have received more money for school in general. They didn't have adequate housing until my senior year and at that point I didn't want to be stuck with the rules of student housing.

phragmipedium
03-20-2008, 04:04 PM
That wouldn't have worked in my undergrad, with my loans. But it might work for another school, different loans!

That's very interesting. Were your loans federal Stafford or Perkins loans, or federal parent PLUS loans? Those are available to assist with educational expenses, including housing, room and board, and even whatever "miscellaneous personal expenses" the school has factored into the overall cost of attendance. Even all of the private educational loans through banks I've seen have allowed for the same usage for educational expenses. Of course the Stafford/Perkins loans have borrowing limits, but providing you had excess loan funds after your tuition was paid, it's my understanding that the loans are allowed to be used for all forms of educational expenses at the borrower's discretion.

For example, if tuition is $6,000 a year and the housing/books/personal expenses are budgeted at $14,000, the overall cost of attendance is estimated at $20,000. If a family borrowed every dollar they could for it, and had $20,000 worth of loan aid, but the student lived off campus and only had tuition billed to the school, they would still have access to the rest of that aid each term to cover their expenses that weren't billed by the university.

All the private school aid award letters I've seen have done something similar (allowed for borrowing for educational expenses beyond tuition alone), so perhaps it had to do with the type of loan or something unusual your school did?

I would say that in general, students are allowed to use their loan funds for all educational related expenses including rent, providing they've borrowed enough to cover their tuition and university-billed expenses first - but of course, always check with your particular school to see if they are an exception.

Toby'sFriend
03-20-2008, 04:06 PM
aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh..........this of course begs the question--how many people end up working in the field that they majored in for college? Alot don't. My brother has a degree in history and is a corporate real estate exec, DH has a degree in television production and is a teacher (history) BFF has a degree in biology and is a sales rep......things change, desires change, work force changes. HOw do we prepare them to be prepared?

Well for me, my son wants to major in Political Science.
My answer was: great! How about pairing that with a Teaching Certificate?

He looked into it and decided that what he really wants to do is complete his undergrad degree, join the Peace Corps for a couple of years, then hopefully go to graduate school. We all agreed that a dual Political Science/Secondary Education Major would give him excellent employability as well as fit into his "dream life."

I agree that people should enjoy their jobs, but there is no doubt that Education is also about increasing your income potential. Unless your last name is Hilton or something like that, you need to be able to support yourself.

Green Tea
03-20-2008, 04:19 PM
From my experience, and I had a variety of loans, you can't use undergrad-type loans for living expenses.
That wouldn't have worked in my undergrad, with my loans. But it might work for another school, different loans!

Schools, even now with all the new restrictions, refund overages to the students. The loans are for educational expenses. It really doesn't matter if you are in a dorm or an apartment.

cruisnfamily
03-20-2008, 04:57 PM
wow! that is alot. Im interested in reading all of the posts here with the different views. For us living in fla it pretty much was a no brainer when the kids were born to pay for the flat rate of 4 years of college tution thru the Fla Prepaid. I am glad that is out of the way but really worry about the other fees like room, board, books, etc. Im really starting with the kids early to get good grades so they will qualify for Fla's Bright Future Scholarship so everything is covered 100% either private or public schools. It just shocks me at what it takes for kids to go to college now and I dont seeing it getting any cheeper either.. I hope you all can figure something out..
The part I bolded is not exactly true. They'll pay for tuition at a state school. If your kid goes somewhere else(private or out of state) they'll give you the going rate at a FL state school which you can apply elsewhere. Also, bright futures doesn't cover housing....


Oh, silly me, as I was typing I just got what you were saying. You've got the prepaid already so you're hoping to pair it with bright futures to cover everything between the two....that's my plan exactly! We're hoping for the same thing. DD15 will be starting her volunteer hours for bright futures this summer. I just hope she gets the SAT grades required.

nowellsl
03-20-2008, 05:48 PM
Oh, silly me, as I was typing I just got what you were saying. You've got the prepaid already so you're hoping to pair it with bright futures to cover everything between the two....that's my plan exactly! We're hoping for the same thing. DD15 will be starting her volunteer hours for bright futures this summer. I just hope she gets the SAT grades required.

My DD has both Bright Futures 75% and FL pre-paid (including fee plan). It's more than enough to cover tuition, books and supplies. It wouldn't cover room and board at all. Her tuition and most of the fees are paid with the pre-paid plan and what she doesn't use for books is paid to her in the form of a check or direct deposit. Of course she has to pay taxes on the amount she doesn't use for qualified expenses (anything other than tuition, fees, "required books and supplies". She usually uses the extra towards gas, parking fees, supplies not "required" etc. Our problem was that she changed majors (this gets costly!) and had to more courses etc. so her pre-paid ran out before she was done! Luckily she has more scholarship hours available and got a grant to pay the rest!

MrsPete
03-20-2008, 05:48 PM
aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh..........this of course begs the question--how many people end up working in the field that they majored in for college? Alot don't. My brother has a degree in history and is a corporate real estate exec, DH has a degree in television production and is a teacher (history) BFF has a degree in biology and is a sales rep......things change, desires change, work force changes. HOw do we prepare them to be prepared?I work in my degree field. DH works in his degree field. I know more people who DO work in their fields than don't! The majority of my personal friends who don't work in their degree fields are SAHMs, which is -- for the purposes of this discussion -- not really applicable.

Kids just out of high school need guidance to make good choices for college. You haven't lived with them for 18 years without getting to know their strengths and weaknesses, and you haven't lived in the world for however many years without having a grasp of what jobs pay well and would be a good match for your children.

bumbershoot
03-20-2008, 06:01 PM
That's very interesting. Were your loans federal Stafford or Perkins loans, or federal parent PLUS loans? Those are available to assist with educational expenses, including housing, room and board, and even whatever "miscellaneous personal expenses" the school has factored into the overall cost of attendance. Even all of the private educational loans through banks I've seen have allowed for the same usage for educational expenses. Of course the Stafford/Perkins loans have borrowing limits, but providing you had excess loan funds after your tuition was paid, it's my understanding that the loans are allowed to be used for all forms of educational expenses at the borrower's discretion.

For example, if tuition is $6,000 a year and the housing/books/personal expenses are budgeted at $14,000, the overall cost of attendance is estimated at $20,000. If a family borrowed every dollar they could for it, and had $20,000 worth of loan aid, but the student lived off campus and only had tuition billed to the school, they would still have access to the rest of that aid each term to cover their expenses that weren't billed by the university.

All the private school aid award letters I've seen have done something similar (allowed for borrowing for educational expenses beyond tuition alone), so perhaps it had to do with the type of loan or something unusual your school did?

I would say that in general, students are allowed to use their loan funds for all educational related expenses including rent, providing they've borrowed enough to cover their tuition and university-billed expenses first - but of course, always check with your particular school to see if they are an exception.

I had 'em all. And all of them that I had (not my parents, I don't know what mom's PLUS loan, if she had them for me (I know she did for my brother at Duke), said) stated clearly that as a dependent undergrad, they were NOT to be used for housing.


Schools, even now with all the new restrictions, refund overages to the students. The loans are for educational expenses. It really doesn't matter if you are in a dorm or an apartment.

Interesting.

We were only required to live on campus our freshman year, and our loans couldn't be used for that. My univ had an interesting housing thing where they bought upwards of 100 houses around campuses, and they were available on a lottery basis to non-frosh. They were charged the same as a dorm room...and still that couldn't be paid from any of the student loans I had. When I lived off-off, it was the same, no check or refund ever came to me to pay for housing!


But in grad school, it alllll changed with those loans (still a mix of types). For the long-term worse. Ugh.

LoveBWVVBR
03-20-2008, 06:33 PM
My DD has both Bright Futures 75% and FL pre-paid (including fee plan). It's more than enough to cover tuition, books and supplies. It wouldn't cover room and board at all. Her tuition and most of the fees are paid with the pre-paid plan and what she doesn't use for books is paid to her in the form of a check or direct deposit. Of course she has to pay taxes on the amount she doesn't use for qualified expenses (anything other than tuition, fees, "required books and supplies". She usually uses the extra towards gas, parking fees, supplies not "required" etc. Our problem was that she changed majors (this gets costly!) and had to more courses etc. so her pre-paid ran out before she was done! Luckily she has more scholarship hours available and got a grant to pay the rest!

Can't she use the overage from the Prepaid plan to pay for housing, though? I thought that if you got Bright Futures and also had FLPrepaid, the school rebated the scholarship amount back to the student? We also did FLPrepaid (4 years of tuition and fees, 1 years of dorm), and we hope that Bright Futures is still around in some form when our toddler starts college.

MiaSRN62
03-20-2008, 07:05 PM
daughtersrus says : We didn't even fill out the FAFSA forms the first two years because we knew that she wouldn't qualify for anything. We did fill them out when she transferred and her EFC was $17,000.

We didn't get any grants either via FAFSA. But we were told to fill out the form anyway, because the schools use it to determine grants/loans/work study etc. So, even though we knew we wouldn't qualify for much of anything, we went through the motions and sent it. Here, it let us know whether we'd qualify for a subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford loan.


Amy Epcot says : I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but this is the analogy I always come back to; you want to buy a BMW but you can't afford it. Do you go to the dealership and demand that they give you one? Do you complain to your friends about the "audacity" of the dealership to deny your request? No, you investigate cars that are more affordable and that fit into your budget. Same thing with a college, there are plenty that are affordable (especially community colleges) and they may not be your child's first choice but in the end, they'll do the trick and you child will not graduate with $85,000 in debt nor will you be re-paying a PLUS loan well into your 80's.

Well, I certainly wouldn't flame you, but I do respectfully disagree. Driving a BMW vs a Ford (or whatever), hasn't much to do witha quality education and a positive college experience. My dd worked her tush off in school and it has landed her the top 10% of her class out of 1,100+ students in her senior class.
Her major---Marine Biology---did dictate where she would go. She was accepted at two PA state schools she had applied at (both to the Honors program). But, Marine Biology is not a great major to have in a landlocked campus which is essentially a frozen tundra 80% of the school year. Her field work, would have had to be done over the summer and it would have required her traveling to VA and living there to do it. Also, at both Open House presentations, the Marine Bio profs, while laying a strong case that these schools had good programs, also mentioned it being tough to get a job in senior year because not many companies/agencies dealing with this major would recruit at these PA schools. PA is just not known for marine bilogy.
That said, we headed down to FL for a much better program with tons of hands on field work which also has many recruiters for this major. When you are in certain fields, sometimes it does pay to go for a school that is known for it's specific programs. The private university we chose in FL is such a school. So we did opt (and will sacrifice) to have dd in a more premiere school for her program of study (the BMW so to say), vs the school that had a decent program but not as promising in the way of field work and job offers. Is this school really what I'd call affordable to us ? No. There are other schools that we could pay for with much more ease, but what dd gets out of it in the end is more beneficial than going to the cheaper school. So it's not all black and white.

phragmipedium----great post and information. Thank you for taking the time.

Vijoge says : Yes, there are limits. The max DS could borrow his freshman year was $2700.

It's $3,500 for freshmen and higher for the uppper years.

ExPirateShopGirl says : I see a couple who mentioned they did, but otherwise I see a LOT of parents upset about the amount of money the schools expect them to contribute. I am disheartened by the number of people who don't or haven't saved a penny when, in fact, you've known this day was coming since the stick turned blue! This is where sacrifice comes in; things like not taking a vacation every year, even though you feel you deserve one, choosing Pop over GF even if your credit card limit allows a stay at the GF, buying a Honda instead of an Escalade, even if the salesman says you qualify. These are the choices we make throughout our adult lives that can help or hurt our kids in the long run, when it comes time to pay for the thing that really matters... the education!

Crisi echoed my sentiments exactly. Kids do grow up very fast. Looking back, it seems like a blink of an eye.
Yes, alot of us are upset at the high/exhorbitant cost of tuition. There are other parts of the world that offer education and healthcare to their citizens for free or nominal amounts. We were fairly frugal over the years, but still weren't able to save much for college (about $10,000). This was tough during hard times in our early marriage (i.e.frequent layoffs for dh, going on unpaid leave to care for ill family members, loss of health insurance etc). About 8 years ago, when the kids were 8, 10 & 12, my dh (seeing our measely savings), applied for a job at a large university that offers scholarships/grants to children of the employees. It may not have been his choice of a career, but he did it knowing it would help pay for college. The grant our dd will get from dh's employer benefit, plus the grants/scholarships provided by the private school my dd has been accepted at (academic based on her GPA and SAT scores), are making the cost of her education at the private school only about $4,000/year. The state schools in PA offered no grants/scholarships to dd. Someone else on this thread said it----the private schools have the most money to play around with. The private university in FL where dd is going in August helped me greatly with financial aid planning. They said "we'll make this happen". Believe me......a year ago I never would have thought my dd attending this school was possible. If grades are strong, alot of private institutions will do what they can to get your child to attend.



Crisi says : To be fair "they grow up so fast" and "you'll never have kids if you wait until you can afford them." Its easy to have kids when you are fairly young and money is tight....you'll start a college fund when you aren't searching up change from the couch for diapers. You start making a little more money, and rather than putting that money towards college - you'll do that tomorrow - you decide to reward yourself for the hard work that got you that promotion with a new car. Life happens, another baby arrives, and you manage to put off starting that college fund another year. Your kid is now ten and you know you NEED to start saving - but he really wants to play travelling baseball - and he's pretty good - and that's expensive.

I hear ya Crisi.........life truly does happen..........you spelled it out well. I don't regret the money (BIG $$$ over the years), that we put out for soccer, baseball, football, karate, guitar lessons etc. Also, our vacation memories will last a lifetime and I wouldn't give them back for anything in the world.


mamalle says : Im really starting with the kids early to get good grades so they will qualify for Fla's Bright Future Scholarship so everything is covered 100% either private or public schools. It just shocks me at what it takes for kids to go to college now and I dont seeing it getting any cheeper either.. I hope you all can figure something out..



I must say, the state of FL's Bright Future program is wonderful ! I'm hearing alot about it being that my dd will be going to a university in FL (we're from PA). Makes me REALLY wish I was a FL resident ! (not that we didn't want to live in FL anyway......but the program just makes it that much better).

To the OP....and others struggling with the high costs of college.....hope something works for you. My dd has applied for at least a dozen scholarships, but so far nothing. She's been doing Fastweb.com since last summer. It's hard. The trick is planning early. Good luck to all.

mamalle
03-20-2008, 08:16 PM
Can't she use the overage from the Prepaid plan to pay for housing, though? I thought that if you got Bright Futures and also had FLPrepaid, the school rebated the scholarship amount back to the student? We also did FLPrepaid (4 years of tuition and fees, 1 years of dorm), and we hope that Bright Futures is still around in some form when our toddler starts college.


that was my undestanding also but I just googled it and found this- Im wondering what I will do with that 4 year PAID college tution if the kids qualify. Ugh- something else to worry about..

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program
The Bright Futures Scholarship Program offers two awards for high school students who earn an academic diploma.

The Florida Medallion Scholars Award (FMS)
Award: 75% of Florida public college tuition and fees (including lab fees up to $300 per semester). For private institutions a fixed award amount is given based on 75% of the average tuition and fees covered by a comparable Florida public institution prorated by term and hours.
GPA: 3.0 weighted (based on FLA Scholarship Program Weighting system: .5 quality pt for Honors and AP classes).
Test Scores: Best composite SAT score of one score or the combined best of two or more scores at or above 970, or an ACT score of 20


The Florida Academic Scholars Award (FAS)
Award: 100% of Florida public college tuition fees (including lab fees up to $300 per semester) plus $300 per semester for college related expenses (excluding summer term) prorated by term and hours. For private institutions a fixed award amount is given based on 100% of the average tuition and fees covered at a comparable Florida public institution including the $300 per semester provided for college-related expenses prorated by term and hours.
GPA: 3.5 weighted (as above) on the 15 academic credits.
Test Scores: Best composite SAT score of one score or the combined best of two or more scores at or above 1270 or 28 on the ACT.
Community Service: 75 Hours during grades 9-12
National Merit or National Achievement Scholarship Finalists will receive the Academic Scholars Award regardless of GPA/SAT.
Both rewards are renewable for four years with GPA requirements.
DEADLINE: The Florida Financial Aid Application must be filed by the end of the 7th semester and no later than the end of the 8th semester for the student to be considered for an award under the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

Bright Futures Home Page

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

1-888-827-2004

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 06:05 AM
I agree that people should enjoy their jobs, but there is no doubt that Education is also about increasing your income potential. Unless your last name is Hilton or something like that, you need to be able to support yourself.

:thumbsup2

by MrsPeteI work in my degree field. DH works in his degree field. I know more people who DO work in their fields than don't! The majority of my personal friends who don't work in their degree fields are SAHMs, which is -- for the purposes of this discussion -- not really applicable.

Kids just out of high school need guidance to make good choices for college. You haven't lived with them for 18 years without getting to know their strengths and weaknesses, and you haven't lived in the world for however many years without having a grasp of what jobs pay well and would be a good match for your children.

I agree with this as well. Helping my child see where their interests can be used in viable fields which can support them, and the family that each says they would like to have, someday, is my job.

It is like letting them know that if they "wish" for a pony for their birthday, it isn't going to happen. A BA in Philosophy and $5 will get you a cup of coffee.

nowellsl
03-21-2008, 06:12 AM
Can't she use the overage from the Prepaid plan to pay for housing, though? I thought that if you got Bright Futures and also had FLPrepaid, the school rebated the scholarship amount back to the student? We also did FLPrepaid (4 years of tuition and fees, 1 years of dorm), and we hope that Bright Futures is still around in some form when our toddler starts college.

She could if it was enough...by the time you take out books and other fees (not paid by pre-paid (the fee plan doesn't actually pay for all the fees) etc. she usually gets a check for around $1,000 to $1,500 and that includes the small grant. She could use that for housing but it wouldn't go very far!

crisi
03-21-2008, 06:17 AM
I just finished a "practical degree" in Accounting. My first degree was in Art History. I'm a six figure a year project manager with an Art History degree. My husband makes the "real money" in our house - his degree is in Anthropology and he works for a big online retailer in management. Liberal Arts majors can succeed - and quite well - but you won't be a Philosopher with a B.A. Or an Anthropoligist or an Art Historian - or by the way, anything in a biology field including Marine Biology and Entomology. Or if you DO get lucky enough to find work in your field it will pay slightly worse than flipping burgers as a lab tech or museum tech. You step out into the business world and work your way up, learning business by the ropes. The CEO for the Fortune 500 sized company I work for only has a Liberal Arts B.A.

MKCP5
03-21-2008, 06:29 AM
I just finished a "practical degree" in Accounting. My first degree was in Art History. I'm a six figure a year project manager with an Art History degree. My husband makes the "real money" in our house - his degree is in Anthropology and he works for a big online retailer in management. Liberal Arts majors can succeed - and quite well - but you won't be a Philosopher with a B.A. Or an Anthropoligist or an Art Historian - or by the way, anything in a biology field including Marine Biology and Entomology. Or if you DO get lucky enough to find work in your field it will pay slightly worse than flipping burgers as a lab tech or museum tech. You step out into the business world and work your way up, learning business by the ropes. The CEO for the Fortune 500 sized company I work for only has a Liberal Arts B.A.


My point exactly. Though mnay may use the degrees that they chose for their life's work, many do not. I believe we need to guide our children as best as we can and watch them explore and grow and sometimes things change as we do that

Green Tea
03-21-2008, 07:57 AM
My DH and I are just the opposite in terms of what to study in college. We are pushing a liberal arts curriculum. Graduate school is the place for professional training, in our opinions. Being able to think critically, write, converse on any topic, have a base of knowledge in all subjects is the most important base in our minds.

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 08:02 AM
All 4 year degrees are LA, in general. That is the purpose of the core classes.

DH has only a BS, but in his field, there is no reason to get a higher degree. I couldn't do what I do with less than a Masters, and went for my PhD just for fun.

crisi
03-21-2008, 09:20 AM
My point exactly. Though mnay may use the degrees that they chose for their life's work, many do not. I believe we need to guide our children as best as we can and watch them explore and grow and sometimes things change as we do that

I think, however, that its important to recognize the trade you make. I spent years as an Admin Assistant with a college degree....my husband worked in a coffee shop. He "got lucky" in the "desktop publishing" boom - and moved into typesetting (now pretty much a lost art) and from there into copywriting for an ad agency. From there he got lucky in the dot com boom and ended up in ecommerce. Luck as well as talent has been a HUGE factor in his success. I moved from secretarial work into IT systems administration when such a jump was possible, and from there into project management.

That's a longer, less well paid initially, and to some extent more frustrating career path than getting out with an Accounting degree and getting hired to do audit work for E&Y your first year out of school. Or majoring in ChemEng and working for Dow. It takes a certain amount of willingness to accept the opportunities and paths presented you. I know a trained biologist who is a web designer. I know a sociologist who is a technical manager. I know a theatre arts major who is a technical writer. A wildlife biologist who sells skiwear. A biologist who is a financial planner.

crisi
03-21-2008, 09:25 AM
All 4 year degrees are LA, in general. That is the purpose of the core classes.

DH has only a BS, but in his field, there is no reason to get a higher degree. I couldn't do what I do with less than a Masters, and went for my PhD just for fun.

No they aren't. Liberal Arts degrees are quite seperate things than Business, Nursing, Education, CompSci or Engineering degrees. Those degrees make you take core classes, but they also prepare you to enter a specific and employable field. Almost no one takes a B.A. in History and becomes an employed Historian. Almost everyone who gets a B.S. in Engineering is employed withint the next year as an Engineer (or they go to grad school).

SCQ86
03-21-2008, 10:12 AM
Wanted to put my two cents in......first of all want to say I have a freshman in college...and the financial side of it is a nightmare :scared1:

But I did have a great HS college counselor that just gave us the facts. One of the things that stuck out was the family contribution. When you fill out the FAFSA, it will give you your EFC, but if your college age child works, it take into account all that money hey made that year. So with that said, say for example, without a child working your EFC is $5,000, same family same tax return, but a child working that earned $2,000 that year too, your EFC will increase $2,000. Sometimes it is not good having a child work to earn money for college, they do figure into that the child will put all that money into college. But of course that algorithm is used for grants and loans. That darn EFC is a catch 22.

Also, as a personal note....son started college September '07.....if they offer you a Perkins Loan....apply really early....the college was out of funds by July of '07.....wasn't prepared for that one...ugghhhh!

Another side note, your child will receive everything....because basically they are adults...:rotfl2: ....with that said, if you have a responsible child, they will take care of everything. If you don't (can you tell which one I have :lmao: ) make sure you are constantly on their behinds, but make sure they take care of their stuff....don't do it for them.

My son is a procrastinator and he waited until the day of spring semester started to get his stuff in order....and he took care of it....but of course he was crying at the bursur's office and befriended everyone to get it done....he learned his lesson.....the hard way......also, tell your kids a little crying goes a long way. ;)

Green Tea
03-21-2008, 10:17 AM
All 4 year degrees are LA, in general. That is the purpose of the core classes.

.

I disagree. So many things are not truly a breadth of knowlege. Engineering-very focused. Business-also not an across the curriculum kind of thing. Just our preference for our children, all are different. And, whether they take the advice-who knows.:)

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 10:19 AM
No they aren't. Liberal Arts degrees are quite seperate things than Business, Nursing, Education, CompSci or Engineering degrees. Those degrees make you take core classes, but they also prepare you to enter a specific and employable field. Almost no one takes a B.A. in History and becomes an employed Historian. Almost everyone who gets a B.S. in Engineering is employed withint the next year as an Engineer (or they go to grad school).

But my BS in CompSci DH (LOL, that just sounds funny!) also took English, History, Science, Spanish, etc. Core classes. Teachers, business, and engineers at our school do also. I"m not sure about nursing as it isn't offered. Basically two years worth, both at OU, and MC. colleges I know intimately.

crisi
03-21-2008, 10:23 AM
But my BS in CompSci DH (LOL, that just sounds funny!) also took English, History, Science, Spanish, etc. Core classes. Teachers, business, and engineers at our school do also. I"m not sure about nursing as it isn't offered.

You are required to get some core courses with those degrees - but they are NOT Liberal Arts degrees. Liberal Arts degrees don't require anything but courses within the liberal arts ciriculum. Where an Education degree requires courses from the College of Education. An Engineering degree requires courses from the School of Engineering.

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 10:41 AM
Combining pre-professional and liberal arts programs delivers the experience and knowledge students need for the world of work.

From the MC website, as one of the 9 stated core values. It is possible to receive the benefits of a liberal arts school/program and still acquire the knowledge in a specific area in order to get a job.

Of course, here, they are likely to talk the student into two extra majors and a couple more minors...those suckers are money in the bank...:rotfl:

chris1gill
03-21-2008, 11:34 AM
All 4 year degrees are LA, in general. That is the purpose of the core classes.

DH has only a BS, but in his field, there is no reason to get a higher degree. I couldn't do what I do with less than a Masters, and went for my PhD just for fun.

Not if you're a Comp Sci major, you go to an Engineering school, you take few core classes... Out of my five year program I might have taken 10 classes that were not core to my degree field. Additionally we were required to get co-op jobs, and our graduation rates to related jobs was near 100% Those of us who went on for Master's did so while working full time, nobody to my recollection went straight on the next year to get their Masters... We all had at least 6-9 months experience, I had 1.5 years as I had extended co-ops...

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 11:36 AM
ummm...no....Different schools...different programs.

I was married to my dear darling husband...I think i'd be aware of him doing a co-op, or not doing the LA classes. My editing skills were in great need during those years...LOL.

While academic programs at Marietta College are quite diverse, all have a strong liberal arts foundation. From traditional liberal arts majors such as English and History, to unique professional programs, including Petroleum Engineering and Athletic Training, each major is carefully designed to prepare students for life after college.

The college has identified a number of core values and our curriculum reflects these values. One core value is connecting a broad liberal arts background to the world of work. To that end, students in every major have an opportunity to participate in an internship experience in their field.

In addition, we value internationalization and leadership, and require students to take classes in those areas as part of their general education program.

Another core value is our commitment to the first year of college. To prepare you for college life all first-year students participate in a first-year seminar.

The academic programs are supported by a number of centers that focus on success: the Academic Resource Center provides tutoring and study skills training, the Writing Center helps students improve their writing, the library provides electronic sources and extensive databases as well as the traditional printed materials, and special services are provided to our international students who are making the transition to a new culture.

Green Tea
03-21-2008, 12:07 PM
From the MC website,

What school is MC? Just curious. I assume the OU is Ohio?

Still waiting for acceptance/rejection letters or emails here. Next week will be a long week for a lot of seniors!:)

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 12:11 PM
Marietta College. Southeastern, OH. Nice school. Great baseball team (NCAAA). One of those places that is pretty much perfect. Not that I am biased in any way shape or form!

Small city (first in the Northwest Territory...), with nearest Borders being in Parkersburg, WV, 15 miles down the road.

Marietta.edu

I remember waiting for letters...that was so hard!

LoveBWVVBR
03-21-2008, 01:52 PM
I disagree. So many things are not truly a breadth of knowlege. Engineering-very focused. Business-also not an across the curriculum kind of thing. Just our preference for our children, all are different. And, whether they take the advice-who knows.:)

As an engineer (BSME) with my Masters' in Business, and I feel like I got a well-rounded education, particularly in grad. school. Honestly, high school is when you learn the liberal arts IMHO unless you plan to go on to a very specific LA-related field. College is for becoming employable in your field upon graduation, and grad school is the icing on the employment cake (and is often necessary). If your child receives a well-rounded high school education, then there is nothing limiting about majoring in a "focused" field in college/graduate school.

LoveBWVVBR
03-21-2008, 01:57 PM
But my BS in CompSci DH (LOL, that just sounds funny!) also took English, History, Science, Spanish, etc. Core classes. Teachers, business, and engineers at our school do also. I"m not sure about nursing as it isn't offered. Basically two years worth, both at OU, and MC. colleges I know intimately.

I'm an engineer and I took 6 non-engineering courses in college to fulfill the degree requirement. It would have taken a lot of extra time in school (and more tuition $$) to take more liberal arts courses!

Green Tea
03-21-2008, 02:06 PM
College is for becoming employable in your field upon graduation, and grad school is the icing on the employment cake (and is often necessary). Il.

As I said, a liberal arts undergraduate experience is my DH and my philosophies in hopes for our children's educations. Some lean one way, some another. That's what evens out the world, right? We feel grad school is the place for more specialized education, but take the time in ungrad to find what you really love. With a wide range of experiences you can easily shift from one thing to another easily in your career path. Just our opinions.:)

LoveBWVVBR
03-21-2008, 02:12 PM
As I said, a liberal arts undergraduate experience is my DH and my philosophies in hopes for our children's educations. Some lean one way, some another. That's what evens out the world, right? We feel grad school is the place for more specialized education, but take the time in ungrad to find what you really love. With a wide range of experiences you can easily shift from one thing to another easily in your career path. Just our opinions.:)

I think it's a nice idea, but college is so $$$ if you don't qualify for decent financial aid (and from this board, I'm learning how difficult that really is!). What if your child comes out with a well-rounded education but no employable field and then has to take out big loans to go to grad school? A lot of my friends are paying off the equivalent of a home mortgage in undergrad and especially grad. school debt. All of them majored in the liberal arts as undergrads. They had nicer undergrad. experiences than I did, but they're going to be paying for that for a very long time:guilty:

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 02:13 PM
I'm an engineer and I took 6 non-engineering courses in college to fulfill the degree requirement. It would have taken a lot of extra time in school (and more tuition $$) to take more liberal arts courses!

I don't know about engineering. I know that Marietta has one of the top Petroleum Engineering undergrad programs in the country. OU seems to have a separate college for engineers.:confused3 Who knew...

crisi
03-21-2008, 02:49 PM
I don't know about engineering. I know that Marietta has one of the top Petroleum Engineering undergrad programs in the country. OU seems to have a separate college for engineers.:confused3 Who knew...

Most bigger schools have seperate colleges for liberal arts/ engineering/ education/ nursing/ business. When I went to the University of Minnesota, I went to the College of Liberal Arts. Later I went to Metro State, where I went to the College of Business. My ex husband went to the University of Minnesota - Institute of Technology where he majored in Chem Eng and later switched to CSci - then he switched again to the College of Education - which is where he evenutally graduated from. My sister went to Winona State's School of Nursing. When you start seperating these schools out, you are left with a Liberal Arts College to teach Philosophy and Comparative Lit and the like. Generally Liberal Arts colleges give out B.A.s - when you start looking at speciality applications, you get a B.S. - I have a B.S. in Accounting because its specalized. But there isn't a hard and fast standard. Also there isn't a hard and fast standard for all subjects - sometimes Economics is a liberal arts degree. Sometimes its a business degree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor_of_Arts

Now my husband went to a pure Liberal Arts College - a small school where the most "employable" degree offered was a B.A. in Biology. They didn't even have business majors. Now, its a great school - and we will go to a reunion this Spring and if the past is any indication, rub elbows with some politicians and business people of international standing. I don't know if I know anyone who graduated from there that hasn't been as successful as they've chosen to be - with time.

And don't forget that there are also tech schools. If you really want to be employable - go to tech school, become an electrician or a plumber.

meandtheguys2
03-21-2008, 03:18 PM
And don't forget that there are also tech schools. If you really want to be employable - go to tech school, become an electrician or a plumber.

No kidding. A friend of ours is a welder, and they are begging for people to apprentice. They pay them and teach them in the evenings. Work three years as an apprentice, and then you start making big bucks.

I still like the schools that manage the mix of LA and specialties. :)

BrerMom
03-21-2008, 04:55 PM
And don't forget that there are also tech schools. If you really want to be employable - go to tech school, become an electrician or a plumber.Exactly. Or car mechanic. Our car mechanic says there is going to be a huge shortage soon because the average age of mechanics is much closer to retirement than to just beginning their career.

FINFAN
03-21-2008, 08:43 PM
I just think it's a real eye opener that each year of college on average is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the salary of someone who has been working for 20 -30 years. I am using national average. It is just lunacy that something we did years ago, get that college degree, work in said field of that degree ( in our case I will use Engineering) and 28 years later, a state school our child has applied to will cost just under 1/2 of DH salary...the salary that has been getting hit ever since 9/11. Colleges are a business tho, looking out only for their bottom line. Can you imagine if they should be an integral part of the future of this country, helping education become a reality for it's residents and reaping the fruits of that knowledge and creativity? Nah, that would be in a dreamworld. go figure.

phragmipedium
03-21-2008, 09:16 PM
Can you imagine if they should be an integral part of the future of this country, helping education become a reality for it's residents and reaping the fruits of that knowledge and creativity? Nah, that would be in a dreamworld. go figure.

I don't know if that's quite fair. A college does have to run itself as a business to stay open, but it's not inexpensive to provide a quality education. Even so, it's possible to find a relatively reasonably-priced education and make choices that help keep costs down for yourself, as well as for students to be proactive and make choices that will help themselves earn some of the myriad scholarship opportunities available.

Might a student be able to go to a $30,000/year school for four years and walk away without loans? Probably not, especially without serious savings or a family income that can handle that comfortably. But they might be able to go to a community college for two years and finish up with two more at a state university, or a private university where they've earned scholarships, perhaps while living at home or with family members, and while working part-time. Every family and every student has to make choices about what they can afford and what they're willing to borrow.

I attended a public four-year college. This was my choice and where I planned to go since I was younger. I worked hard in high school, earned straight A's, and participated in lots of extra curricular clubs and community service - no athletics or music as I'm not at all skilled in those areas. I took rigorous, AP coursework. :) I applied for lots of scholarships, as well. I planned my high school career with the intention of making myself an attractive selection for my college of choice as well as scholarship committees. I earned a tuition full-ride scholarship to my college of choice as well as a couple of smaller scholarships that were provided only for my first year. My parents provided me with $4500 each year toward living expenses, and I worked 15-20 hours a week each year of college to help with books, personal expenses, and any other living expenses. My EFC ranged from 16,000-19000 per year and I qualified for no need-based aid; we were only offered loans but chose not to borrow. Grand total for the cost of attendance for four years at my college by the financial aid office's estimate? $72,000. Grand total out of pocket for my family? $18,000 (what my parents provided me over the four years for living expenses). Even if my parents hadn't been able to provide that, I could have borrowed just about that much each year in my Stafford loan had I needed to.

I know that not everyone's student receives a tuition full-ride, and there may be those in this thread with EFCs lower than me. But I guess I just want to underscore the importance of making choices by planning - encouraging students not just to apply for scholarships but to prepare for them with what they do in high school, being realistic about the schools you and your children can afford based on what you've saved or are willing to borrow, and really saving - even just putting away a little bit each month from when they are little can really help. And if you haven't done it since they were little? It's never too late to start saving for college.

FINFAN
03-21-2008, 10:54 PM
I'm not syaing that saving is not required,or that we have not done any planning/saving. I am just saying it opened my eyes at the comparison of cost vs income...relativley speaking. Look at how hard you worked, did everything right to get your education, and thank heaven there are community colleges, (we will be seriously looking into this route)but when state schools are thought of as the average choice in the US...c'mon, Ivy leagues are the top, state schools the average, and Jr. college the minimum level, it just shocks me that the average school is out of reach for the average salary. Even Stanford has thought about ( and may have already done this) waving tuition for students whose family income is less than 100,000. Now , they did not disclose the requirements for said students, but kudos for them for actually takng into account the severity of the current imbalance of salary vs. college cost. I personally think that what you put into the education at any school is what you will get out of it, but employers do look at the schools on resume's, schools that are the best match for their business/field, so schools names, reputations are a factor in the job search. And while I admire your accomplishments, truly, I do. Some students do not have the discipline you had or even more basic, the general knowledge or guidance during high school to know how important grade/scores really are in financial terms. sadly, an average salary family , with an average academic student is not going to be able to go to average state school, simply due to the fact that the cost is no longer average. And it's a shame, as that student should have the same opportunity as anyone else...that's what the state institutions were wonderful for...those who were not accepted to the Ivy's. No longer does that seem to be an opportunity.
Also, times ahve changed for the average parent, many are faced with being the 'tweeners....trying to save for college, retirement AND caring for aging parents. It simply is not as easy today to save for college on an average salary. Iam not 100% sure, but if memory serves, it was during Ronald Reagans presidency when the financail aid process was redone...no longer was debt taken into consideration when applying...and that was to keep folsk from living exravagantly buying boats, 2nd homes etc and then saying they could not afford college, I agree, however, now there is no wiggle room for legitimate costs/debt of everyday life, so it is still unbalanced, JMHO.

NotUrsula
03-21-2008, 11:32 PM
Even Stanford has thought about ( and may have already done this) waving tuition for students whose family income is less than 100,000. Now , they did not disclose the requirements for said students, but kudos for them for actually takng into account the severity of the current imbalance of salary vs. college cost.

That's not why they did it, though. It isn't about giving "deserving" students' families a break, it's about balancing the socioeconomic diversity of the student body. Stanford, like most top-tier private schools, was finding that all of their students were either very wealthy or VERY poor. One group paid, and the other qualified for grants. The middle class student was disappearing, and they wanted them back so that those rich and poor kids could have the experience of working and mingling with them.

Green Tea
03-22-2008, 04:52 AM
That's not why they did it, though. It isn't about giving "deserving" students' families a break, it's about balancing the socioeconomic diversity of the student body. Stanford, like most top-tier private schools, was finding that all of their students were either very wealthy or VERY poor. One group paid, and the other qualified for grants. The middle class student was disappearing, and they wanted them back so that those rich and poor kids could have the experience of working and mingling with them.

This is so true at most private schools. Private education is attainable by the wealthy and the poor. There is a disappearing middle class. Middle income folks EFC is too high, even though many privates will make up all costs above EFC. The most needly a go, the least needy go. The middle class had tough decisions to make.

mannasn
03-22-2008, 04:54 AM
This is so true at most private schools. Private education is attainable by the wealthy and the poor. There is a disappearing middle class. Middle income folks EFC is too high, even though many privates will make up all costs above EFC. The most needly a go, the least needy go. The middle class had tough decisions to make.

Agreed!

I have always said, "it just doesn't pay to be middle class!" :(