Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I don't see how this will work...

I'm not planning on going to school full time until Fall 2009, but I was curious as to how much financial aid I could expect when that time rolls around so I applied for full financial aid this year as if I were going back this fall. And after some calculations, I don't see how I'll ever be able to pay for school.

All together, including tuition, books, insurance and fees, school is going to cost me about $15,710 per year. If I'm going to go full time and work minimally, I'll probably have to take out another $9,000 a year for living expenses (1,000 per month).

Grand total for school for one year: $24,710.
Grand total available in loans/grants: $17,500.

Something just doesn't add up.

I don't think I can work much during the school year. I'll be taking only four classes a semester, but each of those classes will be either lab courses or advanced science courses. If I want to maintain good grades (and I do...grad school is in the plan), I'm gonna have to work pretty hard which won't leave me with a lot of time outside of school.

I suppose I can apply for tons of scholarships, but I don't have a great GPA right now (because of a semester 7 years ago) and I also don't have the option of doing research (which would put me in the competition) because I'm working full time.

One question: When I apply for financial aid for 2009-2010, is there a way to indicate that my income from 2008-2009 will NOT be the same for 2009-2010? I mean, FAFSA will get my info and according to them, I'll be making a decent salary. So, can I tell OPU that going full-time will mean that I won't have income and will they base my financial aid on that information?

Anyone want to put me through school?


Turns out I have $10,000 available in loans from lenders...so I guess it does work out okay.


Zach said...

I keep hearing on NPR how plenty of banks which usually give out student loans are starting bar them up because of the housing and credit crunches. Looks like you might not have that problem, though!

Matthew said...

1. Don't ever think you don't have the GPA for a scholarship. As long as you don't have to pay out to submit applications, submit as many as you can.

2. Are you planning on living/eating on-campus or off? This could affect how your numbers turn out. It also may affect how easy your life is--I wouldn't have gotten nearly everything done during my undergrad if I'd had to cook for myself and live off-campus.

3. Get in before school starts at finding a job on-campus and preferably in your department. It may not be the best-paying job in the world, but if it has any connection with what you want to do with your life, you're essentially getting paid to learn as well. If you have any experience, you might be able to swing a TAship as an undergrad.

4. Don't give up. Even if you have to take out loans, it's worth it. If you have to borrow a couple thousand dollars more in order to spend time on getting the best grades, do it. Your loans will be deferred through grad school, by which time you ought to be closer to a position where you can repay them more easily.

Just some thoughts from someone who's still in grad school. Good luck with everything!

Laelaps said...

I recently went through something similar. I got my letter for the grant money I could expect this next year and it was only about $800. Last year it was half of my yearly tuition (about $600).

I would say avoid private loans as much as you possibly can. If you have no choice but to get one, then that's what you have to do, but federal grants and loans are the best way to go.

I don't know about your FAFSA questions, though. Maybe you should talk to your school's financial aid/tuition office (if they are there now, if not ask in the fall).