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Old 03-28-08, 11:21 AM   #1
Versa2nr
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Other college students...

Hey all,

I need some advice/tips/general knowledge... I am running out of ideas on how to go about this. I am a student in college right now and am just getting to the pouint where I can no longer afford to go. I am married and I currently work full time. I have a decent job, but due to a loophole that the company found I am not eligible for tuition reimbursement because my degree program is not "directly work related." I want to continue and finish sometime this millenium but based on my salary alone it is a no go. I have filled out numerous applications for scholarships and grants but keep getting turned down due to there not being a financial need. Student loans are out because I have a car note and rent an apartment. So they are saying I have too much open credit right now.

So to all of you who came before me, how did you do it? Tuition is 5k for this semester and unless I dont eat, I cannot scrape that kind of money together between now and August. Is there a better student loan out there for people with very average credit? I just want to finish school, but keep running into financial problems. I can work full time but my grades suffer, or I can do really well in school but then my work suffers. Maybe I am just misguided and doing things all wrong. I would like to graduate before I am 30 but I dont think that is going to happen. I really dont want to quit school especially since I have so much time and money invested already. Not finishing would be a total waste.

Any thoughts or input are greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-28-08, 11:27 AM   #2
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What does your budget look like? Can you share some numbers? Does your wife work?
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Old 03-28-08, 11:28 AM   #3
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See about Work Study?
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Old 03-28-08, 11:30 AM   #4
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This may not be your favorite solution... but what is your car worth? If you sell it and buy a less expensive vehicle, will that help your budget and possibly increase your chances for student loans?
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Old 03-28-08, 11:33 AM   #5
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have you applied for federal aid? try loans anyways. 5k is cheep in tuition.
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Old 03-28-08, 11:35 AM   #6
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Between myself and the spouse we make about 32k a year. However we are both in school as well. Thankfully we have the benefit of a community college close by, but in order to finish my Bachelors I need to transfer to a university.

Monthly costs work out to about 1400.00 give or take not including tuition. This number includes rent, utilities, car and insurance, groceries, internet, and the 2 credit cards we have.

I have tried for federal aid already and they keep telling me that we make too much because of our combined income. Also, work study programs around here are very hit or miss. Most dont last very long, the last thing I want to have to worry about is trying to get another work study lined up in the middle of a semester.

and the car is almost paid off, just 2 more years on the note thank goodness. But the car has to stay, it is the only one we have.

Last edited by Versa2nr; 03-28-08 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 03-28-08, 11:37 AM   #7
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$100/mo grociers for 2 is really good. I'm about $100/mo for one person. Care to share some of your secrets?
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Old 03-28-08, 11:39 AM   #8
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-what kind of school is it?
-Can you goto a community college for cheaper?
-Have you contacted the schools financial aid office to see if they can help you out at all?
-Are loans something you would do?
-What kind of classes are you taking? Often times night/wknd classes are cheaper then day classes.
-Look at the classes you have left to take in your degree program. Are those classes in another work related program? This way you can take the course while in another major, have work pay for them, then switch majors down the road?
-Do you have other expenses you can cut? not buying that new bike?

Thats all I for now. I have worked in college admissions and financial aid for a few years and I am actually looking to get back into it so I have a decent wealth of knowledge about it all.
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Old 03-28-08, 11:40 AM   #9
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What is the total tuition for the both of you?
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Old 03-28-08, 11:40 AM   #10
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yeah. seriously. it's like $200 a month for me and all i eat are omelets, cornbread, rice, lentils, cheese, oatmeal, frozen pepper strips and collard greens, bananas, and v8.
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Old 03-28-08, 11:49 AM   #11
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I am finishing up at a community college this semester. In order to complete my B.S. I need to transfer to a university. I already have the max number of credits that will transfer. The 5k is only for 12 hours for the fall semester.

For the inquires about 100$ food budget, invest in fozen veggies, those Malt o meal bags of cereal and look at the big packages of meat. we usualy get the big 10 lb of hamburger meat and divide it into about 15 and toss it in the freezer. Peanyt butter and Jelly in bulk as well.

Usually classes for me go all day. The locations that offer classes at night are about another 30 min drive to another campus. I am inquiring on finishing my degree online to see if it makes a difference.

At this point I am ready to just finish with my associates and be done with it. Anyone happen to know if you can be cometitive in the computer programming field with just an associates?
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Old 03-28-08, 12:00 PM   #12
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What University are we talking about here if I may ask? I dont know much about the field of computer programing because I have always worked in liberal arts schools. I would think that the financial aid office of a university would really help you out a lot.
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Old 03-28-08, 12:02 PM   #13
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Do all you can to graduate. You can transfer to a regular 4 yr university after taking a year or two off working and stuff. An associates isn't worth much. Marginal.
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Old 03-28-08, 03:27 PM   #14
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Good to know. Ugh I dont look forward to business law...
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Old 03-28-08, 03:38 PM   #15
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Business law is pedestrian, but it pays the bills.
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Old 03-28-08, 03:42 PM   #16
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Take a year off, sell the car, and buy something cheaper if possible, live in a smaller place...
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Old 03-28-08, 03:51 PM   #17
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Take a year off, sell the car, and buy something cheaper if possible, live in a smaller place...
Agreed.

Who is telling you that you have too much credit btw? Private banks or your financial aid office? Obviously you need to keep your debt in check but student loans have been pretty easy for me to get. Though, they are my only debt...
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Old 03-28-08, 04:43 PM   #18
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Keep trying for the scholarships. Bursaries are the ones that look at financial need, scholarships are usually based on marks, an essay, and may have some special conditions (E.g. I have applied for one that is for children and grandchildren of British Army officers). Grants are often more like scholarships than bursaries, but they are much harder to get.

Other than that, keep trying for loans. My understanding is that there are a lot of different programs in the US (here in Canada it is all one government program, which has its good and bad points) so there may yet be one out there for you.

I really can't see how the rent comes into it in terms of your credit... ?

I feel your pain, I'm in the last stretch of (yet another) bachelors' program and I am even more broke than the first time around.

See if your work will let you do flex-time in lieu of helping with tuition.

(this is really random, sorry)

Crunch some numbers, see what happens if you take a year off and save up, take classes part time, change jobs, sell the car (I know you have 2 years left on the note and might be upside-down there), any other crazy combination that you can think of. Beg from relatives; trade with relatives (up here you can transfer the tuition tax credit to spouse, parent, or grandparents, and that can be a hefty offset to someone in a higher tax bracket than you are).

Cheap food - looks like you have that covered

Good luck!
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Old 03-29-08, 07:38 AM   #19
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i dont know much, but i do know theres tons of free money everywhere. keep looking, there are always scholarships, aid oppurtunities etc. i've always been told "dont let money stop you from anything" and there is nothing i've wanted to do that i havent done. if geting to the next level of educatoin is as important to you as you say it is, then you wont settle for an associates.
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Old 03-29-08, 09:10 AM   #20
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you said that you've filled out numerous applications for scholarships and grants, I take it you have filled out a fafsa right? You should be able to qualify for a federal loan. I've qualified for a loan making about 32K/yr by myself.
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Old 03-29-08, 10:29 AM   #21
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check out www.fastweb.com.

And a new employer.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:21 AM   #22
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Have you actually talked to a financial aid person at the college you are going to attend? In my experience, I am currently in college, married , have two kids and a mortgage, they are usually willing to bend over backwards to get you the money needed to attend their college whether it's through grants or loans.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:51 AM   #23
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I actually made an appointment to go down to the Financial aid office for Monday this week. I am doing something wrong if there is money out there and I am not able to access it. As fas as the comment to sell the car is concerned, it would be a nice thought but not realistic since San Antonio does not have a very reliable public transportation system that could get me to and from work and school in a reasonable amount of time and without numerous connections. I tried this past semester biking it and it wore me out something fierce. 40 miles a day round trip on school days 5 days a week plus 14 miles a day round trip to work 4 days a week. I got in good shape but was always very tired. For the summer I lucked out and the Mrs. and I are taking the same class at the same time. This way I wont have to worry so much about getting to and from class. Just the to and from work part.
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Old 03-30-08, 11:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Versa2nr View Post
I have a decent job, but due to a loophole that the company found I am not eligible for tuition reimbursement because my degree program is not "directly work related." .

Can you clarify this?

Is your employer not reimbursing you because they don't reimburse for *any* degree program, or are they refusing to reimburse you because of the particular degree you're pursuing?

If it's the latter...is there any room to negotiate w/your employer? Could you adjust your degree path a bit to line up a bit closer to what your employer is requesting? You might have to change your major but you could still "minor" in your preferred field and make things work. Even if you ended up having to take more classes in the long run you might be able to swing some additional funding from your current employer.
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Old 03-30-08, 12:06 PM   #25
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Well there is a statement in the employee handbook that goes something like...

"Courses must be directly related to maintaining or improving skills required for the employee's current job and must be taken at an accredited institution. Courses that prepare an employee for a next level position are not reimbursable."

Since a manager has to approve the request first before it is even considered, there is a lot of wiggle room to say that the course is not related to the current position. I work in customer service currently, and am unfortunatley running out of basics to claim. I am majoring in Information Systems and Networks. So trying to get my Oracle and Unix classes approved is about as probable as Shaquille O'Neal fitting into a hardtop Miata. It just doesnt happen...

I am still trying to get my Accounting classes and hopefully my Marketing and Business Law covered as well. It isn't easy though. I usually end up writing a few essays to describe how each class will benefit my current position. Unfortunatley even after that it still gets declined most of the time.
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