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What to do when you can't afford college?

liveandlearn2011liveandlearn2011 Posts: 512Registered User Member
My parents keep trying to assure me that we can pay for me to go to college, but I know for a fact that if I don't get in to a school that will give me considerable amounts of financial aid, we will not be able to swing it without me taking out thousands upon thousands of dollars in loans.

Right now, I'm hoping that I will be able to get into Texas A&M, because I qualify for their Aggie Assurance program (I'll get a full-tuition scholarship).

However, since I'm not in the top-10% of my class, my admission is not guaranteed and I could be rejected. So, if that DOES happen, I'm not sure what to do.

My grades and test scores are not high enough for me to receive large amounts of merit aid to go to any of the big-name schools I get into (I've already gotten into Alabama and Arkansas). I thought I would be able to bring up my SAT scores enough that I WOULD qualify, but I was wrong.

So, would it be better for me to:
A- Take out all of the loans to pay for college
B- Go to community college
C- Go straight to work and try to go to college once I have money of my own to pay

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to give your advice. I would greatly appreciate it.
Post edited by liveandlearn2011 on
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Replies to: What to do when you can't afford college?

  • 2college2college2college2college Posts: 1,523- Senior Member
    Anything but A.
  • alamemomalamemom Posts: 6,384Registered User Senior Member
    B

    Good luck! Hopefully you will be accepted to Texas A&M :) and B will just be a back-up plan.
  • psych_psych_ Posts: 1,423Registered User Senior Member
    Maybe a Plan D--depending on your EFC, you may qualify for free tuition at other state schools (UTEP and UT-PB are the ones I know off--there may be others). Or E--if you don't get into A&M, they have a partnership with the local CC, where you take part of your courses at the CC and part of them at A&M.

    ETA: From the A&M admissions website:
    The Blinn TEAM (“Transfer Enrollment at A&M”) Program is a collaborative, coenrollment partnership between a major university (Texas A&M) and a community college ( Blinn College ). Each year since 2001 this unique initiative has allowed the admission of additional hundreds of qualified students into the Texas A&M freshman class than would have otherwise been possible due to enrollment management limitations.

    Participating students are initially admitted to Texas A&M University on a part-time basis, and may earn full admission by several methods. Blinn TEAM students are enrolled in one academic course at Texas A&M each semester, and the remainder of their courses at the Bryan Campus of Blinn College . Students who complete 45 Blinn credit hours and 15 A&M credit hours within a two-year period, while maintaining a 3.0 grade point ratio at each school, are automatically admitted to Texas A&M. TEAM students who wish to transition to A&M sooner may compete for transfer admission when they meet transfer eligibility. Finally, students who do not transition by the aforementioned methods may fully matriculate via the university’s readmission process after their two year program has concluded.

    Blinn TEAM students benefit from enrollment at both institutions; students enjoy the university experience afforded by Texas A&M (such as residence hall life, sports events, and a huge range of student activities), while enjoying the smaller classroom environments and costs of Blinn College . Academic advisors, faculty, and staff at both schools facilitate TEAM student successes. No other program in Texas connects a junior and senior institution in exactly this way.

    http://blinnteam.tamu.edu/


    B would also work, of course, and you probably would save a good deal of money, provided you live at home.

    Do you meet any of the other A&M auto-admit criteria?
    Applicants qualify for automatic academic admission, if:

    * they are ranked in the top quarter of their graduating class, and
    * achieve a combined SAT Math and SAT Critical Reading score of at least 1300 with a test score of at least 600 in each of these components; or achieve a composite ACT score of at least 30 with a test score of at least 27 in ACT Math and ACT English. Students must take the writing component of the SAT and/or ACT in order for the test score to be considered, and
    * have successfully taken all recommended coursework, and
    * ensure all required credentials are received by the freshman closing date

    Academic Admits
  • liveandlearn2011liveandlearn2011 Posts: 512Registered User Member
    Thanks, everyone!

    I do not qualify for automatic admissions for A&M, because I only got a 560 on the math section of the SAT. My reading score was fine, though.

    I live close to a branch of UT and I was considering going there for a year or two and then transferring to UT-Austin because UT would be better for my major (communications) than A&M would. However, this would be more expensive. Could this be an option, though?
  • psych_psych_ Posts: 1,423Registered User Senior Member
    Does UT still have the CAP program, where you spend two years at a branch campus and then are auto-admitted to the main campus based on GPA?
  • psych_psych_ Posts: 1,423Registered User Senior Member
    Would that be something you'd be open to doing, or would the costs still be too high for your family?
  • liveandlearn2011liveandlearn2011 Posts: 512Registered User Member
    It's a possibility. We live about 45 minutes from a branch of UT, so I could live at home my first year. I could probably work during this time, too to help cover some of the cost of UT. It'll be difficult, but we MIGHT be able to manage it.
  • UT84321UT84321 Posts: 1,118Registered User Senior Member
    You need to have a serious talk with your parents about the money. You all need an accurate understanding about what is feasible.

    You should explore the costs of going to some of the small private schools in TX. Sometimes their aid can make the final cost affordable. Check out Southwestern.

    Option F--Go into the military and fund college using those benefits.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 64,046Registered User Senior Member
    I have an 1860 SAT (CR:600, M:560, W:700) and a 3.62 GPA, and my mom makes just under $25k/year. For as long as I can remember, my goal has been to go to a GOOD college. My original goal was to go to a top-50 school, but I've recently realized that I don't have much of a chance at a top-50, so I'm hoping for a top-100.


    My parents keep trying to assure me that we can pay for me to go to college,


    Are your parents divorced? If so, will your dad help you with costs? Do you have a step-dad? IF so, his income will count on FAFSA.

    If your parents are still married, then then you need to include his income as well.


    You need to sit your parents down and ask EXACTLY what they mean when they say that they can pay for college. Ask them exactly how much they can spend each year. If they think they can borrow for college, they need to consider that their incomes will get considered and they may not qualify for each year's loan. Some parents don't realize that they have re-qualify each year, and any previous years' loans will hurt their ability to qualify for the next year's loan.

    1160 M+CR SAT

    Did you take the SAT today?

    Do you have plans to take the SAT in Dec or later? There are schools that will give you merit for higher scores even after January.

    Look at the following schools...

    UArk (I think you might get instate rates there.)

    Miss St. you might get a scholarship there and Miss St takes late test scores for scholarship consideration.
  • liveandlearn2011liveandlearn2011 Posts: 512Registered User Member
    My parents are divorced and my father is in prison, so he has nothing to contribute. When I say "my parents," I am referring to my mother and grandparents, because they have said they can contribute a little bit.

    I did not take the SAT today, but I am considering taking it in January if I need to.

    I have already applied to UArk and have been accepted. I was really excited because I DO qualify for in-state tuition, however, my grandfather refuses to let me go there because he feels that it's not a "good school" and that I won't be able to get a job with a UArk degree.

    Out-of-pocket, we probably can't pay for more than about $3-5k/year because I do have a younger sister who's a freshman in high school right now. I will be willing to work, so that will help pay for some. Plus, I can probably manage a few SMALL loans. Plus, I believe we qualify for some pretty good federal aid.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,615Super Moderator Senior Member
    It sounds like your EFC will be 0, which would qualify you for a maximum Pell grant. You would also be eligible for Stafford loans. This means that you could count on receiving $5550 Pell (maybe more if it does increase next year) and $5500 in loans (3500 sub, 2000 unsub). This totals $11,050 for your freshman year.

    Knowing the above, you will need to be sure that you have an option you can afford. Once that is set, you can consider some other options that might work for you. I am not familiar with the schools in your area, but others here can provide good suggestions.

    As far as Arkansas goes, can you afford it? You need to consider tuition, fees, room, and board. If you can afford it on $11,000-$15,000/year (your for-sure money & your for-sure-plus-family-contribution-if-you-can-talk-them-into-helping-out-if-you-go-to-Arkansas), then that is an option to discuss further with your family. If not, though, there is no point arguing about it.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 64,046Registered User Senior Member
    Out-of-pocket, we probably can't pay for more than about $3-5k/year


    Hmmm....I wonder why your mom/grandparents have been saying that they will pay for your college? Do they not know how much college costs? Or do they think that you'll just go to a CC for a couple of years and then transfer to a state school that you can commute to?


    I have already applied to UArk and have been accepted. I was really excited because I DO qualify for in-state tuition, however, my grandfather refuses to let me go there because he feels that it's not a "good school" and that I won't be able to get a job with a UArk degree.


    Well, don't argue with grandpa now.....let reality happen. Adults often make lofty statements, but then reality smacks them in the face later. If he's not going to pay for you to go to a BETTER college, then what does he expect you to do?


    We live about 45 minutes from a branch of UT, so I could live at home my first year. I could probably work during this time, too to help cover some of the cost of UT.

    ?????

    Are you saying that your grandpa would say that a local UT branch is ok, but UArk is not? That seems weird.

    Would he let you go to UArk for 2 years and then transfer to UT-Austin?
  • liveandlearn2011liveandlearn2011 Posts: 512Registered User Member
    That's basically what he's saying, yes. And the UArk-UT transfer idea MIGHT work. I would have to sit down and figure a few things out, but I might suggest that to him.

    I've got a feeling that he would say something along the lines of, "If you're going to transfer, you might as well go to the local UT campus."

    It's worth talking about, though. I never considered that as an option.
  • psych_psych_ Posts: 1,423Registered User Senior Member
    Keep in mind that at UT Austin, just factoring in room board, tuition, and fess, you'd be paying at least $20k a year, if not more. FINANCIAL AID: 2010-2011 Undergraduate Cost of Attendance (COA)

    The good news is that you would have the Pell Grant (assuming a $0 EFC, $5500) and possibly the TEXAS Grant for up to ~$6000, though you could only get this if you 1) enrolled as a freshman, 2) transferred from a TX CC with an associates degree or 3)transferred from another TX public U (the grant may transfer or not) or outside of state U with 30 credits or less. College For All Texans: TEXAS Grant

    That would take away $11.5k, leaving you with about $8.5k, up to $5500 of which can be covered with Stafford loans. This is assuming your personal expenses and books could be adequately covered by working.

    At A&M, after the Aggie Assurance program, your COA (tuition, fees, room, and board) would be around $8100, you would again be eligible for the same Pell amount and would theoretically have the same opportunities for the TEXAS Grant. The $5500 in Stafford loans would be available as well, though you might not need them if your family could pay the $2500-$3000 left over after Pell, if it wasn't covered by the TEXAS Grant. https://financialaid.tamu.edu/Cost/COA_Undergrad.aspx Again, this assumes a job would pay for your other expenses.

    If you went to a branch campus with free tuition for students with your stats and commuted, your costs would likely be covered by a part-time job and Pell alone. With Arkansas, you would still have the Pell but no possibility of state grant money.

    Your EFC will play a big role in your eligibility for the Pell and Texas grants. Have you calculated it yet?
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