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Reaching my aggregate loan limit (and scared)

omitomit Posts: 6Registered User New Member
This is probably an often-asked question, but I'm still learning how to navigate my way around the website, so I can't find answers elsewhere.

I'm at $42,023 in student loans ($23,000 of that is the subsidized loans). I am also $19,941 deep in Pell grants, and I still have 2 years of undergrad to go. What happened is that I originally took an A.A. in Journalism and then UF stopped enrollment for nearly a year in Journalism (during their admissions freeze a few years back. My counselors and financial aid divisors talked me into just waiting out the freeze and taking a Paralegal A.S. while I waited. I was informed that there wouldn't be any issues with my financial aid, because I would still have plenty of money for my undergrad when that was done.

I'm now finished with my A.S., and currently enrolled in St. Leo Online (having given up on UF). Then I looked at the aggregate loan limits and was shocked at how close I am to the cap.

I guess my main question is whether or not I have options for the moment I go over my loan cap. I know I can probably take out private loans, and my GPA is decent, but I'm looking for a backup in case I can't get a scholarship (and I personally don't want to take out private loans). Are there any options for having the cap raised? Will my Pell grants split the new difference?

I've heard of other loan types that aren't Stafford. Do all federal loan types follow the same cap? If not, do I need to do any of the legwork in acquiring them, or will the finaid office fill in the blanks?

Sorry for the wall of text and questions, and thank you very much for your time and help.
Post edited by omit on
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Replies to: Reaching my aggregate loan limit (and scared)

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 59,987Registered User Senior Member
    I'm at $42,023 in student loans ($23,000 of that is the subsidized loans). I am also $19,941 deep in Pell grants,


    ?

    How many semesters/years have you been in college so far?

    Are you an independent student (such as being over 24?).


    Your Pell grants suggest about 8 semesters or so in Pell (depending on grant amount), and your loans suggest about 8 semesters...if you're an independent student.


    The limits are in place to prevent too much debt and to encourage people to graduate in a timely manner. I don't remember how many semesters Pell will be granted...I think it's around 7 years (plus or minus).

    It sounds like between Pell and loans, you're getting about $16k per year in aid...is that right?

    Is there a public univ that you can commute to? Can you work while you're in college?


    Will my Pell grants split the new difference?



    ??? Your Pell grant is based on your EFC.


    Frankly, since you're a journalism major, you shouldn't borrow any more money. That is a hard field to get a good paying job, and you're already going to have a hard time paying back the debt you have.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,083Registered User Senior Member
    Omit, I agree with Mom2college kids. You are in there pretty deeply already in terms of loans. To repay those loans over a 10 year period is going to run you about $700 a month. That's a long time to be paying that much money.

    Are there any nearby state universities where you can finish up your degree? Florida's state college tuitions are very reasonable. St Leo's is private and you are paying prime prices when you deal with them. Even with what is considered a high income, it isn't wise for my family to be paying full rate private prices. You certainly should not at this point.

    How many years of college have you had? How much in PELLS, Staffords and Perkins? Even with an independent student standing you have to have had a number of years of school already to have accumulated your loans. How much more time will it take to get a degree? All questions for you to ask yourself and make some decisions as to what to do. There comes a time when you should just get that diplomas as quickly and cheaply as you can, and you may be at that place.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,942Registered User Senior Member
    Assuming this is all in Stafford loans, then you must be and independent student, (as your loans are already over the maximum for a dependent student). If you already have 23k in subsidized Staffords then you already have reached the aggregate maximum in subsidized and at $42000 total you have another $15500 availability in unsub loans till you reach the aggregate maximum of $57,500. That is a lot of loans.

    The only other federal loan is the Perkins loan. It has very limited funding and many schools do not have any Perkins funding at all. Those that do set their own rules for awarding it. It is very hard to get a Perkins loan.
    Will my Pell grants split the new difference?
    I don't understand what this means. The amount of Pell grant is based only on your EFC and you enrollment status (full time, half time etc). A 0 EFC full time student is eligible for $5550 Pell. As the EFC goes up, Pell eligibility goes down inversely until at an EFC of around 5270 there is 0 pell eligibility.
    I am also $19,941 deep in Pell grants
    I also don't understand this statement. The pell is a grant, it does not have to be repayed (as long as the semester it is paid for is completed). What do you mean by being "deep in Pell grants"?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 59,987Registered User Senior Member
    If you already have 23k in subsidized Staffords then you already have reached the aggregate maximum in subsidized and at $42000 total you have another $15500 availability in unsub loans till you reach the aggregate maximum of $57,500. That is a lot of loans.


    If this student only has about $15k left in eligibility for loans, then he needs a plan that only needs about 7500 in loans for each of his last 2 years of college. That probably means....no private school...and attending school full time with at least 15 credits per semester.


    I am also $19,941 deep in Pell grants
    =============
    I also don't understand this statement.



    I wonder if he's concerned about running out of Pell eligibility...which I thinks happens around the 14th semester. Hopefully, someone knows the exact number.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,468Super Moderator Senior Member
    It's the equivalent of 18 semesters, which is a bit misleading since Pell is actually tracked by schools and ED as a percentage (so it's really 900%). Tracking only started in 08-09, though, so anything awarded prior to that year does not count toward the 900%.
  • omitomit Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    I'm really not all too worried about running my debt too deep. As I've wanted to become a teacher for a least some period of time in the area I grew up as a child. Partly to help where I came from, and partly to take advantage of the loan repayment reduction for certain teachers. I only said I was "deep" in Pell grants, as I was worried about losing that a source of funding.

    The Saint Leo I am attending actually isn't that bad on prices, as I'm not attending their on-campus school. I'm actually taking their online courses and the satellite classes at Santa Fe College in Gainesville. I think classes each semester are running me about 3 grand for 12 credits. Considering the prices for other "online" diplomas, or the cost of moving, this really seems like the cheapest route for me right now. I honestly do just want to finish up and get out into the working world now.

    I estimate my loan debt to be substantial, but by my math it's still much better than what I was looking at if I went to UF. I really just need to make it the next 2 years, and then I'd like to get certified and start teaching. Right around that time, my wife will have finished her CVT program and we'll be able to make some solid decisions on where we want to live and work. We live a very frugal lifestyle, and I foresee repayment of our loans not being all that difficult. We will see though.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 59,987Registered User Senior Member
    I'm really not all too worried about running my debt too deep. As I've wanted to become a teacher for a least some period of time in the area I grew up as a child.


    Well, teaching doesn't pay very well, especially for newish teachers, so even tho you live "frugally", paying back the total (if you do the total) of $57k will mean about $700 per month for 10 LONG years. That's like 2 extra car payments ...in addition to all other expenses.


    What about your credential year? Will you have debt for that as well? Or are you including that in the 2 more years that you have to take?
  • OlymomOlymom Posts: 1,686Registered User Senior Member
    You might check out New College and other programs that might give you credit for your work experience. Also, there are some teacher training programs that pay you for some of your training (do you have to be a graduate to do Americorps?).

    Teaching and Journalism are both horrid choices at the moment. Teachers are suffering under the budget ax and no one is hiring journalists. You might consider what else you can do -- and teach/coach on the side (or do Peace Corps later in life and teach those who so desperately need your help).

    Please watch the latest Suze Orman show where she says, very clearly, when it is and is not wise to borrow for education. Be careful -- it can be a lifetime of shackles. You might want to see what colleges have programs tailored to working people. Many colleges have a "Complete your degree at night" programs that are cheaper and faster than the traditional program.s
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 59,987Registered User Senior Member
    Aren't there also loans for future teachers that can be forgiven if they teach underprivileged kids for a few years?


    I just think that a young married couple should not be burdened with such big loans. Right now they may be able to live frugally while the H takes classes from the home and the wife is finishing her education....but once their in their professional lives, there are usually costs associated with that ....and perhaps at some point within the next 12 years, they may want to start a family.
  • omitomit Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    I was looking up the loan cancellation requirements, and it says that they're only available for teachers that took out Perkin's loans. I'm starting to think the financial aid office at Santa Fe is garbage, because they never once in 4 years told me about that, and I've visited councilors there maybe a dozen times each semester. It's looking like I can only receive about 17,000 dollars removed from my loans as a teacher since they're Stafford loans.

    Are all financial aid offices this obtuse, or am I just severely unlucky? I mean, I currently have an unfortunate situation with the Saint Leo financial aid as well, but I'm planning to open a new post all about that.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,942Registered User Senior Member
    What about the TEACH grant? It is $4000 a year but you have to teach in certain needed subjects and in underprivileged areas for a certain period of time, otherwise they revert to loans with interest dating back to the date the grant is disbursed.
  • MisterKMisterK Posts: 1,552Registered User Senior Member
    Not all teaching jobs are low-paying. Many are actually quite the opposite, along with amazing benefits. Don't buy into the mythology; look around for yourself. Be willing to relocate. You can be exceptionally well compensated as a public school teacher in the right place.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 22,285Registered User Senior Member
    ^ Those jobs are very few and far between, near nonexistant in this economy.
  • MisterKMisterK Posts: 1,552Registered User Senior Member
    ^ We've had this conversation on this forum before. They do exist, and they're not hard to find, either. In my neck of the woods, they're plentiful. With Google, the internet, and a bit of thought, it should be obvious. They're in MI, too (your area); I know it for a fact.

    Granted, there may be some competition for the best jobs - as in every other field. OP - get smart, and look around.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 22,285Registered User Senior Member
    ^ Where in Michigan? I'm curious because I work in a school district, and know many teachers from around the state and this would be news to them.
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