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Keep taking loans?

lynacclynacc Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
I'm pretty sure that this question has already been asked but I couldn't find any thread( well I also didn't look he'd enough). Is it a good idea to keep taking loans to go to an in state university. I'm not eligible for any aid and I'm no longer a high school student. I've never bothered taking any standardized tests, so I couldn't apply for any merit scholarships. (Even other scholarships require that). Or is it better to go outta state and attend a university which will give me some sort of aid? I don't want to graduate with a huge amount of debts.
Post edited by lynacc on

Replies to: Keep taking loans?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,630Registered User Senior Member
    All else being equal, the cheap school wins. What, exactly, would be your reason for staying in-state and spending money that you don't need to? Is the OOS option a real stinker?
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 25,348Registered User Senior Member
    It's not how much you GET for aid, merit,etc, but how much you have to PAY. The bottom line costs is what counts.

    Are you in college right now? Have you been in college? What are your alternatives?

    In some cases, yes, an out of state, even private option with a higher sticker price could end up costing a person less than any in state option. If accepted to a school like Berea, for example where one works ones way through college, it can cost less. But bear in mind that you have to live somewhere, eat and have certain living expenses. If some of those are being covered by someone right now, unless you find a source to pay those amounts, leaving that situation means that much more you have to pay. I often read how parents are not going to contribute, but if the student is living at home, that is about a $10K contribution right there that the student has to come up with if that s/he moves out.

    If money is the overriding issue, look to the bottom line.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 20,232Super Moderator Senior Member
    What makes you think an OOS school will give you aid if an in-state school will not?
  • Wolverine86Wolverine86 Posts: 1,726Registered User Senior Member
    Here is a link to a list of "test optional" schools which may not require ACT/SAT for admissions. Not sure if they offer any merit scholarships, or whether the "test optional" also applies to scholarships is they do offer them. It may give you a place to at least start looking for potential universities given your situation.

    http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional

    Have you taken any college classes since you graduated high school? Since you mentioned "keep taking loans" in your thread title, I'm guessing you have taken some classes and taken loans already. If that's the case, you'll be considered a transfer student and merit scholarships will be much harder to come by. The VAST majority of FA or merit scholarships at most universities are for incoming freshmen, so if you are a transfer you're going to find your chances greatly diminished.

    If you haven't taken any classes since graduating HS, I'd strongly recommend you take one or both standardized tests. If you score well on either one, it could improve your chances on gaining merit scholarships somewhere. Good Luck to you.
  • lynacclynacc Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    I'm in a community college right now receiving some fund as a STEM member and I'm thinking bout transferring fall 2013. I've looked around for scholarships but the possibility of getting any scholarship is so slim. Plus the university doesn't seem to offer many scholarships at all. Of course there are some private scholarships but they don't contribute much. There are OOS universities or close universities that will give some $ to a transfer student and PTK members. They also have like deans scholarships and college of engineering scholarships, etc. I'm just wondering if living out of state would really cost high enough that I would rather stay and keep taking loans.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,630Registered User Senior Member
    Can you commute to the in-state school, or would you have to move there?

    On the university websites, look for the Cost of Attendance (COA). That will have figures for tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, etc. This will give you an idea of what your costs might be.

    What dies your transfer advisor say? Some of them ate very good at helping students find scholarships and financial aid.
  • Wolverine86Wolverine86 Posts: 1,726Registered User Senior Member
    lynacc...Since you're a transfer student, merit scholarships will indeed be hard to come by. If you do find some OOS schools which will award you scholarships, will they be large enough to overcome the additional costs of OOS tuition? If you can afford the application fees, you can always apply and see what happens but you may find your options fairly limited. Unless there is significant FA or merit scholarship money available, rarely is the OOS option more affordable than an IS option.

    Other possibilities might be for you to garner whatever transferrable credits you can at the CC you're currently attending, then look to find a job and pay off the loans you have now before looking to continue schooling. It's a non-traditional route, but taking on additional debt is probably not a good idea. Are your current loans Stafford loans (taken out in your name?) or are your parents taking our private or PLUS loans? If your parents are co-signing your loans, how is their credit? Realize that as they take out more and more loans for you, their credit rating will decrease and they might not continue to qualify for future loans. Too many students find themselves several years into their schooling with no degree completed, tons of unmanageable debt, and no longer able to qualify for additional loans. Please consider all of this when you make your decision how to proceed. Good Luck.
  • lynacclynacc Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    Wolverine: that's what I've been doing. I'm working and trying to get my debts in control but it has affected my academic performance which I don't wanna do when I transfer to a 4 year university. But at the same time I don't wanna take time to work like u said (even though I agree its a way to manage the debts) because as a transfer student it already takes longer to graduate. And yes, its the Stafford loans under my name. I wonder if this situation is normal to most college students. Or are they supported by their parents or received scholarships? I'm really bumped right now.
  • Wolverine86Wolverine86 Posts: 1,726Registered User Senior Member
    I wonder if this situation is normal to most college students

    I don't know if it's true for most students, but unfortunately it is for many. A lot of parents are either unwilling or unable to support their student's college aspirations, and that means that difficult choices must be made. I know it's not how you envisioned your college years unfolding, but it sounds like you've been making the best choices you can so far given your circumstances and as difficult as it may to hear...you need to continue making smart choices.

    Regardless of whether it's inability or unwillingness on your parents' part to help out, you're pretty much tied to their financial situation until you qualify for independent status (age 24 is the most common way to achieve independence, but there are others). Until then, you're bound by the dependent student Stafford limits. I believe if your parents cannot qualify credit-wise for PLUS loans your Stafford limits may go somewhat higher, but probably not enough to get you to an OOS school.

    Is there an IS 4-year school within commuting distance for you? If you feel that working while taking classes is affecting your academic performance too much, then you may need to make a choice between working or attending classes...at least for now. If there's an IS school option where COA falls within your Stafford limits (and you'll graduate before hitting your Stafford maximum) that might be a good option for you. Otherwise, it might be a better option to put the classes on hold for now and work full-time. You can pay off the loans you've currently taken, and possibly be able to save some money for future college classes.

    Again, I know it's not how you hoped things would turn out. But I think you see the reality that you and many other students face these days with the cost of a college degree being what it is. You are definitely not the only one facing this dilemma. The non-traditional route to a college degree is a hard road and requires a lot of patience and sacrifice, but it's certainly doable...and a better option than increasing your debt now if a degree isn't achievable before you hit the Stafford limits.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 25,348Registered User Senior Member
    The average college student is over age 25, working full time and taking courses full time and pretty much paying his own way (including taking out loans). So, yes, it is typical. It is not what is hyped as typical is the problem. One gets the idea that all kids get to go to college after high school, moving into the dorms and living the old college life, not quite the "Animal House" stereotype, but similar. Especially when you live in certain communities and/or have classmates and friends who do, yes, the majority of some areas, some school populations are such that this is the case. But that is not the majority of the country.

    First of all, moving out of ones parents home means you need about $10K a year. Yeah, you could do it for less, but really, transportation, supplies, rent, food, all of those add up. Look at the room and board costs. That does not include a lot of other things you need like Toothpaste, for example. When you live with family, they do cover for you in a lot of ways you may take for granted, whether it's a ride when you need one or they happen to have something in their closets that you want or need. When you are flat broke, their pantries may be open to you. There are places where you can "beat" the room/board estimates, but usually you have to know the ropes there and know others to share in the costs. So right there, you have the cost of the move and what room and board will cost. Perhaps you are paying for room/board/transportation now, and if that is the case, you can compare numbers, but be aware that if you have a job that is paying for this here and now, you have to find a job where ever you move and come up with at least of the costs of a move up front.

    If you have the room, board, transportation, supplies pretty much under control, you can then compare the costs of what you have to pay in tuition and fees. If the OOS school can give you enough so that it costs less than your instate counterparts, then fine, go ahead.

    This is an issue for many students. It's a luxury to have parents or anyone/thing outside of oneself to pay for your college and your cost of living.
  • lynacclynacc Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    If I go to the IS university, I could commute there and still could stay with my parents, but the cost is pretty high leading to where I have to keep taking loans to be able to afford the tuition. Well, I'll have to do some math and somehow decide whether an OOS outweighs the IS. Do you guys know averagely how long it takes to repay the loans after graduation, say you've got a job? And can anyone suggest any sites where I could search for some good scholarships for engineering majors or just some general scholarships where everyone could apply? I've got a pretty good GPA. I know this really just sucks to keep taking loans and see the interests just add up. The worse story is the subsidized loans' interests will no longer be paid by the gov't once I'm out of school.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 25,348Registered User Senior Member
    Lynacc, you need to look at the Cost of Attendence figure for the OOS school, including room and board. Then, do the same for the In state school but subtract out the room and board and add in commuting costs. Apply to both options and see what money you get from them and what the bottom line costs are.

    Unfortunately, it is not often that one gets money as a transfer student. There simply are not that many scholarships for those who are not incoming freshmen. You have to ask the schools involved.

    As for repayment of loans, talk to your financial aid officer and get some samples schedules of repayment. You should know when your loans will start becoming due (usually 6 months after you stop going to school and what the options are.)
  • lynacclynacc Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    Thank u. I appreciate u guys advice.
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