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Never taken out a loan before - Need help/advice

yomomoyomomo Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
So I'm transferring to a 4 year institution this fall and my estimated cost of attendance is $24k/year. I have around $8k - $9k in scholarships and grants. My tuition is $6,470 but IIRC, the Excelsior scholarship should aid me in that. What I'm worried about is paying for room and board. It's estimated to be 13k/yr.

I don't know if I need to take a loan out for this if I can use my TAP and Pell Grant towards Room and board. In the case that I do need a loan, how much should I take out? I've been offered $3,500 for Direct Subsidized, $2,000 for Unsubsidized and $10,700 for Parent Plus. I've been told to avoid Unsubsidized as you accumulate interest the moment you start classes. I don't want to take out more than I need so if anyone could assist me, that would be great
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Replies to: Never taken out a loan before - Need help/advice

  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,241 Senior Member
    It would be great to avoid unsubsidized loans, but do you have another way of paying? Parent PLUS and Private loans also start accumulating interest the moment you start class and these have worse terms than the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

    Parent PLUS loans are actually loans to your parents, that your parents are legally responsible for repaying. Are they willing to sign for those? In addition, private loans require a parent to cosign. The parent (or other cosigner) is responsible for payments you can't or don't make. You can be turned down for private loans based on the credit history of your cosigner.

    You need to sit down with financial aid and figure out exactly what you will owe. What money do you have in grants and scholarships, what will those be applied to, and what is the balance due. It sounds like you are short at least the 10,700 Parent PLUS loan (that is typically what is given to fill a gap when a school does not meet your financial need).

    Once you know exactly what you owe, you need to figure out if you can truly afford to pay that or whether you need to find a different school with a lower price tag. It sounds like this school stuffed a lot of loans into your package and yet you are still short of money. This is not a good sign.

    You can learn more about private loans at privatestudentloans.guru
  • yomomoyomomo Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited June 14
    My parents can pay little amounts, like around $1,000 per semester. I don't know if they're willing to pay for loans though since they're struggling with other things such as getting health insurance .I've already registered for classes at this institution so changing schools is not an option.If Excelsior covers tuition, can't I use TAP and Pell Grant to cover some of my room an board? This is all stressful to me

    EDIT: The Parent Plus is a federal loan according to my award history.

    http://i.****/LoTiIbK.png
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 2,814 Senior Member
    The Parent Plus is a federal loan according to my award history.

    Yes... it's a federal loan taken out by a parent, who has the full obligation to pay it back.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,241 Senior Member
    Yes, Parent PLUS is a federal program, it is still a loan that a parent has to sign for and pay back.

    Going to a school you can't afford is not an option either. If you need to withdraw, the sooner you do so the less you will owe. Your enrollment deposit is likely nonefundable.

    Your specific questions about Excelsior, TAP, etc need to be directed to the school financial aid office.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 5,753 Senior Member
    @sybbie719 can explain how the Excelsior grant works. My understanding is that it supplements TAP and Pell up to the cost of tuition. TAP can ONLY be used for tuition. If your ~$8k in grants includes TAP and Pell, those will be applied to your tuition. If they aren't enough to cover the ~$6400 tuition the Excelsior grant will kick in to make up the difference. If it's all TAP and Pell money, $6500 will be applied to tuition and $1,000 or so to fees. If those numbers are accurate, your net cost is ~$13k/year. You can borrow $6500 as a soph and $7500/year as a jr and senior, so I don't know why you're only being offered $5500 as a transfer. How many semesters have you been in school? What grants were you awarded & how much is each one? Grants awarded by the college are different than federal & state grants. Is this a SUNY school?
  • Jamrock411Jamrock411 Registered User Posts: 440 Member
    edited June 14
    yomomo wrote:
    If Excelsior covers tuition, can't I use TAP and Pell Grant to cover some of my room an board?

    Your TAP and Pell Grant will kick in first to cover your tuition. Your Excelsior scholarship will only cover any remaining balance of your tuition. So, if you are receiving $3,235 in TAP and $3,235 in Pell Grant, for a total of $6,470, there will be no Excelsior Scholarship amount forthcoming. This is my understanding of how the Excelsior Scholarship Programs works (I could be wrong). FYI, TAP only covers tuition, not R&B! Any Pell Grant above the tuition amount ( [ TAP + Pell ] - Tuition ) can be applied to your R&B cost.

    See @sybbie719 post on the subject below.
    sybbie719 wrote:
    Like the other NYS scholarships (STEM incentive) the Excelsior is a last payer that only cover tuition.

    Low income students who are eligible for full TAP are already receiving $5165 toward tuition. The balance will come from PELL so there is no double dipping.

    TAP currently caps out for families making 80k with approx a $200 a semester award and no PELL.
    For these families The $6400 tuition is now covered. It is not free because fees are approx $1600 per year.


    Actually the scholarship is similar to the state aid; where it only covers 4 years (8 semesters) of tuition. The goal being to get your education done in 4 years( thus the reason behind the 15 credits per year). There will be exceptions for students with disabilities to take a reduced course load.

    Yes depending on where you live upstate some SUNY campuses are harder to commute to because they are spread out. The good thing about CUNY is that if you live in NYC, there are schools in each of the 5 boroughs , which makes it commutable (some commutes will be longer than others).

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1982944-impacts-of-free-tuition-at-ny-state-us-p1.html

  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,637 Senior Member
    Since you are a transfer, can you live off campus with a roommate? Would it be cheaper than campus housing and meal plan?

    Can you commute to any SUNY's?

    How much Pell and TAP were you awarded?
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,637 Senior Member
    You should also work as much as possible this summer.
  • yomomoyomomo Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    AroundHere wrote:
    Yes, Parent PLUS is a federal program, it is still a loan that a parent has to sign for and pay back.

    Ok, so it's a federal program. But someone else said it's a private loan. Can federal programs have private loans? That doesn't make sense.

    My understanding is that it supplements TAP and Pell up to the cost of tuition. TAP can ONLY be used for tuition. If your ~$8k in grants includes TAP and Pell, those will be applied to your tuition. If they aren't enough to cover the ~$6400 tuition the Excelsior grant will kick in to make up the difference. If it's all TAP and Pell money, $6500 will be applied to tuition and $1,000 or so to fees. If those numbers are accurate, your net cost is ~$13k/year.

    That's a shame, NYS really hyped up Excelsior for nothing. I was under the assumption that it would cover the whole tuition, not just whatever TAP and Pell doesn't cover.
    You can borrow $6500 as a soph and $7500/year as a jr and senior, so I don't know why you're only being offered $5500 as a transfer. How many semesters have you been in school? What grants were you awarded & how much is each one? Grants awarded by the college are different than federal & state grants. Is this a SUNY school?

    I've already completed 4 semesters at a community college so when I go to SUNY Poly I'll be a junior. These are the grants I've been awarded:

    http://i.****/TB1mZ0M.png

    If you can't view that link, let me know

    mommdc wrote:
    Since you are a transfer, can you live off campus with a roommate? Would it be cheaper than campus housing and meal plan?

    Can you commute to any SUNY's?

    How much Pell and TAP were you awarded? You should also work as much as possible this summer.

    I have no clue since I'm not too familiar with the area. I was awarded $1,785 (for both fall & spring semesters, totaling $3,500) for Pell Grant and $1,175.50 (both fall & spring, totaling $2,351) for TAP. I also plan on working 5 days. Around 31 hours a week.

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 5,753 Senior Member
    edited June 15
    Okay, so you have ~$5800 between Pell & TAP. The Excelsior grant should cover the balance of the $6400 tuition. That means your net cost is ~$18.5k/year ($24k-$6400). You can take the $7500/year federal student loan. That leaves $11k/year to pay. If you work summers you could earn ~$3k, which leaves ~$8k/year plus travel, books, & health insurance. Can your parents pay that? If not, is there a 4-year SUNY within commuting distance?
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,241 Senior Member
    edited June 15
    Your links are getting blocked.

    Private loans are not federal loans, but like PLUS they require a parent to agree to make the payments if you are unable to do so. If your parents have good credit, they may possibly get a better deal on the private market than PLUS.

    What is the total cost of attendance?
  • yomomoyomomo Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Okay, so you have ~$5800 between Pell & TAP. The Excelsior grant should cover the balance of the $6400 tuition. That means your net cost is ~$18.5k/year ($24k-$6400). You can take the $7500/year federal student loan. That leaves $11k/year to pay. If you work summers you could earn ~$3k, which leaves ~$8k/year plus travel, books, & health insurance. Can your parents pay that? If not, is there a 4-year SUNY within commuting distance?

    Where did you get the $7500/year federal student loan from? I've been awarded a $3500 direct subsidized loan ($1750 fall and spring), the unsubsidized loan which I don't plan on taking out and the Federal Parent Plus which is $10,700 ($5350x2}. Also, my parents might be able to chip in $8k/year. And I have to repeat there is no point of my going to a closer SUNY school as they do not offer the classes I'm majoring in.
    AroundHere wrote:
    Private loans are not federal loans, but like PLUS they require a parent to agree to make the payments if you are unable to do so. If your parents have good credit, they may possibly get a better deal on the private market than PLUS.
    Ah ok, my dad has pretty good credit so hopefully he can help me out. Also the estimated total cost of attendance is ~25k/year. I will be going to this school for 2 years to get my Bachelors.

    Since you said the link was blocked, here's what I've been awarded:

    Transfer Achievement Scholarship $2k/year, total $4k
    TAP - $2,351 total
    SUNY Tuition credit - $680.36 total
    PELL- $3,570 total
    Direct Sub Loan - $3,500 total
    Direct Unsub - $2,000 total
    Federal Parent Plus - $10,700 total
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,241 Senior Member
    edited June 16
    Have you talked to your dad? How much is he paying towards your expenses and is he willing to take a loan to pay the rest or consign a loan that would be in your name?

    Why aren't you taking the unsubsidized loan? You seem way short on funds here. ALL loans except the subsidized one will have interest accruing right away. You will only have worse choices if you reject the unsubsidized loan.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,637 Senior Member
    Yes, you should take out all of the subsidized and unsubsidized loans you can before asking parents to take out Parent Plus, because interest rates and origination fees of Parent loans are much higher.

    Looks like you have tuition and fees covered with TAP, Pell, tuition credit and scholarship.

    Now you have to figure out how to pay for housing and food away from home. Depending on your class standing you should be able to borrow $6,500 to $7,500 a year. Maybe earn $3,000.

    The $5,500 loan limit is for freshmen.

    If you don't have close to 60 credits yet, then finishing in 2 years seems to be unlikely.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,241 Senior Member
    @mommdc So, how does OP get the sophomore or junior level loan limit? Via financial aid appeal?
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