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Owe $ at a College. Applying to financial aid from that college?

kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
I was planning to transfer colleges for a year to a cheaper college (College B), then transfer back to my current school (College A).

I tried to request a transcript from College A today, and was told I owe them money.

It turns out I have a little debt at College A from leave of absence fees. I didn't realize I had these, let alone $1200 worth of leave of absence fees. There is of course a hold on my transcript from College A now.

I can't pay that $1200 right now. Not an option as I don't have that, nor did I even know I owed College A at all. I of course plan to pay College A whatever I owe them as I plan to get my actual degree from College A. Almost everything I make right now goes to paying back student loans from College A. There's just no money left and no viable way to add to my income right now.

I was planning to apply for financial aid. FAFSA Estimator says I qualify for the full Pell $.

If I apply to financial aid at College A (where I owe money), could the financial aid I get be used to pay off my $1200 to them? Is that what I should do? I want to pay College A back and get my degree from them-- preferably paying College A, then transferring to cheaper College B for a year. Then, get the degree from College A. I don't mind taking out Stafford loans to pay them. I don't qualify for any more private student loans or personal loans.

I am eligible for Pell grants. My income is terrible, and I live in the middle of nowhere.

What should I do? Making more income in my area is not feasible... I've had garage sales, applied to fast food restaurants and cleaning services, applied to online jobs, etc. No one is hiring. I've tried lawn mowing, etc. but that's not enough. I can barely live, let alone pay my current private student loans... there's no way to pay $1200 to College A for fees I didn't know I had on top of that. The income I make goes to paying back my private student loans that I borrowed to attend College A. I don't waste money... I spent less than $100 on food/expenses last month.

Like I said, I want to pay College A back then money I surprisingly owe them from leave of absence fees, but don't have that money and don't have a way to get it without financial aid. I plan to get my degree from College A, so they'll get their money at some point.

College A put a transcript hold on my account. I have an opened official transcript and copies of my official transcript on file at another college or two.

Do I....

Apply for financial aid at College B, then use some of that money if there's any left to pay back the $1200 owed at College A?

Apply for financial aid at College A, and see if the aid I get can be used to pay back the $1200 that I apparently owe them from previous semesters? FAFSA estimator says I qualify for Pell Grants (full amount) and Stafford Loan.

The obvious answer here is "make more money," but when there's not one fast food restaurant in town hiring, and you've even sold your old clothes/shoes, and there's no larger town within commuting distance, and you haven't found any online jobs,.... you're kind of stuck. It seems like I should apply for financial aid to a college, get the full Pell grant and Stafford Loan, live in a city, and apply to jobs in that city. What would you do?
Post edited by kokokoko on

Replies to: Owe $ at a College. Applying to financial aid from that college?

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Leave of absence fees?
    Did they inform you of them before they added them to your bill?
    (Obviously doesn't sound like it)
    Especially since you are very low income, it seems that should be waived.
    Contacting the Dean of Students to make your case could be your next step.
  • kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    I didn't know about the fees, but the school wouldn't waive them today.

    There were fees for leave of absence, late fees, enrollment fees for those semesters I had leave of absences in, and more late fees.

    I took the year off to work,... that didn't turn out so well. The largest/main employer here shut down and relocated elsewhere.

    Should I submit a FAFSA to College A (that I owe) and see if aid could cover the old $1200 of fees?

    Should I apply elsewhere?

    FAFSA Estimator says I'm eligible for the full Pell grant, plus Stafford loans. If I could even just get a Stafford Loan, I could pay College A.

    I'm less than one semester away from graduating at College A. But, I'm stuck. I can't afford enrollment fees for the remaining classes at another college, nor can I pay College A. My income never is enough. I'm paying back private student loans from College A, and didn't manage to save enough money after that this year. I live in the middle of nowhere.
  • teachandmomteachandmom Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    You are less than a semester away from graduating, so how would you transfer elsewhere but still go back to college A to graduate? That doesn't make any sense. Do you have leave of absence fees because you did not withdraw from school properly? If you only have a semester worth of classes to complete, I don't really see how you can go to any other school, unless you are just going to take a single class elsewhere, and at this point, that would be upper level courses...college B could have different pre-reqs to satisfy for those upper level courses. Most schools give you several years to complete your degree. Keep working, pay back the loans and money you owe, and then finish later. Could you go to the next largest city to work for a year or so, just rent a room, use public transportation, and make as much as possible while you make this change?
  • kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    The fees were because I applied to be a "continuing student on leave." Plus late fees for not paying the continuing enrollment fees. Plus enrollment fees on top of that.

    I already took a year off to work. Still, I'm not making enough money. Moving elsewhere isn't possible right now. No fast food restaurant nearby is hiring. The decent desk jobs require a BA, so I'm not looked at for those. I tried applying retail. No retail experience, denied. Tried applying to online and local jobs, nothing. More time off for working isn't going to do much, if anything. Everything I make goes to pay private loans. I can't find another way to add to my income enough,... I've had garage sales, applied for everything, and nothing. I'm getting nowhere. If I don't finish at College A soon, my credits expire.

    If currently enrolled in school, I can defer my private student loans and qualify for Pell/Stafford for my current enrollment.

    Even after a year of working, I still qualify for the full Pell Grant. My income is terrible.

    The classes I need to finish at College A are available at other schools. I would transfer to College B, take the classes I need to finish at College A, then transfer back to College A and have met all requirements. I would graduate from College A.

    If I transfer to College B, I qualify for the full Pell Grant and Stafford Loans. I also then could defer my private student loans while in school. Hopefully I can use the remaining funds of a Stafford Loan to pay back College A and graduate.
  • woodswomanwoodswoman Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    Sometimes you need be "in residence" the last semester at the school you wish to graduate from. That means registered as a student there. You may not be able to take the classes you need at college B and transfer them to college A and graduate from A without taking another semester at A.
  • ordinarylivesordinarylives Registered User Posts: 2,892 Senior Member
    ^^this. My employer will not allow any student to transfer in hours during the last 30 hours of a program, and I don't work for highly selective school. Your plan, to transfer in the final hours from another school and then still get a degree from college A may not work and then you have more debt. Call the registrar at college A and ask about this.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,824 Super Moderator
    The classes I need to finish at College A are available at other schools. I would transfer to College B, take the classes I need to finish at College A, then transfer back to College A and have met all requirements. I would graduate from College A.

    I highly doubt that this plan is going to work. In order to take courses at another school and have them count toward our degree, you would need a permit from school A. Your getting permission to do this is highly unlikely (because you owe money and you have to meet your school's residency requirement in order to get the degree and they probably won't allow a graduating senior to take courses at another school).

    If you do it on your own, school B is most likely not going to allow you to register for senior courses as a one time student. If you come there and are not pursuing a degree, then you are a non-matriculated student (who is not eligible for financial aid). you will just dig yourself in a deeper hole as school A won't certify you as a graduate even if you take courses at another school.
  • teachandmomteachandmom Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    OP, you said moving really isn't possible right now. Why? If moving to the closest large city meant many more job possibilities, and you did it extremely cheaply, like getting a room at the Y, or renting a room in a house, you could have much better job prospects. Make the money you owe. I understand that being in school will allow you to set aside your loan payments for a while, but you can't afford to be in school right now. In a bigger city, you may even be able to find a couple jobs. Work like crazy. Contact your loan handler to see if you can work out payments based on what you earn for now. Where you are living now has horrible job prospects...you need to go where the jobs are, since one will not just come to you. Right now I sort of envision you at the mercy of the bull, getting kicked around. Seize the bull by the horns, take charge to do whatever is needed to earn money, and get on top of things confidently. You took a year off to work at a lousy job situation; change the situation. How much longer will your credits earned so far stay valid? It's usually 6 or so years I thought...
  • kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member

    I have a long term lease here. Can't afford to move. If I make more money, I will then have to pay more to private student loans. I'm paying based on my low income, and the loan payments are still eating up most of what I make. If I make a few thousand a month in a new city, I would then be paying rent in two cities, plus about $1500 a month in private student loans. If I made $40K, that would leave around $2000 after income taxes a month. That would leave maybe a few hundred after income taxes and higher student loan payments (based on income)-- that's not including rent, transit, food. The nearest city doesn't pay that well for jobs without a bachelor's degree. If I could make signficantly more than $40K in a new city, I could break even-- but I don't know of any jobs that pay more than that for my school and education level. I've looked. Most entry level jobs there for college graduates make only $30K a year before taxes. Rooms are about $500 a month, even if "less nice but decent family areas."

    I can't afford to be in school. I can't afford not to be in school. I can't afford to make so little money. And, I can't afford to make more money (then my loan payments go up to $1500 a month).

    Being in school at least postpones the loan payments. I'm eligible for the Full Pell and full Stafford. The later two could pay off College A.
  • kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Perhaps I should forget about College A altogether.

    Maybe I should just transfer schools to another college, preferably the cheapest I can find.

    I qualify for the full Pell.

    I could get Stafford loans for the rest.

    If I transfer to full 90 allowed credits, that only leaves 30 credits at a new school. $5000 in the Pell grant around here could be tuition for a year at a local no name college.

    It would be unfortunate to give up a "good" school for a local no name school, but...
  • kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    sybbie719 and woodswoman:

    Oh. I hadn't thought of residency requirements at College A.

    What if I don't transfer? What if I do some financial aid eligible vocational program that would be useful to my field at College B that's not related, qualify for Stafford Loans, and pay College A and B with those loans? During that time, I could postpone my old loan payments, make some money, and self-study to test out of my final requirements at College A with CLEP/AP/etc.?

    Not ideal, I know... and perhaps not even possible.
  • kokokokokokokoko Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    What about simply applying to financial aid at the college A that I owe money to?

    If I qualify for aid there (FAFSA says I do), would they take old debt out of my new financial aid package? That would solve this problem, and pay them what I owe them.
  • ordinarylivesordinarylives Registered User Posts: 2,892 Senior Member
    No. You cannot use new financial aid to pay off old college debts. First, if you owe money to a school, you're not going to be allowed to register. No registration, no enrollment, no financial aid disbursement.

    If you manage to enroll at another institution, your financial aid will be applied to any bills at that institution. Can you get a refund? Under some circumstances, you can get a refund (students living off campus, for example, may get refunds if they borrow the whole COA), which you can do with what you will. However, you cannot get fin aid paid directly to you so you can take the money and go pay off old debts. Your current school gets their money first.
This discussion has been closed.