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Immense Stress Over Being Able to Pay

Boston21Boston21 Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
So I'm in a bit of a rough situation. My father had a really good job, one that made good money. However, my junior year, he walked out on me and my family. I have almost no contact with him, but he pays my mom alimony. He has said he wants to help me pay for my college, but I can't trust that. My problem is this: it will look like we make a ton of money even when we don't. My mom works as an assistant preschool teacher for 12 dollars an hour. The alimony is respectable, but I have an older sister in college and a younger brother soon to be in college after me.I want to go to a great school, but I don't know if I'll be able to afford it. I'm a pretty good student- 4.0 GPA 4.5 WGPA, 34 ACT, National Merit Commended Scholar, AP Schol with Honor, 770 780 Subject Tests, president of five clubs, intern at Democratic Party. I'm applying to American, William and Mary, Georgetown, Washington University in St. Louis, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, University of Florida, and Florida State. What should I do?
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Replies to: Immense Stress Over Being Able to Pay

  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,547 Senior Member
    Is Florida your in-state option?
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,031 Senior Member
    Does your father pay for your sister's college tuition? You should ask your mom if your dad is obligated in paying for your tuition. If so, how much? I wouldn't be surprised if it is in their separation agreement on what your dad is required to pay. You parents may also have 529 set up for you (pre-tax savings for eduction).

    I would have a conversation with both of parents first (not necessary together). Ask them what you can expect.

    You have very good stats. If all else fails, you should be able to get good merit money for next tier down schools. You would still be able to get very good education. You are in a much better situation than a lot of other students because of your stats.
  • Boston21Boston21 Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Yes florida is my in-state @carachel2 . My problem, @oldfort , is that I really want to do foreign affairs, and only a few schools have really good connections to that world. I also have a huge social problem with Florida schools. High school has been rough, and I don't want to be around the same faces for four more years.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,625 Senior Member
    Whether you go to UF or FSU, you will not have the same faces around you. Those are very big school and your class will only be sending a smallish number to each school. There will be a few thousand freshman that you don't know.

    You need to be realistic or you may find yourself without an affordable school choice. If your dad isn't talking to you, then it's unlikely that he'll be paying for college.

    Does FIU have a foreign affairs major?

    If not, then you'll have to find a major that will work. There are many.
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,547 Senior Member
    Lots and lots of kids want out of their home state and are ready for a fresh start. You have very understandably had a rough few years and despite that you have worked really hard and overcome a lot it looks like.

    You say he "really wants to help me pay" for college. Have you specifically sat down with him and a spreadsheet to show him exact figures as to what he would be expected to pay? Does he understand how it all works? Has he committed to paying that amount?



  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,965 Senior Member
    edited December 2016
    You are a HS junior and you know your NM status already? How?

    As noted by @oldfort your stats could garner you significant merit aid at some places. You may need to look at undergrad majors that will get you to your end goal...at schools that are affordable for you.

    Or apply to someplace like University of Chicago. It is a fafsa only school that meets full need. Of course...you have to get accepted.

    Really...with your stats, you should also be looking in FL where you are eligible for the max Bright Future, I believe. Those Florida schools are plenty large that you won't need to run into on,y kids from your HS.
  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame Registered User Posts: 2,593 Senior Member
    @thumper1 : I believe the cutoff for National Merit Commended came out months ago.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,542 Senior Member
    My problem is this: it will look like we make a ton of money even when we don't.

    When you file FAFSA, it will reflect exactly what your situation is. FAFSA will show the money your mother earns, the alimony/child support she receives, that you have siblings in college. It won't show what your father has promised (and I agree, make your plans without his money because it is not a sure thing).

    There are so many options in Florida. You can go to one of the 22 public schools, and they are all pretty good. You'll receive scholarships at many (UCF, North Florida, FAU, FIU). You'll receive Bright Futures. If you decide on a private school, you'll get a FRAG (currently $3000). If 'everyone' from your hs is going to UF, go to FSU. Or South Florida. Or West Florida. If your mother is making so little, you may qualify for Pell grants, and most likely some state aid. You'll make a lot of political contacts in Florida.
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,547 Senior Member
    @thumper1 --I believe he said his father left his family during his junior year. He is currently a senior.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,965 Senior Member
    Yes, he is a junior.

    His dad pays child support...family KNOWS where he is. For schools requiring the non-custodial parent form, he will be expected to provide it.

    His custodial parent...mom...will complete the fafsa for 2018-2019 using 2016 tax information when the time comes. If the parents were married at the time, he will use ONLY his mother's income. If they filed a joint return, he will not be able to link the fafsa to the IRS data retrieval tool. He should,order a tax transcript.

    His issue is...he wants to go to some colleges that, on paper...which is what will matter...are unaffordable.

    He needs to look realistically at where he will or won't get aid...merit or need based.
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,547 Senior Member
    @thumper1 oh ok. Looks like on another thread that he is currently a senior.

    I'm really anxious about getting into the schools I applied to. What chances do you all think I have?

    34 ACT
    4.5 GPA
    5,5,5,4 AP Scores
    770 and 780 Subject Test Scores
    National Commended Scholar
    AP Scholar
    Political Science Pathfinder Nominee

    ECs:
    President, Political Science Club
    President, Model United Nations
    President, History Honor Society
    President, Spanish Honor Society
    Vice President, English Honor Society


    Work:
    Staffer on political campaign for first African-American elected in my county
    Fellow for Florida Democratic Party and 2016 Coordinated Campaign
    Grade 8 Soccer Referee

    Intangibles:
    I consider myself a really good writer. My counselor said my essay was the best she has ever read. My essay was sort of a narrative about how I became the man of my house after my dad left two years ago and how I've grown up to become a mentor and support to my little brother and mom. my school-specific ones were about my love of history and politics and how my best friend, a Ukrainian refugee, inspired me to pursue a career in foreign affairs.


    What do you think are my chances? I'd really appreciate some input.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    edited December 2016
    Among super-selective schools, Chicago and usually Vanderbilt do not need the non-custodial parent finances. Others do.

    https://profileonline.collegeboard.org/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv shows you what schools use the CSS Noncustodial Profile (second to last column), which means that the OP's father needs to cooperate with the form and his finances will be used to determine financial aid. But verify on college web sites (e.g. the table shows Chicago as using Noncustodial Profile when it does not, according to https://financialaid.uchicago.edu/prospective-students/apply-for-aid/aid-application-guidelines ).
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 5,883 Senior Member
    edited December 2016
    I think you need to look for merit aid and make sure you apply to some in state safeties. Are you a junior or senior?
  • Fishnlines29Fishnlines29 Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    @austinmshauri @Carachel2 was posting the OP's stats and confirming the OP is a senior.


    @Boston21 I agree with the others, talk to both your parents and find out what they can pay. Don't automatically cut out 'in state' and keep your options open!
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,547 Senior Member
    @austinmshauri @thumper1 --pretty sure the OP is a SENIOR.

    The OP states dad left when they were a junior.

    "I'm applying to American, William and Mary, Georgetown, Washington University in St. Louis, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, University of Florida, and Florida State. What should I do?"

    In another thread OP writes about the essay they wrote and the schools they have applied to. Unless I am really reading things wrong, the OP is a senior.

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