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Won't be able to afford college

kcjobexkcjobex 3 replies1 threads New Member
Hello there, I have been a lurker for some time now, but this is my first post. I am writing this thread as a last resort as most of schools have become financially inaccessible to me. During my first college search (last year), my family was making slightly less money than we do now. For the colleges I applied to I received figures from financial aid calculators around 10-15k. Because my father has taken on a bit of overtime my father has started making a little more money and the estimates I have now received range from 15-24k. I am middle class, though only my father is the only one working. We also live in an area in NY with very high taxes so we live pay check to check, and are often just scraping by. My parents can't afford this high amount. Although, my true financial aid packages have not come out yet, I am scared that they will be as high as what was said on these financial aid calculators. What can I do?

These are the colleges I applied to:
Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Stanford, UChicago, USC, UCLA, Wesleyan, Boston U, Emerson College, Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Purchase

Also, I am a first generation college student and I want to become a Screenwriter and Actress when I am older. Should I even bother with school? Are there other alternatives I can consider?
edited March 21
26 replies
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Replies to: Won't be able to afford college

  • honestlyidekhonestlyidek 70 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Hey! I would consider looking at QuestBridge to see if you qualify! Also, most of the top schools meet 100% need for students. You have to remember college is an investment, as well. I am a high school senior, but the way I am looking at college is: will the return from the school be worth the spending? You also have to consider the major you are in and the salaries of those jobs. Hope this helped a bit.
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  • kcjobexkcjobex 3 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 21
    I am already a senior and my family is not low income enough for Questbridge. Thank you though.
    edited March 21
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  • blossomblossom 10209 replies9 threads Senior Member
    OP- it is unlikely that a need-only school is going to give you a package more generous than what their own financial aid calculators have told you they will give you. But at this point- just sit tight and see what happens.

    Are any of these colleges commutable from home (Bing or Purchase)? That's typically the path most kids take when their other choices aren't affordable.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77049 replies3424 threads Senior Member
    How much CAN your family pay annually? That is you budget. Are any of these colleges going to come in at their price point?

    The SUNY schools have pretty modest instate tuition. If one is within commuting distance, that would be great.

    What is your annual family income. Do you qualify for any of the assistance offered in NY state?
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24028 replies18 threads Senior Member
    You will not receive any need based money from UCLA, and it is unlikely you'll receive enough (if any) merit. The other California schools are privates that do not meet need, and my guess is all will require you to pay much more than $25k per year.

    I think your best bets will be the SUNYs.
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15873 replies99 threads Senior Member
    The SUNYs are excellent options, particularly if you can commute.
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  • NJdad07090NJdad07090 211 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I would agree Suny is the way to go for you, I know there are some good programs for some majors, the fact is you can not afford a lot of debt if your dream is to be in acting. Your other option is community college for 2 years and then transfer to a sunny school. What is your GPA and SAT / ACT scores? Desired major?
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10169 replies70 threads Senior Member
    The previous posters have given you very good options and advice.
    Were you admitted with funding for those ivies??

    OP, I think you need to understand something so that you can get the right perspective. There is no rule or law that says you have to go to college. A number of students may have to delay, stop, or begin working because they can't afford to go to college.

    -Many families cannot afford to send their children to college. Some students often end up starting at a local community college and later transferring to a local university to try to save money.
    -Some families, living in another decade, refuse to help their children with college tuitions and expenses.

    So what you have to do is go to the least expensive college and graduate. I think if you had researched some of these schools financial aid sites (especially the California schools), you would have discovered that the UC schools do not fund non-residents. USC is very expensive and funds NMF, but most students end up paying a lot. The private California schools are very expensive.

    It doesn't matter where you go as long as you get that piece of paper that says you've graduated.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10118 replies555 threads Senior Member
    I’m sorry you’re in this position. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to suddenly get more money.

    We don’t know your stats. Have you got any offers yet? Any scholarships awarded? All of these reach schools don’t offer scholarships. Maybe Emerson and Chapman do, but they can’t compete with SUNY’s. UCLA does not give any money to out of state residents. Boston U is pretty well known for not being generous with aid.

    I’m guessing you might be in Westchester. WCC is a good option. You could commute then transfer to Binghamton or New Paltz, if you want a more traditional campus experience. Bing is a great school. The problem is that room and board add a lot of money to the total cost.

    Or, regroup. You are first generation to college, which can be an advantage. If you applied to all those reach schools, you must be a good student. Reapply to colleges next year where you might get full rides. Retake your tests if needed, as some full rideS depend on a very high test score. Spend a year working to offset some of your costs. Try applying for competitive scholarships, which might help. There’s a poster named @CourtneyThurston who has written a few posts on how to get scholarships, so search for them.

    I am not sure you had great advising. Unless you had fee waivers, your apps must have been expensive. You applied to too many reaches. You need schools you can afford. Be sure you have a frank conversation with your parents about how much they can contribute.
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  • gradtutorgradtutor 28 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Very much disagree with Aunt bea here. The truth is that where you get your degree -- and that you get a degree -- matters for your future. Not going to college when you clearly have the potential to succeed will set you back. I'd encourage you to really try to make college work. This may mean, as @Lindagaf suggested, taking a gap year and working while reapplying to schools where you have a good chance at scholarships.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77049 replies3424 threads Senior Member
    I agree with @aunt bea and others. Your list is very top heavy. Without knowing your stats, it’s impossible to know if this is a realistic list. Without knowing your family income, it’s impossible to know whether you have the potential for need based aid at those schools that meet full need should you be in the 5% or so who get accepted.
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  • gradtutorgradtutor 28 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @BelknapPoint Of course you can be successful without a college degree. That goes without saying. But I can't help but feel that encouraging a first gen student -- without a financial safety net or the existing skills to go straight into a stable career -- to skip college is irresponsible.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2177 replies14 threads Senior Member
    SUNY Purchase and SUNY New Paltz are considered among the top acting schools in the USA, and their in-state tuition for these are about $8,700 and $8,300 a year, respectively. Could your parents afford them?
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4837 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Of course you can be successful without a college degree. That goes without saying. But I can't help but feel that encouraging a first gen student -- without a financial safety net or the existing skills to go straight into a stable career -- to skip college is irresponsible.

    No, the automatic default conclusion is not that foregoing college is irresponsible. Getting a degree costs money and takes time. There are lots of "stable careers" where spending the money and taking the time to get a degree would be a waste. There are plenty of ways to acquire the skills needed for a stable career that don't include getting a college degree.
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  • gradtutorgradtutor 28 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited March 23
    @thumper1 Plan B needs to be a financially viable one with a reasonable chance of success. Pursing a career as an actress with nothing to fall back on is not. I am certainly hoping that OP gets the acceptances & financial aid packages she's needing as the results come out in the next days. But if not, I hope that she will seek the advice of college access organizations -- of which there are many to assist first generation students -- to discuss her options before deciding that college isn't for her.
    edited March 23
    Post edited by vonlost on
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33443 replies4137 threads Super Moderator
    If you live in NYC the CUNYs would be good options.
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  • PublisherPublisher 10160 replies129 threads Senior Member
    edited March 23
    OP: If you have the stats to apply to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Brown, and the University of Chicago, then you have the stats to earn a full tuition scholarship to a Southern public honors college or honors program.

    Consider the Univ. of Alabama, the Univ. of South Carolina & the University of Mississippi (great for future writers).

    You should be able to secure full tuition scholarships at many schools if your stats are competitive for Harvard, Stanford & Chicago.

    If no school is affordable this admissions cycle, then you may need to research merit scholarship for which you qualify & reapply next cycle.
    edited March 23
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42514 replies460 threads Senior Member
    edited March 23
    1) Financial aid depends on prior prior income. I'm not sure why 2020 income would impact your FA package at this point.
    2) How much can your parents afford?
    3) Please list every university where you've been admitted and the NET COST as it appears on your financial aid package.
    4) Can you commute to any university that admitted you?
    edited March 23
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