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Married, low income, how to pay for college

SuperMaWiiOHSuperMaWiiOH Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
Hi everyone I'm Josh. I had a question concerning getting a way to pay for college. I'm prior service military and was considering going into the National Guard to get money for school, but I'm also trying to find out if I'm eligible for some sort of grant or scholarship to pay for school. I'm married, low income, and a baby on the way. What can anyone tell me about getting money for school given my situation?
Post edited by SuperMaWiiOH on

Replies to: Married, low income, how to pay for college

  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Registered User Posts: 4,563 Senior Member
    Do you qualify for the GI bill? You can get money from the National Guard but you will be deployable while in school - if your unit should deploy. Most schools have very good policies in place to help students who find themselves deployed.

    How much money you can get depends in part on what state you are from and perhaps even your major.
    Not sure how old you are but you qualify for financial aid as an independent student - your and your wife's income and assets will count. Assuming you will have a very low EFC - you will qualify for pell grants and possible state grants. You will also qualify for low interest student loans.

    I assume you don't have many resources - if you have no prior college then you might want to start at your local community college if there is one near where you live.

    Community colleges often will give you a very good education at a low price and are very helpful in finding you money. In our state there is a laundry list of very nice colleges that accept full credit from our community college (including one Ivy league school). You can get your first two years done at minimal cost.
  • Dennis173Dennis173 Registered User Posts: 868 Member
    You qualify for many grants and loans being that you can claim an independent on your FASFA. Only your income will be included when deciding what your EFC is . What type of school are you looking at?
  • jjcddgjjcddg Registered User Posts: 508 Member

    The first thing you should do is run your financials through a financial aid calculator

    FinAid | Calculators | Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Financial Aid

    This will give you an EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Since you only stated you had a low income and didn't state any numbers we really can't comment or guess what kind of aid you would receive.

    Based on the info provided by the EFC everyone here can give you an idea of what kind of a Pell grant you would be eligible for. Let us know what state you are from, and people from that state will definately help you determine what's available.

    If your EFC is very low, you would probably have all of your costs at a community college paid for, and as stated previously you can transfer to a 4 year school after that.

    If your EFC is a little higher than expected consider having your wife go back to school as well (assuming she doesn't already have her degree)

    I definately think you should consider these options instead of the National Guard. With a baby on the way you don't want to get deployed.

    Run your numbers and then let us know what the outcome is. You will find that most people on this board will try to help you every step of the way.
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    Josh - There are lots of ways to get a solid college education. The GI bill has been mentioned -- that's what I did. Community college can be an excellent choice ESPECIALLY if your employer has an educational benefits plan (which is how I got through Graduate School). Just keep in mind that you need to know how many credits you can commit to, and you need to know this UP FRONT because you'll be asked. I've known several adults who did their Undergraduate degrees part time while working. It takes time, but it can be done -- and it gets easier the more credits you've earned! Good luck.
  • SuperMaWiiOHSuperMaWiiOH Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I live in Ohio and wanted to go to school for Political Science and Public Administration, a 4 year degree. I'm gonna get that form filled out at the finaid site to see how much I might get. Let's say I can get school paid for, how would I pay for bills, like apartment, food, etc?
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Registered User Posts: 4,563 Senior Member
    You will get a job.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,702 Senior Member
    If your income is below $20,000 and you filed a 1040A or 1040ez tax return you should qualify for the automatic zero EFC (through FAFSA) which will qualify you for a full Pell grant and possibly other grants and loans. As an independent student you have to have a dependent other than a spouse to qualify for this - I believe your unborn baby qualifies you). The financial aid is unlikeley to be enough to support your family so you will probably need an outside job also.

    It might be worth considering doing your first 2 years at community college where the costs are much lower.
  • SuperMaWiiOHSuperMaWiiOH Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Ok, I just talked to one of my friends in school and he told me I would not have to work, but I could get money from Sallie Mae, up to $100,000. He said Sallie Mae gives him $5,000 per semester to cover his costs for food, rent, bills, etc. Anyone know anything about this?
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,702 Senior Member
    Well you need to seriously consider how much debt you want to end up with at the end of college. Sallie Mae is a loan company - $5000 a semester for 4 years would be $40,000 in loans on top of whatever loans you may have to take out for school. That much debt is not something I would want to see one of my kids take on.

    Do you know about FAFSA and applying for financial aid? If you qualify you may get grants though you will likely also get loans to cover the cost of school.

    finaid.org is a good site that has information about the various grants and loans out there.

    FinAid! Financial Aid, College Scholarships and Student Loans
  • SuperMaWiiOHSuperMaWiiOH Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I'm going to that site right now to figure out how much would be paid for with school. Ok, lets say all of my school or most would be paid for, I still need money to live on. That's where Sallie Mae comes in. I would prefer to focus on my studies and not work at that point.
  • dntw8updntw8up Registered User Posts: 1,594 Senior Member
    "I would prefer to focus on my studies and not work at that point."

    Sure, but your preference may not be practical for your family. Perhaps working full-time and attending school part-time would make more sense. Alternatively, your wife could work nights and you could go to school days and then someone would always be home with your child. It isn't easy but many, many people have done it. Racking up loans isn't a great option and would still require you to find a way for 3 people to live on $10,000/year for a minimum of four years.
  • SuperMaWiiOHSuperMaWiiOH Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Ok I did the finaid calc and I got an EFC of 0. Here's what it says. The EFC has been set to 0 because the family qualifies for automatic zero EFC. With this EFC, you probably qualify for a Pell Grant. Assuming that you are attending a school that costs more than $4,310 per year, your Pell Grant should be approximately $4,310.

    Well of course the school costs more than the Pell Grant will give me per year, so where does the rest of the money to pay for school come from?
  • dntw8updntw8up Registered User Posts: 1,594 Senior Member
    The vast majority of schools in the U.S. "gap", which means they offer you some aid, often just the Federal grants and loans, but not enough aid to meet the cost of your education. You will have to come up with the rest of the money, through work, loans, scholarships if you have a special talent or are academically strong, etc. You will also have to come up with the money you and your family need to live. Some larger universities have married student housing, which may cost you less than an apartment if you live in an expensive housing market.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,702 Senior Member
    Pell has increased the maximum to $4731 for the 208-2009 school year. There are other possible grants.

    There is the SEOG - a federal grant. The maximum amount varies by school depending on the amount the particular school has received from the govt (it is a limited funds grant unlike the PELL where you get what you qualify for). At my daughters school for instance the max SEOG is $2000.

    Some states have grants (for instance our state has a $1000 grant for low EFC students).

    The school may have their own grants (though these are rarer in State schools).

    Loans. These may be subsidized (which means the govt pays the interest till after you graduate/quit school plus a grace period) or unsubsidized. The main ferderal subsidized loans are the Perkins (maximum $4000 a year) and the Stafford (maximum for a freshman $3500 though an additional $4000 is possible as you are an independent).

    The financial aid package is decided by the school once you apply. It is fiured out by taking the EFC away from the schools COA (Cost Of Attendance) which is made up of tuition and fees/books/room & board/miscellaneous/travelcosts. The difference is your 'need' on which your aid package is based. The award is likely to consist of grants, loans, and work study and possibly a gap if the school does not meet full need.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Well of course the school costs more than the Pell Grant will give me per year, so where does the rest of the money to pay for school come from?

    Depending on company- there are fields available that will help you pay for school while you are working- in what field are you currently employed ?

    What sort of insurance coverage do you have and will you lose it if you quit to attend school?

    If you were my kid- I would advise to first have your priority to be your family- and go to school part time/community college while working if necessary.

    How long has it been since you were in school? Do you have any previous credits?
This discussion has been closed.