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Temporarily dropping out?

HannaGlinHannaGlin 6 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
I am a student at the University of Maine (Orono), going into my Junior year this fall. I am studying parks, recreation, and tourism with a concentration in conservation law enforcement. I love the concentration, but do not want my bachelors degree in that major as there is less opportunities after graduation. If I change majors, I loose my in-state tuition (I’m a Massachusetts resident, and certain majors grant you in-state tuition at UMaine). I’d also expect to add a semester or two to make up for mandatory classes. Which would put me in a lot of debt. More than my dream career could afford to pay off in less than 10 years. It’s also two extra semesters I have to figure out how to pay off on my own. My parents don’t help me. Between scholarships and RA duties, I’d be paying only 3k a semester in my current major. Which is really good, but again, not the major I want and no way of knowing how I’ll be able to afford the next 4-6 semesters. The last 4 I had help from a relative, but unfortunately she has since passed. So my only thought was to temporarily drop-out, knowing the consequences of paying back loans without a degree. But with my financial circumstances, I see no other option. I have pleaded to my school for help, but they said they could do nothing. And applied for many scholarships, but it is still not enough. I’m looking into apprenticeship programs through different trades with tuition reimbursements and assistance. I plan to apply the credits I earned towards an associates degree at a community college that I can afford. It is a minus requirement to be a conservation officer, which is my dream. Eventually I will finish my bachelors, maybe online? But am I making a mistake? Is this a reasonable path to follow? I am so overwhelmed and stressed. I would appreciate any advice or personal experience! Thank you in advance.
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Replies to: Temporarily dropping out?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 29476 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    What career do you want to have?

    Is it necessary to complete a specific major in order to have that career?

    Why do you think that your current major would restrict you from having a specific career?

    Could you complete your current major affordably?
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  • HannaGlinHannaGlin 6 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    I want to be a Fish & Game Warden. But I want a degree that can give me other options, if that doesn’t work out. Something in natural resources or environmental sciences. Either way, I can not afford any more semesters, as I have no way of paying for them. Private loans are not an option, unless I apply to one with insane interest. Which I’d rather not do. Seeing as a game warden only makes $40k a year, I don’t want to be $50k in debt after school (which I estimated if a continued). I’ll need a new vehicle soon, and as a warden you are put into a specific county. So I would have to get an apartment. While paying off loans. Just trying to think ahead and see what is best.
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  • LuckyCharms913LuckyCharms913 1016 replies15 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You mention scholarship and RA duties. Have you been taking out federal student loans for your first two years.?
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29476 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your best option is probably to just finish up your current degree program because it is affordable. Then if your original career plan doesn't work out, you can take the skill set that you do have and transition into a different career. Your major will not make it impossible to chnge directions. Think of all of the work-related skills that you are developing as an RA. Those count too at job-hunting time.


    Remember also that you can return to college and pick up any specific missing coursework later on if you find you need to. What would be a semester or more at out-of-state fees now, could very easily become one or two classes at a time at in-state rates once you are working and have state residency. Depending on your employer, some coursework might be required for career advancement anyway and/or the employer might reimburse the cost of your studies.


    You already have earned as many credits as are included in most Associate Degree programs. Dropping back into an AA or AS program probably only makes sense if that is a technical program that leads directly to a career you want (e.g. plumbing, auto repair, CNA licensing, etc.). If you have already received Pell Grant and/or Federal Student Loans, you need to find out if you have any eligiblity remaining. The rules are different for two year degree and certificate programs than for four year degree programs.
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  • HannaGlinHannaGlin 6 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    Yes, I have accepted a few subsidized and I subsidized federal loans in my past 4 semesters. My concern with continuing is how I will pay. You must pay a a certain sum of many per semester to be eligible to sign up for classes the next semester. And won’t be able to on my own.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29476 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 8
    Sorry, I misunderstood your first post. I had thought that you had your costs covered with scholarships, the RA, and a student loan provided you continued in your current major.

    If you don't have the money to continue your studies right now, then your only option is to take time off until you can afford to pay for things.

    But it could be that you are just confused about what you have to have available in order to register for classes for the next semester. Talk to the financial aid office about that. Usually if they know that the scholarship is there and that the loan is in process, you can go ahead and register.
    edited August 8
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22414 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Stay with your major. It's a good one and gives you the tuition discount. The big issue is how to come up with $6k per year. If you can borrow it, do so. If not, can you earn another thousand in Aug?

    Many federal jobs require a degree, and you'll have one.

    One option for after college is to do an Americorps year. They will provide your living expenses and sometimes a small stipend, and you will earn the equivalent of a Pell grant (so about $6200) after a certain number of hours to pay all or some of your student loans. Many of the jobs are in conservation, forests, museums, etc. You'd get good experience and that lump sum payment for a student loan.

    If you do have to take time off, take it as a leave of absence, not 'dropping out.' Go earn some money, go back to school, go earn more money, go back to school.
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  • LuckyCharms913LuckyCharms913 1016 replies15 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you take a leave of absence for a year, will U Maine hold your RA job? That’s worth quite a bit and I’d hate to see you lose it.

    You get to borrow slightly more for Years 3 and 4 than you did the last two years. If you take the full $7,500 federal loan for 2019-20 and continue with your current major, are you still short $6,000 for the year?
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  • HannaGlinHannaGlin 6 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    edited August 9
    Yes, I’d still keep my RA job. Leaving would not affect my eligibility to reapply. And I was strongly encouraged based off of my resume to reapply after I take a leave of absence (if I do). The idea with the community is I can pay outright without worrying about taking out federal or private loans. I have mandatory courses that I can take at a community for two semesters. And the credits can be transferred no problem according to my advisor.
    edited August 9
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29476 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    How will you pay your living expenses while studying at a community college?
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  • HannaGlinHannaGlin 6 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    The community college is less than 30mins away from my moms, where I wouldn’t have to worry about living expenses.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29476 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you can quickly complete a program at the CC that will lead to a job, transferring there makes sense. Given your financial issues, focusing on a career program that will get you into a job soon makes better sense than struggling through to a four year degree.
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