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Entering college. Parents not supportive. Maybe you parents can help.

wastedonyouthwastedonyouth 5 replies2 threads New Member
edited July 2006 in Parents Forum
My parents are first-generation immigrants, and have never had to deal with the college process prior to this past year. Well, they also refused to pay for any of my applications, which, I assume is what led to my quest for the 'perfect' (financial aid-wise) school. Both my sister and I have had to deal with their constant bickering and discouraging comments as we've tried to establish ourselves as not only young adults, but incoming first-year students. A few months ago, we received our financial aid packages as well as our acceptance letters from our schools. We ultimately decided on enrolling in the same school. We're going to a LAC. It has more to do with it being of benefit to both of us academically, than our wanting to be near each other (trust me: I wouldn't want to live with my sister forever).

Recently, we received financial aid packages that state the family contribution to be $6,753 for each... so, in total, that's $13,506. My parents are willing to contribute: $0.00. Heck, it took my dad until exactly May 1st to give us money for deposits. He had the money, but didn't believe we merited his wasting money. My sister and I have looked for jobs, but everyone wants people who can be long-term, people who can stay throughout the school year, etc. Babysitting is not a viable option, since we don't know many parents with children that need to be taken care of.

As if it doesn't get worse, if my parents were to pay the difference, they would be using up 45% of their income. They make a little less than 30,000 dollars, but own a house, so the college decided to factor that in as a part of the income. Now, I have no problem taking out a loan for $6,753 for my first year. The remainder of my financial aid is basically grant-aid (that's approximately 39,000 dollars). However, I will have a big problem when the other things have to be bought. TV? Nope. Parents aren't paying for it. Laptop? Nope. Parents refuse to pay for it. Having to pay for two is also not something they see as worthwhile. I don't know. I just wanted to know if anyone had any advice. They refuse to pay for ANYTHING, even making us do freelance work (typing for people, occasional tutoring) to buy clothes. The last time my parents celebrated my birthday, I was 10 years old. It was the last time they ever thought I deserved recognition for my age.... yeah, it's not that great.

edited July 2006
27 replies
Post edited by wastedonyouth on
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Replies to: Entering college. Parents not supportive. Maybe you parents can help.

  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom 24049 replies804 threads Senior Member
    I'm sorry to hear what you're going through. Unfortunately, you can't make your parents give you money for college nor will colleges give need-based aid to students who need aid because their parents refuse to pay.

    My advice is that difficult as it is, you have to accept reality. For reasons of their own, your parents are not willing to provide support to you for college. Consequently, you'll have to either take out loans or work a job to cover "their" share or you'll need to go to a place that you can afford without their help. That may be the local community college. If so, realize that you won't be the only bright student there who is attending their for financial reasons.

    In addition, if you do very well, you probably can find colleges (particularly in-state publics) where you can transfer and get generous need based and merit aid.

    Hard as it is, the sooner you accept the fact that your parents are not going to reverse their behavior patterns toward you, the sooner you'll stop setting yourself up for disappointment, and you'll find ways of fulfilling your needs in other ways.

    If your parents don't believe in doing things like giving you birthday parties, you'll make friends and let them know that you'd love it if they gave you a party or you'll give a party for yourself.

    If your parents don't believe in financially helping you with college plans, you'll find a way to go on your own by loans, working or doing something like Americorps, which after you volunteer for a year will give you $4,700 dollars to use for your college expenses (which could be paying off college loans).

    Best of luck to you. Feel free to use this board for support. There are lots of caring parents here.
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  • jimbob1225jimbob1225 3418 replies39 threads Senior Member
    You don't need a TV. However, that's beside the point. I feel really bad for you. That's terrible.

    Definitely consider a community college-then-transfer like Northstarmom said.
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  • cangelcangel 4054 replies73 threads Senior Member
    A couple of adult posters on this site should have good advice for you, becuase they worked hard to put themselves through school.

    My advice for you is to make do with little - why do you need a TV? You need to be studying or working . Will you have as much fun as your peers, no, but sometimes that's the breaks. The only reason I had a TV in college was that I won one in a contest (TVs were a lot more expensive, relatively speaking, in those days). That TV lasted about 20 years, it was green when we finally pitched it.

    You and your sister need to brainstorm every possible way to make and save money. Since your EFC is $6700 each, and you have no "stake", I would recommend borrowing the maximum this year, then doing everything you can to conserve the discretionary part of it. Books, there are cheap ways to get books, and you can sell them back. Do you really need 2 laptops? Yes, I'm serious, remember we all went to college with, God forbid, a typewriter. You don't need a cell phone, certainly don't need 2 phones. You can get clothes at thrift stores, Walmart, TJ Maxx, etc if you shop carefully, and smart. Browse yard sales.

    Will you be able to work at school? Over and above any work-study. Sometimes it is cheaper to live off campus if you can come up with the deposits for utilities. At a LAC you will probably have to live on campus first year, but I would start in the fall trying to determine whether or not you can stretch your money off campus.

    What about transportation? If the parents don't pay for you to come home, coming home may become optional at short vacations. No one said this would be easy.

    Honestly, I can see how they would be reluctant for them to pay anything - 30K these days is not a lot. It is a hard thing to say, but perhaps a cheaper school would be better - although at this point I would take out the loan and work and live CHEAP. You can make it, but you have to change the focus from "parents aren't paying for a TV" to "how can I make this work so I can stay at this school".
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  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 threads Senior Member
    I am sorry to hear about your problems, too. To be fair to your parents, having an income of $30k is definitely very constricting. I am actually surprised that, even considering the house, the college is still expecting your parents to come up with $13k. Can you talk to the finaid officer again? Can you also ask about the availability of computers at your school if you cannot afford a laptop of your own? How about books?
    Can the college arrange for you to have work-study? Are there work opportunities nearby?
    Good luck to both of you!
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  • midwesternermidwesterner 1906 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Well, you blow the sympathy vote when you lament not being able to get ANY job and the fact that your dad won't buy you a TV for school, which is only a couple of hundred dollars.

    Your bigger problem may be that your parents won't co-sign your loan. That would prevent you from going to the LAC. Get to work on that topic. If they do co-sign the loan, you can always get a part-time job at school and buy your own stuff.
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  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad 8506 replies67 threads Senior Member
    I agree with Marite to talk to finAid again since it sounds like a high EFC for that income level with two kids in college.

    I also agree that a TV is not necessary and that you generally don't have to have a laptop (but it helps). You can use computers at the college or acquire a less expensive desktop rather than an expensive laptop. You can for example, get an entry level Dell desktop for $299 that'd probably be adequate. Some colleges also have laptops yu can 'check-out' from the library or departments. You could also live off campus (if they allow it) in a less expensive abode. There are many ways to reduce costs.

    I'm one of those parents who put myself through college 100% on my own. It didn't even occur to me to ask my parents for money. I worked a lot to support myself through college and also had student loans which I paid back in the years after graduating. I didn't view it as a hardship and it never bothered me since I never had an expectation that my parents should or would pay for college. Note that this was a long time ago and college costs have gone up but it can still be done (it was a lot of money to me at the time - hence the loans). I don't think you should lay any 'blame' on your parents or hold any animosity against them - just change your expectation level.

    You can mitigate the cost in a number of ways including, as some other posters have stated, going the CC->StateUniversity route if need be (there are plenty of people who do this and end up doing just fine) or to select a LAC or other college that has an even better financial package. Also remember that you don't 'need' to go to any particular college to end up being a success - i.e. your future isn't over if you don't go to some particular expensive LAC. There are many institutions of higher learning that will fit the bill.
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  • wastedonyouthwastedonyouth 5 replies2 threads New Member
    I am sorry to hear about your problems, too. To be fair to your parents, having an income of $30k is definitely very constricting. I am actually surprised that, even considering the house, the college is still expecting your parents to come up with $13k. Can you talk to the finaid officer again? Can you also ask about the availability of computers at your school if you cannot afford a laptop of your own? How about books?
    Can the college arrange for you to have work-study? Are there work opportunities nearby?
    Good luck to both of you!

    We have tried talking to people at the FA office over and over again...but they refuse to budge. Silly thing is, they actually did increase our financial aid. We were originally supposed to pay $21,000 together (who knows why...?). As for trips home, my father will pay for that (has already said so), but he says college expenses are all on us, because he claims he never had to do it, so we shouldn't have to either. It's not the television; I can live without a television. I have in the past... computers are in every dorm on campus, but are recommended for class projects, etc... and expenses are more than "just a television". I've actually already contacted my professors about books, and am able to get a total of 9 books for a little over $200. I got them from Amazon and half.com. That, too, my father will pay for. His income by the end of this year will be about $15,000 more, because of a new job and a major income raise. The only thing is he won't pay for any of the luxuries, because that is, according to him, what a laptop is, etc. A college education is also a luxury.

    We are both going to be on work study: $1800/yr each. My other top choice was NYU, which is a lot closer and would've been easier, because I could've stayed home... but realistically, that is really, really expensive... even for someone with an income as low as my family's.

    I can actually live without the television, without a microwave, with just a laptop and my books, clothes, bare necessities, but I think what worries me most is how I will be able to get through if I don't even have that moral support. My parents are at a much better place financially than they were around application time. They are going on a vacation with my younger brother than summer (each ticket: $800 each), but when it's for something college-related for my sister and me: the money's just not there. My brother's (just finished 8th grade) also getting a laptop for the upcoming school year, because he fell behind this past year (is attending summer school this summer) and they feel it's necessary for him to have his own laptop before he enters HS.

    I mean... I guess I could go to a CUNY for a year or something, but I don't think I'd be happy enough there to do well enough to even consider transferring. Also, is it too late for me to enroll in a CUNY/CC AND get financial aid?

    I'm not doubting that my father will co-sign; he's actually very supportive, because he claims things like that teach us responsibility. I talked to him about it yesterday, and he just kept saying, "Your mom says you'll have to fend for yourself...you're almost 18, so on and so forth...". He just doesn't want to pay for any of my college expenses, because my mother says, "An education isn't everything," and I'm starting to think he (who is the only one with a job... mother=unemployed) believes it.

    Thank you all VERY much. Your help is greatly appreciated. :)
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  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 threads Senior Member
    You won't need a TV. Most likely, there will be a TV in every dorm, if not on every floor. Nor will you need a microwave or a fridge. Microwaves aren't allowed in my S's dorm. And the fridge (bought on sale) seemed to be storing ice-cream and soft drinks.

    The laptop is more of a necessity. Can you investigate if you can buy one second-hand? Can you tell your dad that a lot of the homwork will be posted on the class website, that a
    lot of information will be sent via emails, etc...? Can you work for the next couple of months to save enough for the laptop? Bagging groceries, mowing lawns, waiting at tables in a restaurant, whatever is available?

    You also should be able to earn a bit more than the $1800 in work-study by working a few more hours, perhaps off-campus.
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  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad 8506 replies67 threads Senior Member

    Given your parents' stance, if you think the extra expense of going to the college you've chosen is worth the extra cost, then I say just see what you can do to get loans to cover it (your father might need to co-sign) and pay for it yourselves. You might find out that your father will change his mind in a year or two - especially since it looks like his income is increasing well. If not, you can always just pay it back once you start working. The $7K x 4 is only $28K which is roughly equivalent to a car and amazingly, a lot of grads seem to manage to take a loan out to buy a new car without worrying much at all about it. You may also be able to roll some other expenses into the loan (like a laptop). In the long-term, you'll probably be justifiably quite proud of yourself for having contributed as much as you are to your costs.
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  • newmassdadnewmassdad 3792 replies56 threads Senior Member
    I went through four years of college with parents who seemed to care less. I had scholarships that paid tuition, books, and part of room/board. I worked for money for incidentals, which weren't much - couldn't afford much. Worked summers to save etc. Even had my father tell me not to call home so often (just called on Sunday to see how they were doing. Once a week was too much?) Mail? Ha.

    Yes, it was no fun watching classmates head to warm places for breaks, and to europe for the summer. But, when I was done, it was MY accomplishment, not theirs. (But they did show up for graduation, at least!)

    Since then, as I went from poverty (grad school) to comfort (now), I can't say my happiness changed with income.

    If you worry about what you can't do, you can be unhappy. But, so much is free (or almost so) in college, you can enjoy a lot for very little. Be glad you have the smarts to get a good fin aid package to a good school. And hope the parents come arojund. Even if they don't, the best revenge is doing well.
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  • jimbob1225jimbob1225 3418 replies39 threads Senior Member
    Well Wasted, we can't help you fix the issues your family has (eg, buying your bro a laptop but not you, viewing education as a luxury) but we can help you deal with it. Take out a loan. You won't get the kind of moral support you lack now...so don't cry about it because those parents of yours aren't going to change. It's sad though :(
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  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom 24049 replies804 threads Senior Member
    "We have tried talking to people at the FA office over and over again...but they refuse to budge. Silly thing is, they actually did increase our financial aid. We were originally supposed to pay $21,000 together (who knows why...?). "

    Am I right that this college does not guarantee to meet 100% of students' financial need? If so, that's a big problem that you can't solve by begging. There are many colleges that as a policy do not provide 100% of students' financial need. This typically is because of a shortage of funds. Many public universities do not guarantee to meet 100% of financial need. Some private universities even will reject students with sky high need. Some colleges will meet the full need of only their most desired applicants.

    Anyway, it's very important when applying to colleges to make sure that you have safeties that you know you will gain acceptance to and will definitely be able to afford. For many students, no matter how accomplished and smart, their financial safety is either their local community college or a local 4-year public university that they could commute from home to.

    If you can't get a loan, I suggest pursuing the options I mentioned including the possibility of taking a gap year to raise money.

    As for having to work to buy clothes, I don't see what the problem is. Once i started working as a rising h.s. senior, I paid for all of my clothes and entertainment expenses. In college, I paid for all of my books, travel, entertainment and clothes. This was from summer and school year employment. I also had college loans.
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  • minimini 26167 replies259 threads Senior Member
    I work in a relatively high level state gov't job, and I outfitted myself last year, all-told, for under $200. I am a Value Village/Goodwill shopper, on principle, as I don't like buying clothes (which I can well afford) that are produced new in third world sweat shops. It's as simple as that.

    You can buy a working TV at my local Value Village any day of the week for under $40; microwave for $20.

    It's a long time ago, but I worked my way through college. Two jobs: I worked at BOTH college bookstores. In the summers, I worked at resort hotels as a waiter, 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week. (That's about 85 hours a week). Had some small loans.

    Did I like it that way? Well, it wasn't a matter of "liking". That's what was available to me. I could have gone to City College of New York and gotten an excellent education for free. I chose otherwise.

    I am now 56 years old. I have (by choice) never owned a new car, and never had a car loan, and never owned a car that cost more than $3,500. I support major land reform/child welfare projects in the third world, and I usually feel like the richest person I know (except when I look at college list prices, which I'd never pay for my kids either.)

    Need a NEW laptop for under $600 - more powerful, more features, more EVERYTHING than ever existed three years ago? Here's your place:


    The point is, this is all about choices. If you DECIDE you can do it, chances are you WILL. But only you can make that choice.
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  • wastedonyouthwastedonyouth 5 replies2 threads New Member
    It promises to meet 100% of demonstrated need. The average frosh grant is $24,079, 65% of students get need-based aid, and they are being extremely generous to some other entering first-years (with whom I have spoken) who are in a similar situation as us (the only difference is they don't own houses). They said they would meet our need, and according to them, they did. I don't see how, but they claim they have. The house costs x amount of money NOW (it wasn't bought recently, not a fair assessment), so they figure that this is a good representation of our income.

    As for the loan, we are 17 years old, so we can't take out private loans. The only educational loan we can take out is a PLUS loan, and as you might have assumed, that is not likely to happen. I definitely don't want to take a gap year... but I think I might end up at a CC or a CUNY (neither of which I even considered going to/filling applications for, bad move...). I just wanted to go somewhere I knew I would have opportunities and a place where I wouldn't have to be with my parents... it was both an escape and a dream (going to said LAC). I would've had the alumnae networking as well as the major (it's specific and there's not really a strong program at any CUNY) and the study abroad programs that I've always wanted.

    Anyway, If I live here, my mother will start charging me rent, utilities, food, etc for living in her house (she has said so), which will end up being more expensive than going to college, and will likely, end up with me losing more than gaining.

    It just feels like I've done all this work for nothing.
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  • bobby100bobby100 - 1043 replies5 threads Senior Member
    You need to examine your entitlement issues or you will have done it all for nothing in the end.
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  • TarhuntTarhunt 2126 replies12 threads Senior Member
    OK. Look. Compared to many kids, you're gotten a raw deal. Acknowledge that and move on. Here are your options:

    1. Get a full or nearly full-time job AND go to college. I did it. Others have done it. I had a colleague who did it with his wife while having a baby at home. It's tough at 18 or 19, but he did it and so did his wife.

    2. Take one or two years off until you become independent and your parents' income doesn't count towards the EFC.

    3. Join one of the military services and take advantage of their college tuition benefits.

    4. Go to college on an ROTC scholarship.

    5. Reapply next year to different colleges and try to get a better financial aid package (while working to save some money).

    6. Take out loans.

    7. Attend a lower-cost college, like a community college or even a junior college.

    Have I forgotten any options? Maybe. But the fact is that you DO have options. I'm sorry things aren't easier for you. I don't completely understand that sort of parenting, but that's me. However, you are still in control of this thing. It can be done, you just have to set your mind to doing it.

    Good luck to you.
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  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad 8506 replies67 threads Senior Member
    Just so you know, you can do study-abroad programs regardless of the college you go to. My D did a for-credit study-abroad program in Scotland last summer through UCI even though she doesn't attend UCI (she goes to UCSD) and there were also people participating who weren't in the UC system at all including one who was from a college in Italy. Note though that study abroad programs can be expensive so you'll need to budget for it which might be tough given your situation.

    If you indicate your major, many of the people on this board might have some ideas for you regarding colleges in your area that have generous financial awards or that are less expensive.
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  • sarah_mcsarah_mc 117 replies8 threads Junior Member
    If the aid you are getting is determined by your father's income, and will be recalculated every year than you are in even bigger trouble. It is likely that as your parents income registers the raise your dad got, your aid will shrink and you will have to take out more loans. You need to realize this now.

    one way you possibly could cut down on costs is taking cheaper summer classes at a cc that will trancfer, and graduate in 3 or 3.5 years
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  • Fsu-ufFsu-uf 884 replies52 threads Member
    my opinion is that you and your sister should've of gotten day and night jobs during summer to compile as much money as possible, but its a little late for that. but i'm sure you can find something at mcdonald's or somewhere the point is to make as much money as you can.
    and i understand your situation i'm going to be going through the same thing next year, but just hold your head up and do what you have to do, and always keep your goal in mind.
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  • cnp55cnp55 3656 replies152 threads Senior Member
    I have a young woman working for me who is doing 5 days/40 hrs in my shop, carrying a full time college schedule in a combo of online and traditonal classes. She's figured out how to afford college for herself and her situtation.

    On the computer front, I was thinking of new computer systems for said shop and was playing on eBay. Did you know that you can buy a refurbished iMac G3 with everything you need for $99 plus shipping? It's not a laptop ... but they are pretty portable those little iMacs.
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