Bunch of finance questions

<p>Hard to choose an "all-encompassing" subject as there's a lot I'm trying to figure out and my school isn't being very helpful with my concerns.</p>

<p>I'm 22 years old and I'm going to be starting college soon as a freshman. I've been out of school for over 4 years (and have been hit hard by the economic downturn). I got into the unfortunate situation of finding a decent job after highschool, getting laid off, and then not being able to make my payments. I'm currently $10,000 in debt and I need to do something to survive, either college or the military. I'm trying to be successful at the former so I don't have to rely on the latter.</p>

<p>I'm from a poor area in the middle of nowhere, NY. I'm attending a cheap community college here, as it is local and basically my only option. I've always wanted to take an engineering program at MIT, and I'll be taking classes that will help accomplish that goal and hopefully transfer in a couple years. There's a few problems that I'm not sure how I'm going to solve, however.</p>

<p>As I've alluded to, I don't have much money and neither do my parents. I scored an EFC of 0 on my financial aid and I'm eligible for the full $5500 Pell grant. I'm also waiting on the TAP (NY) grant to get approved, although with the recent budget cuts I'm assuming the estimated amount will decrease. I will be receiving about $3000-$4000 in grant money in the Fall and Spring. This will be a huge relief because without money up front it will be difficult for me to even make it to class. I'm currently living about 30 miles away from campus, and currently without a working vehicle. The community college also doesn't offer dorms. This means that somehow I'm going to have to come up with money I don't have to a) get a new car and/or b) find a close apartment. When I explained my concerns to a lady at financial aid, she said somewhat condescendingly that I need to attend class for at least 2 weeks before I can receive my grant and/or student loan money, so that I can't "blow the money on frivolous purchases such as a car or a laptop."</p>

<p>So I'm kind of stuck with how I'm going to be able to even attend for the first two weeks to become eligible to receive the remainder of the grant money and/or a loan (which I haven't applied for yet).</p>

<p>I'm looking for some fact checks. Is it not possible to receive a student loan or grant money before you are already attending classes? I called a few banks and credit unions around here, but none of them would lend me money and trust that I'd pay the loan off once I had received my grant money. I guess there's something untrustworthy about a person with amazing credit that suddenly plummeted once he lost his job. Go figure.</p>

<p>Also, I doubt this but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask: if a college doesn't offer dorms and essentially requires students to get an apartment, will financial aid assist with the payments at all? Especially considering that I'm assuming I'm not going to be using nearly as much aid as I'm allotted (my first term is only costing $2023) and the choice between a dorm and an apartment is, well, not really a choice in my situation. Are there any other options for college assistance programs that aren't as well known?</p>

<p>Looking for any ideas that could help me out. Once I get over the initial hurdle of actually starting, I believe I'll be fine. I'm still looking for a job of course, hopefully I can find something quickly so I can start classes with at least a notebook or something. :)</p>

<p>What the federal and state monies do, is make it possible for most students to commute to a state school. We are fortunate in NY to have affordable state tuition and a lot of state schools located all over the state. Still, if you live somewhere that has no public transportation to your college, it can be a big problem. In your case, you have a temporary situation in that you will soon be getting some funds to put towards a reliable car. Until then, you need to find a friend or family member that can take you to school and back each day. Preferably a number of them. When you get your funds, you can then refund them the gas and mileage and present them with a big box of homemade cookies or brownies or other goods. You get a ride there in the morning and then back in the evening. You can study during the day, or look for a job on campus that can yield a few more dollars. </p>

<p>It's difficult, I know. My sons have to rely on us for transportation this summer and they hate it. But we cannot afford cars for them. So they are often dropped off early and picked up late since they are not the only ones on my schedule. So it goes with my oldest who has a car when it is in the shop. This is one of the problems with living in a suburb or other outlying area where cars are needed to get anywhere. </p>

<p>Congratulations on getting a good start on your goals. With the extra time to spend on your studies these first few weeks, hopefully you'll find yourself ahead of the class. Try to keep some extra funds at year's end so that you can repay your parents for the rides, and they can keep some of that money to help you out next term while waiting for the funds to arrive. For whatever reason, there is a time lag in getting that money, so be prepared from now on, since you now know this.</p>

<p>Thanks for the reply.</p>

<p>I don't have the best relationship with my parents. I may have to try to work something out temporarily with my mother, but I'd hate to impose. My classes will be M-Th morning until about 1-2 pm so I'm not sure how I'd be able to pull this off without affecting her work hours. Since she doesn't make much as it is, it would be a bad situation. </p>

<p>Bumping for answers to other questions I posed.</p>