cant afford college next year. is it worth it to stay?

Hi guys,

I’m a first year in the second trimester at a public university. After filling out the fafsa for next year, I found out that I’m not eligible for the pell grant. For my particular college, when a student is qualified for the pell grant, the college matches the rest the tuition with various grants, which was one of the main reasons why I decided to go to my local public university instead of out of state colleges.

I really don’t want to take out loans because I have older siblings who still need to pay off their loans. My dad only earns a little over than 50k for the whole family and I still have two siblings who graduated college and are still not able to live off on their own yet. What’s worse is that one of them is applying to grad school now and my parents will have to support him with that too.

I’m just so frustrated right now because the college I’m at was my last choice when i was applying to colleges last year. The only reason why I chose this college was mainly because the tuition was covered and I received the highest amount of scholarships at this school, which would cover my living expenses. I thought that as long as I was still eligible for pell grant and earned money from my tutoring job, then I would be able to provide for myself and not have to burden my parents with loans for the rest of the four years. Now it seems that I will have to pay more then 12k just next year and I know I won’t have anywhere near that kind of money next year.

I’m also stressed about what I want to do as a major because I still haven’t really decided what I want to be in the future. I just don’t know if it’s worth it to pay all this money when I don’t even know what to graduate with.
My college life has overall been pretty miserable and I really miss my high school life. Even though high school was difficult, I still had a lot of friends to hang out with (and at least it was free). I don’t have friends here and my professors this trimester are difficult to work with. I was able to barely get a 4.0 last trimester, but the classes this trimester, as well as my future financial situation is just stressing me out a lot. I’m really trying to look for scholarships to apply to, but it seems like I don’t qualify for any of them…

Sorry for the long rant. I just don’t know if my public college is worth it. Thanks for listening to my situation.

Can you take the semester off to recoup and figure out what you might want to do? In the meantime, you might be able to take classes at a local community college or find one to transfer to for the next year. Alternatively, you could try talking to the financial aid office to see if there is any way they could adjust your financial aid reward

If it is unaffordable, you may want to take a leave of absence or withdraw – but do it properly with all of the needed forms so that you can more easily return later when you have the finances to do so. Do not just drop out without notice, which can result in a transcript full of F grades for your current term and ineligibility to return.

Please take time to double check your FAFSA with some help from your Financial Aid Office. If your circumstances in your family income didn’t change, it is possible that there is a mistake somewhere along the way.

This is tricky situation I would say stick with it maybe that means going to community college for a semester untill you have the money or taking out loans or maybe try transferring seeing if you can find a cheaper school

Good luck

Thanks for all the replies! I’ll definitely try to talk to the financial office and double check my fafsa. I think the main reason why my financial aid changed so much is because one of my older siblings was able to be added as a dependent in our family. However, he already reached the “age-limit” for the tax form and the number of dependents in our family is down to three for next year.

If nothing works out, i’ll probably transfer to my local community college or find some other cheaper college that I could afford. The last thing I would want to do is to screw up another sibling’s life b/c I know my brother really wants to go to grad school.

I’m not sure if anyone knows, but how possible is it for someone to actually get some “more” financial aid when they go to the school’s financial aid office and talks about their changed situation?

Maybe explain that you have other siblings and your parents are paying for their education also

Also depending on what your brother wants to do in Grad school, more often than not, he gets paid as well as tuition covered. Of course this varies between a masters vs a PhD and depending on the program as well!

Go to financial aid and tell them all of this. Or become dependant of your parents, that would be tough for some things but it would make you eligible for pell grant again.

The issue with that is that your parents would then only have 2 dependants and it might make other tough things for them.

But financial aid offices can be very understanding if you play your cards right

I suggest you meet with financial aid office at your current school. Tell them how appreciate you are of the education you are receiving, and how you would love to continue, but the loss of your pell grant is forcing you to consider dropping out. Ask if there are any other sources of institutional aid that could bridge that gap.

It is the genuine student that asks nicely that can sometimes get additional funds. Ask if this situation actually is as you think it is, or if there are any adjustments that need to be corrected. And ask them for other suggestions if they don’t have any funds available to bridge the gap left by the zero pell grant.

^as powercropper said: go over your FAFSA forms, ask if there are any other sources of institutional aid that could bridge that gap, talk to your department’s head (the fact you had a 4.0 last semester will only help you).
Is your sibling trying to get into med school/law school, or is s/he trying to get into a PHD program? (BTW, you can get your Master “en route” to the PHD, and decide to stop. Those programs are funded, whereas 'terminal masters" aren’t).

What were your stats in HS (GPA, ACT/SAT scores, any AP?)

What changed since last year?

^one sibling reached age level where she’s no longer counted as dependent, even though s/he is in actuality.

All my friend’s kids who boomeranged home after college are working and paying their parents rent. Seems like your sibs should do the same… although that won’t win you any popularity points with them if you bring it up.

Also, I note that you seem to defer to your siblings’ desire to attend grad school over your own need for an undergraduate degree. I urge you to make a point to discuss this financial situation with your family. I think you forgoing your undergrad degree so that your parents can pay for a sibling’s grad degree is unfair.

I was wondering if the OP just meant that sib will be living at home (hence my rent comment). If parents are helping with grad school tuition, that does seem unfair.

What “grad school” is your brother thinking of?

PhD programs worth attending should be funded, so no parental financial assistance should be needed in this case. MD, JD, and MBA programs are expensive enough that if your family is having trouble with your college costs, they are very unlikely to be able to give meaningful financial assistance to your brother if he goes into one of those kinds of professional school programs.

Can your sibling that wants to attend grad school defer for one year and work instead? That would relieve some of the parental financial stress, plus the sibling could save up some of the money needed for grad school.

Wow, I didn’t know I would get so many replies! Thanks guys!

here is some more background…

My brother is aiming for a PT school and he took a year off and earned money from some part time jobs. He does have some money saved up, but it is definitely not enough to cover grad school tuition + possible rent. He also has some loans that he needs to pay off from undergrad too, so my parents are still helping with that. (question: is it possible to get funded for a PhD program in physical therapy? I don’t really know much about that). My other sibling recently just got employed at a full time job but still doesn’t have enough money to live off by herself yet.

Some of you might think that it might not be fair that I’m putting my siblings ahead of me, but since they already know what they want to do in their future, I want them to have the opportunity to achieve that. I just don’t think it’s right for me to take money when I don’t even know what I want to do yet. Since I had my tuition covered this year, I thought that it’s ok for me to explore options in college, but if I have to spend incredible amounts of money to “waste” my time in college next year, it doesn’t seem very logical?

I’m also currently looking for options where I can get at least my room and board cheaper or free. I was wondering how possible it is for a first year to become a RA? (our school also has other positions similar to the RA as well)

I don’t know if this will help too, but someone asked for my HS GPA, SAT…
I think my weighted was about 4.1 and unweighted around 3.8ish or higher? Don’t really remember very well haha
SAT was lower than 2000 but higher than 1900
ACT score was bad haha
took like 8 APs but only took like three tests (I didn’t think I would need them…wrong decision)

I’m going to meet with my parents sometime and look over our fafsa again. If nothing changes, then I’m going to meet up with my financial aid office and talk to them about my situation. I’m not sure if it will work out because I met with the financial aid guy a while back and he was pretty strict with following the financial aid info (but it won’t hurt to try though).

Thanks a lot again guys! I was pretty stressed about my financial situation a couple days ago but I feel a bit better now. Hopefully things work out.

I just wanted to add something…

My parents are definitely not pressuring me to reconsider college. It’s mostly me because I really don’t want to burden my family. I’m probably the most money-conscious person in my family and I’m the one that is stressed out the most. My parents keep telling me that it’s fine if I don’t get the pell grant but I don’t want to make my parents overwork themselves for money.

Also, it’s just kind of frustrating because all of my older siblings got great financial aid because there were a lot of dependents in the family a while ago, but now fafsa is telling me that I’m the only dependent in the family now…