Exhausted TAG grant-- what is my option?

Hi guys,

I’m a current full-time nursing student in NJ, going into my junior year (so I have 4 more semesters left). I was initially at a state university for 2 years, and transferred to a private college. I’ve been attending the private college for 2 years as of now.

Now, what I didn’t know when I transferred was that the TAG grant was given 9 times. I already used up 4 at the state university, and another 4 at my current college. I’m receiving the TAG grant for the upcoming fall semester ($6,000), but in spring I won’t be receiving any. Apparently I have maxed out on my unsubsidized loan as well this year, so that’s another $2,000 I have to pay somehow.

I’m receiving federal Pell grant ($5,750) and direct subsidized loan for $5,000 this year. This fall semester I won’t have to pay much ($970 out of pocket, which I can afford, thanks to summer job), but what scares me is the spring semester. When I talked to my financial aid officer, they told me I’m looking at about $7,000~8,000 out of pocket.

They are recommending me to take PLUS loan for that amount, but I’m trying not to take too much PLUS loan since I’ve already took out about $6,000 until now.

At this point I’m thinking of either taking out private loans, or different loan services like NJCLASS (which I just found out)…or possible hunt for scholarships. If I do go for scholarships, I believe it will be for my last year (2016-2017)…

I’m not quite sure how I should manage. Any advice?

How much in total loan debt do you have right now?

And you should definitely ask your school about dept scholarships. They tend to be in in the <$5K range but that can help a great deal.

As of now, I’m 33,000 in debt. I think I’m looking at about $67k debt, if I get $8000 loan for this spring and $16000 for my senior year.

I agree–but my college is money-hungry, and barely have scholarship opportunities. I’m getting about 11,000 in scholarships all together (little things like two five hundreds and the rest transfer scholarship)

I’m pretty sure your school rates were published when you entered. You didn’t have any units transfer to the 2nd school and give advanced standing? Well as you see, the resources are not unlimited to just try out majors and take as many semesters as you want to graduate.

How old are you? When you are 24 you get a larger student loan limit. For 3rd year and beyond $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. Total cap is $57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

NJ seems to have a lot of [nursing programs](New Jersey Nursing Schools And Programs | NurseJournal.org), so maybe you could transfer to a less expensive college before you start your junior year clinicals. Do you have family members who will let you live with them while you finish up? You could save a lot by commuting.

If you can find a job during the school year, that will help too. I’ve known several people who worked full-time to put themselves through nursing school. It’s not easy, but they thought it was preferable to large debt.

You’re already beyond the suggested max for student borrowing, so this school is really too expensive for you. Do some shopping and see if there are more affordable options. I doubt you could transfer as a senior, but you may be able to get into a program as a junior.

I think transferring again needs to be checked VERY carefully as an option. This student transferred one time already and apparently the only thing that happened was she used up two years of financial aid eligibility. No transfer credits which applied to her major, and four remaining years of college.

The ONLY reason and way to transfer is to go to a school where this student can graduate in no more than two additional years. It may not be that easy to get accepted now into a nursing program.

Will your parents take out a Plus Loan? That is a PARENT loan, not a student loan.

I agree, @Thumper1. Whatever this student does has to be well thought out. The NJ schools I looked at did seem to accept nursing transfers (and transfer credits), but I think a transfer would have to be done before clinicals were underway. It’s a great point that OP needs to know for sure that she can graduate in 2 years or transferring won’t be an affordable option.

If OP qualifies for full Pell as a dependent student, I wouldn’t recommend asking the parents to take out a $24k loan for her. I think a better option would be for her to take a leave after the fall semester and work for a year. She should be able to raise enough to pay for the spring semester of her junior year and the fall semester of her senior year. By then she should be old enough to qualify for the larger student loan limit which would cover the final semester. If OP used 8 semesters of Pell, she only has 4 semesters left, right? So she does need to be super careful that she can earn her degree in 4 semesters because after that she’ll lose that grant too.

You may need to go back to school part time while working.

Thank you guys for your thoughts-- unfortunately, transferring to another college will not be an option. For nursing schools (I guess particularly, if not most of them, in NJ), they rarely accept transfers for their juniors.

I wouldn’t take a leave for a year, for I really only got 4 semesters left-- and the nursing program in my college is rather…unforgiving…to its students. Who knows what kind of things they would say/make me do when I try to get back to it after a year.

I plan to work part time during fall semester, so maybe I can contribute at least a little bit to my spring tuition.

But really, what do you guys think about searching for scholarships? Do I have a shot in possibly cutting at least $5,000 (which could help a lot)?

Have you checked with your nursing school about scholarships/grants available for public service/military options?

And the scholarships I’m searching for is for my final year, 2016-2017. Besides the PLUS loan, I’m looking more into the NJCLASS-- and the interest rate is far better (4.45% approx). I’m not sure… which road should I take?

Are your parents taking out those Plus Loans? Students don’t take out Plus loans.