Hello! I am a rising senior in a Connecticut high school. You have to excuse me- my mother and I are completely out of the loop when it comes to college to I apologize in advance for asking a possibly redundant or “stupid” question.
I am an only child and live with a single mother. We live below the poverty level and technically I would be eligible to receive full ride scholarships from various private colleges in the New England area such as Smith and Trinity, but unfortunately, I have a very wealthy biological father (my parents never married) whom I see every month for scraps of monetary help to get us through the rest of my HS year so we don’t become homeless (which is torture basically- it’s excruciating to see him and he has no willingness to pay for my college tuition in any way.) Anyway, because of his wealth, since private college look at the noncustodial parent’s earnings to determine financial aid, I now will be receiving no need based aid rather than full aid.
So, I have begun looking at UConn, our state’s public school, which does not look at the income of noncustodial parents. However, when I used their Net Price Calculator, before merit-based aid (which I expect I will get some of; in total probably 5k a year) I will still have to pay $15,000 a year. I surmised that in order to pay for personal needs while away at college (spending money for clothes, emergencies, going out from time to time, and so on) I could get a job on campus so that I could have some of my own money.
However, anyone receiving the amount of need-based aid that I would be getting has to put any money they make in the Work-Study program or on-campus jobs to their tuition. That distressed me- how on earth am I supposed to garner any personal money? I do have a part-time job this summer, but 100% of those funds went towards fixing my mom’s broken car- she cannot work because she is too ill. Also, I don’t have a car of my own nor do I know how to drive myself, so leaving campus to go work somewhere isn’t an option.
At the end of senior year, our HS has an awards night where local business give small amounts of money to the students for achievements or affiliation with a certain organization or workplace; these checks are written directly to the students. If push comes to shove, could I use that money for personal needs?
I just find it unfair that I couldn’t put the money I will earn working at UConn for my direct needs. Do all public schools do this? How on earth could I get some spending money? I apologize for the long-winded question, or if I come across as selfish- it’s just that in this tough financial situation of my mother and I, any money I received from awards or odd jobs here or there could not be saved or put towards college- it had to go towards keeping the lights on or paying for groceries. What’s a girl to do? Any solutions? Thanks for any advice!