HELP! I don't know how to pay for college

my financial aid is less than tuition and I can’t take out anymore gov loans. Right now for my first semester its $34,886.75. My financial aid per semester is $29,022.50. Thats still 5,864.25 dollars that I don’t have. I really don’t want to take out private loans and I don’t know what to do. I’m on my own for tuition and my parents refuse to take out any PLUS loans to help. Please give me any advice you have!
I’m going to RPI and majoring in Architecture. Don’t know if anyone needs that info.

Did you already take out the government loan for $5500 per year?
Do you have savings from a job?
Most students get funding from their parents. If they aren’t willing to pay for your fees, you are stuck.

FWIW: You may want to investigate the job outlook for the Architecture major since some of my former students have had a hard time finding a job in this major.

You will also have book, supplies, and other personal expenses not included in the above amount.

Do you mean to say that you have accepted admission to RPI and discovered that, after grants, you net cost for tuition, room, and board is just $5900 per semester = $11,800 per year? That is less than half the cost of state school.

If so, that is a pretty good deal but likely unaffordable if your parents don’t help at all. You could probably save $6000 a summer if you worked really hard. That leaves about $6000 left. If nothing else, if your parents covered your room and board during the summers while you worked and you took out the annual max of $5500 you would be very close.

Many schools include the $5500 loan as part of the FA package. It looks like this student needs another $12k, minimum, if he wants to go to RPI.

Call the school. Ask if there is any additional loans or work or scholarships. If not, you’ll have to delay going until you can earn the money.

This is very late in the process to discover the shortfall. Waht were your plans when you accepted the offer?

If you are just going to start university for the first time this fall (in September), then you need to remember that there is not much to be gained by attending one or two semesters of university. You are going to need to have a plan to pay for the full four or five years. My understanding is that architecture is five years, but I might be wrong since I haven’t looked at this for quite a while.

I would not recommend starting university at all unless you have a realistic plan to pay all the way through getting your first degree (bachelor’s, or at least an associates degree if you go to community college). Sadly I don’t know how to do this without help from parents. It is very unlikely that you will be able to borrow enough without your parents co-signing. It is possible that you might be stuck.

In your other thread so you mention that your parents are divorced and your mom’s income is $40k. She can’t afford to take PLUS loans for you (or any of your sibling’s) to go to school OOS. If you still need $5800 for the fall after taking the federal loans (plus money for books and transportation from Utah to NY) and your dad can’t/won’t help, this school may be too expensive for you.

Your options will depend on where you live. Are you and your sibling’s back with your mom or are you in foster care? Can you attend the university where you took dual enrollment classes in high school?

You can’t afford RPI. You need to cancel that enrollment. Take a gap year. Use your time off to come up with a new plan for your education.

I’m so sorry you are going through this. You got a good deal but without your parents help, I just don’t see how you can manage 4 years of +10k annual gap in ability to pay. It’s just too much.

I know it’s difficult to give up RPI but community college and transfer is your best option if you parents will let you live at home.

OP stated in another thread that they have already earned an associates degree at the dual enrollment school, but that school doesn’t offer Architecture. University of Utah does - so that is an option, if it’s still possibly to apply for the fall. I agree that RPI seems to have insurmountable cost problems.

@amberdr00 I am sorry you are in this situation. From experience, I will advise you not to start down the path of RPI. Do not count on the school helping you bridge the financial gap down the road, no matter how well you do there. I had to leave a university when the money ran out in the middle of my first semester senior year despite being on the deans list every single semester and heavily involved on campus. I had no degree and heavy debt. Horrible, horrible way to head into adult hood.

It’s too late to apply to university of Utah :(. I have about 2,000 dollars of my own savings that I can put towards school. The main thing that’s making all of this so expensive according to my bill breakdown is that there’s a lot of fees and stuff like health insurance. with out that it would only be 3.5k. I really wanted to go to a school to do my Barch and university of utah doesn’t have that option. I guess I’ll just have to drop out and re apply for maybe a different school in spring or fall.

I thought I would be able to take out more government loans. I’m the first person to go to college and no one knows how this works. It was stupid to think I could do this

You can waive the health insurance if your mother has you on a plan now. Ask for the waiver.

You MIGHT be able to waive the health insurance if you can show you will be covered in NY state. RPI will tell you whether your Utah based plan fulfills their requirements. Contact them tomorrow morning to ask…but you will need to have your current coverage info.

Call RPI’s financial aid office. Explain your situation.

If you have an AA did they offer you 2750 (half the 5500/yr amount for freshman) or 3750 (half of 7500/yr for students with 60+ credits) in federal loans for the semester?

Look at tax credits “The amount of the credit is 100 percent of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for each eligible student” from That might help with the overall budget but can be tricky to cash flow.

How soon would you be able to intern/co-op? Could you plan to intern/co-op/work spring 2019, so there wouldn’t be a tuition bill? My D had a lot of DE credits, she did a lot of co-ops which halved our annual tuition bill most tax years. Ask the FA office, your department and housing/dining if that is possible. Make sure if you aren’t on campus Spring 2019 you won’t have to pay room/board/tuition and dates you need to communicate your plans by.

Do you belong to any organizations like a church that would be willing to help you? I know a kid that was short in our community and the church literally passed a hat at service one day and members made phone calls to get the rest. The hs found out and an ‘assistant coach job’ miraculously appeared that just happened to pay the gap amount. Does your hs guidance counselor know you are short? They may have local contacts that can help.

Ask RPI FA if there are any emergency funds available - some schools have them, they aren’t much and have short pay back time frames.

Ask if it is possible to defer for a year so you can earn the money you need to attend (if you think you can save enough to make it work). Ask how that will affect your FA package. If you won a lot of competitive merit aid it’s unlikely they will offer that again. If on the other hand your package is made up of mostly need based aid, you would probably get a similar package. It may not be possible to defer because you were admitted to Architecture and they may want you to re-apply.

Figure out exactly what steps you need to take (defer or withdraw or come up with the cash to attend) and by what dates to cancel your housing and fall enrollment are so you aren’t stuck with a huge bill if you can’t make it work. Keep in mind they are on a different time zone, don’t delay or decide at the last minute and miss a deadline. Save screen shots/communications so you have confirmations of cancelations. Remember housing is usually a separate entity, sometimes dining is too so review the bill and be sure you are following through with every department.

You can’t just not show up. No shows can end up having FA revoked and owing thousands to a school they decided not to attend and are unable to attend elsewhere until the bill is paid. Be sure to follow through with RPI until your balance is zero.

A big part of the college experience is moving away from home, meeting new people and social development by learning to get along with others. You can actually get paid to do those things. Look into working for amusement parks or resorts that have dorms for workers or AmeriCorps programs like City Year.

A gap year can also give you another chance to better plan your college applications. If you got into RPI for Architecture, you’ve probably got what it takes to win big merit at less selective schools and may be able to get your net price down significantly. Enough so that a loan can cover your direct costs and your gap year earnings can give you an emergency fund and pocket money. The best merit aid is for incoming freshman (at most schools your AA doesn’t disqualify you from freshman awards because you earned it in hs, as long as you don’t take college classes after hs).

Talk to the RPI FA office, they want you to attend or they wouldn’t have admitted you. See if they can help you make it work. If they can’t, that’s ok. Lots of kids figure out they can’t afford college and need to take a gap year. You are smart to figure this out. Look ahead and put together a cash flow worksheet and coursework plan (this lets you know how many semesters you’ll need to pay for - my D found this varied a lot by college because of the way her DE credits transferred in and by the sequencing and semester availability of prerequisites for her major classes) that gets you to a degree, not just through one semester.

Good luck.

Has RPI already packaged a loan?
Is this amount direct costs to pay directly to the university or a n amount you must have for books etc?

Were you awarded work study?

If you’re on your mother’s health plan (your right till you’re 26) you wouldn’t have to pay health costs of the coverage is considered sufficient for NYS.

If your mother’s health insurance works then your savings would suffice. For a spring semester you’d have to save your work study money and probably work extra hours.

Do you have relatives, grandparents who may help?

Do BArch students get paid internships? Ask RPI.

I have no advice, except to take a gap year if RPI cannot help you further. Best to you.

I just wanted to say that you aren’t stupid. Putting off college for a year isn’t a big deal in the long run. I have no idea about how my friends “did” college. There are all kinds of paths to take into adulthood. You can still do college -just maybe not this year and maybe not your first pick. Keep asking questions.

Actually not her right, but her mother’s option to include her on the mother’s policy if it is a group policy until the child turns 26. Many people don’t have group insurance or can’t afford the extra premium for children.