Loans, financial aid, scholarships - I need help

My D wants to go OOS. I filled out a FAFSA, the financial aid office is going to laugh when they see it. Our situation has changed because of Covid, but don’t cry for me, but I am scared to use non 529 money that was set aside for college, because we are in the hospitality business and who knows what the future holds.

I gave enough in her 529 for this year, so what type of loans are available? If the economy should rebound in 4 years I will be able to pay them off.

What type of private scholarships should she start looking for? (For next year), should she become independent so she can get financial aid on her own, as she doesn’t work (not sure if she has to be one emancipated, lol) help!!!

Public universities out of state are not going to give your daughter any financial aid. It seems clear that you can’t afford an OOS public uni without financial assistance, after her first year. OOS tuition at some public uni’s can be $60,000 plus per year. Private colleges, especially elite ones, cost about $75,000 a year.

Think hard about this plan. What if the economy doesn’t rebound? Outside scholarships are incredibly competitive and a LOT of work. The maximum loan she can get, even if independent, is about $7000 a year by the time she’s a senior. And if you or she takes out a private loan, how many years of her life do you want her to spend paying back $300,000 of debt?

There’s a long running thread pinned in the Parents Forum about Parent Plus loans. It might have some good info. I think you need to have an honest conversation with your D about money. There are much more affordable ways to send your child to college.


Where is the thread?

Parents Forum. Pinned post.

I just posted a question about a SallieMae loan, is there a post about private loans?

What type of private scholarships should she start looking for?

Are you talking about huge private scholarships…for college starting in 2021? It’s way too late to apply for those.

(For next year), should she become independent so she can get financial aid on her own,

She can’t just become independent so she can get financial aid on her own. There are very specific reasons that a student can be declared independent, and parents not able to pay for a college isn’t one of them

as she doesn’t work (not sure if she has to be one emancipated, lol) help!!!

** You need to look up what being an emancipated minor entails. First of all, the process is a legal and lengthy one, and again, there need to be sufficient reasons for asking for emancipation. Parents not paying for college isn’t one of them.**

What IS your annual budget for college costs for your daughter?

Did she apply to any colleges that are within your price point? If not, why not.

Did she apply to any colleges where she has guaranteed or very strong merit aid potential? The best aid comes from colleges where your kid gets accepted.

What are her GPA and SAT or ACT scores (if she was able to take the standardized tests)?

If no schools are affordable this year, would she take a gap year and re-apply to affordable options?

Have you looked at your instate public options and are they affordable?

I hate to say this, but going OOS might not be possible if she didn’t apply to affordable OOS options.

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Here is the parent plus loan thread.

I’m going to be very frank. OOS colleges can be very costly. If you are planning to fund undergraduate school with loans, that can be a very slippery slope. You don’t know what the future will bring as you even said.

Some states have regional /reciprocity tuition programs.
Otherwise might be wise to defer and take gap year. So much is online,& parents complain about OOS tuition for online and even asynchronous classes.

The answers to the above questions will be helpful. She will not become an independent student until she is 24. The list of reasons that allow her to become independent prior to age 24 are likely untenable.

Meanwhile, you can ask the financial aid office for professional judgment, if your income in 2020 is significantly less than 2019. The school may or may not increase their FA. But, we still don’t know if this school is affordable looking over the entire 4 years.

Some parents take out parent plus loans, info here: Federal Student Aid The repayment of that debt is on you, not the student. Your D can take out $27K in loans over 4 years of undergrad ($5,500 the first year, then $6.5K/$7.5K/$7.5K)


My kids can only go OOS if they get top merit scholarships which bring the cost down to in state (our state has pretty high in state tuition). My current high school seniors have different stats, S has a 30 ACT, 3.8 WGPA, will be staying in state.D has 4.2 WGPA, 33 GPA, she can go OOS at universities who give her enough merit (so far some have, one has not). Since we have five kids, we were not able to save enough to cover all college costs, so we co-sign for private loans in addition to the federal loans (we don’t qualify for additional FA), and when they graduate, those loans get put in their names only (two down, three to go). My two oldest stayed in state, their education cost over $120,000 each, they ended up borrowing about $60,000 each, and have jobs that allow them to pay about $1000 a month (they could pay more but want to make sure they have a solid emergency fund and contribute to their 401k’s).

She got merit at a number of schools. 5.1 WGPA/31 ACT and yes can go in state for free, but worked hard and I want to give her options. (My choice) like I said don’t cry for me, I just don’t know. My S goes in state with FPP and Bright Futures, so this is all new.

I am not really worried about taking a fixed interest loan, just wanted to see what current rates are, is a parent plus better than Sallie Mae? Is it worth the time to apply for private scholarships, just want information.

@Mwfan1921 thank you, helpful

@Mjkacmom thank you, helpful

You would have to see what rate you could get from Sallie Mae, and compare that (and terms) to the current 5.3% parent plus loan rate. If you don’t qualify for a parent plus loan your D can get an additional $4K in direct student loans for that school year.

For private scholarships you have to go to each school’s website and find out how they treat those. Some schools will stack scholarships, most won’t. For the ones that don’t stack they may require any scholarship checks be paid directly to them, and then some will decrease the level of merit accordingly. Again, look on the websites and if the answers you need aren’t there, call and ask. It is probably too late to apply to many private scholarships, especially the more desirable ones (which are highly competitive).

Posters will be able to offer better advice if you tell us the gap you are trying to fill.

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Bright Futures is a fabulous option, and should make all of the FL colleges affordable, right?

Did she apply to colleges that are within your price point?

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with the FL public universities. Lots of families are needing to make college decisions based on new family finances. Considering the whole family finance situation is important. Things this year are not the same, and students need to be on board with helping families navigate this financially. My opinion.


I understand what you are saying, but if NJ had a similar program my kids would’ve taken advantage. My college sophomore was 8th in her class of over 300, 34 ACT, 4.2 WGPA (highest is 4.4), 9 AP classes ((AP scholar with distinction), tons of EC’s, 2 sport varsity captain, and had to chase merit vs. going to a top 20. Even at the University of Delaware she is paying close to $35,000 a year. If she had a 31 ACT she’d be paying over $40,000 a year. I’m so jealous of Florida residents, would’ve saved my family about $700,000.

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Another vote for staying in state and debt free.

Have your student focus on getting internships out of state, studying abroad (it’s going to be safe at some point again), or maybe moving OOS for grad school.


If you are in the hospitality business, then you need to be very cautious with finances. The pandemic could take quite a while to end (based on current vaccination rates), and the economy is still quite shaky.

Taking on debt for a bachelor’s degree is risky, and will constrain a student’s options going forward. Going out of state is hardly ever worth taking on debt. A very large number of students in the US are restricted to in-state public universities because that is what they can afford.

My older daughter and I had a disagreement before she went off to university regarding whether she could take on debt. I would not allow it at all. After she graduated from university she was offered a dream job (which was out of state), but the pay was low. She was able to take the job specifically because she had no debt at all. She loved it (and thanked me for not allowing her to take on debt). This has led to other great options, which has led to her recently being accepted to great graduate programs (specifically she was accepted to multiple DVM programs, and will start at one of them in September). Graduating with no debt was a major part of the start of this strong path.

Your daughter can go out of state after she gets her bachelor’s degree. Optionally, if she wants to and depending upon major she could probably also take a semester abroad while she is an undergraduate student.


Thank you everyone! Love to have other parents to vent to, bounce ideas off of, the info is helpful. None of us want to let down our kids, but I have to look out for myself too.

She is being so difficult. She said she hopes she doesn’t get into UF. Part of me wants to say fine go to community college, ugh! I know UF is an amazing school and yes we are so lucky to have the BF program. My older son gets $2500 back each semester. He may not have the “book smarts” but IMO his common sense is going to take him further!


She’s going to get a better education at UF for free than an OOS college that costs a lot more, even with merit (most colleges are test optional, not test blind), I know my daughter’s best deal right now OOS still comes in at $33,000 a year. Fortunately our retirement is on track, and we aren’t risking that. Offer a study abroad semester.