Will I have to drop out of school?

<p>I am a rising junior at Barnard and there is a problem with my financial aid.</p>

<p>I came in as a second semester sophomore transfer, and I did not have any financial aid for that semester. I applied for financial aid for the 2010-2011 year, and Barnard told me I never applied because I did not turn in one form (but I turned in FAFSA and everything else) and it's too late for me to get institutional aid for the next academic year.</p>

<p>I am terrified, I have no idea how this happened and I don't know what to do. My family's EFC is less than $3000, so I can't pay much out of my pocket. </p>

<p>Should I take the year off? Should I transfer? I really don't want to do this' the thought of doing this makes me sick, but I do not know what else I can do.</p>

<p>Any suggestions will be extremely appreciated.</p>

<p>According to Barnard's website "For transfer students, Barnard has limited funding available". In addition it says that eligibility for federal funding is by completion of the FAFSA BUT that institutional funding is awarded based on the completion of the Barnard Need Analysis Form. </p>

<p>The federal funding, even the maximum, would be a drop in the bucket when you look at Barnard's total Cost of Attendance. The award that is important is the INSTITUTIONAL FUNDING (Barnard's money) which the school awards based on completion of whatever the school tells you to complete. It is NOT awarded based on the FAFSA only.</p>

<p>You have two issues...one...the limited availability of funds for transfer students, and two the fact that you didn't apparently complete Barnard's form.</p>

<p>You need to contact the financial aid department at Barnard. They will be able to tell you whether or not funding remains available for students. You likely have missed all the deadlines for applying but perhaps someone there can help you.</p>

<p>It might sound strange to a 20-something student, but a gap year because of financial problems is not the end of the world. You have 50 - 100 years ahead of you! If you think you can get halfway decent aid from Barnard the following year AND you love that college, then do that.</p>

<p>If you aren't in love, aren't going to get enough aid no matter what, then on to the next plan and transfer.</p>

<p>Before you take a gap year, ask Barnard what their financial aid policy will be for you. Their site already says "limited funds for transfer students". Make sure that you will be eligible for the aid you need to attend Barnard.</p>

<p>Thank you so much for your responses. I am in a state of panic at the moment after speaking to the financial aid office. They said I can only do loans at this point for the entire year, which is not an attractive option.</p>

<p>Is transferring an option at this point? To be honest, I never felt as though I belonged here, but I was under the impression that, because I have already transferred, that colleges would look at me as a weaker candidate for transfer admission.</p>

<p>What could I do if I took a year off? How will that help?</p>

<p>Read what Thumper stated in Post #4. Check if you can get ANY institutional funding. Federal funding will not be enough to help you.</p>

<p>Definitely take thumper's advice about contacting FA.</p>

<p>There are probably some SUNY's or the CUNY's you could still apply to (that's of course if you are actually an in-State NY'er. You might find that more affordable.</p>

<p>I sent you a PM.</p>

<p>In addition to the info in the PM, if your family's FAFSA EFC is $3000 that means you are eligible for a Pell grant in addition to loans -- you are entitled to that money in any case. </p>

<p>I agree with Erin's Dad -- that still won't be enough to fund you at Barnard --but I just wanted to point out that is available. </p>

<p>Where are you living? Are you in NY? Another option might be to attend a CUNY or a local community college for a semester, use that time to pick up any courses you might need to fill in remaining distribution requirements, and see if you can get financial aid to resume studies at Barnard in the spring. But it would be very important for you to work with your advisor or class Dean to make sure that course credit would be transferable, and that you would still end up with enough Barnard-issued credit for a degree.</p>

<p>Thank you so much, everyone.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, I am from PA. I contemplated going back to community college to take a few courses, but I realized that I've used up all of my transfer/summer points already. </p>

<p>I am on campus, so I will definitely set up an appointment so that I can talk with the financial aid office about my situation.</p>

<p>How about the PLUS loans? I had that last semester (because Barnard does not give aid for spring transfers); is that a good idea for the next academic year?</p>

<p>PLUS loans are not a good idea if you can avoid them because the interest is higher and it accrues right away, even if payments are deferred. I think when you meet with financial aid you really need to talk with them not jut about the current year, but about expectations for your final two years. </p>

<p>I have very mixed feelings. Educationally, Barnard was an amazing place for my daughter and she is reaping the benefits of that right away, with her first job out of college. But my d. is also confronting the reality of her debt - and she only is carrying Stafford loans, so she will only have a monthly loan payment of about $200/month. But she is a liberal arts major, and she was hit with the hard reality that taxes take a huge bite out of the paycheck, and NY is an expensive place to live -- so she is going to be having a tough time of things financially for awhile. </p>

<p>I honestly don't see how you can manage a school like Barnard unless they are able to provide you with the same level of financial aid that they are giving the students who entered as freshman (100% need, at least in theory). I could see maybe borrowing a couple of thousand more each year to fill a gap.... but the whole cost? That I don't see.</p>

<p>PLUS loans are always an option, but your parents need to agree and you should definitely speak withe FA officer about how much they plan on helping you fund the rest of your education.</p>

<p>I intend to talk to financial aid more tomorrow, but I was told, given the application was in on time and complete, I would receive 100% of my demonstrated need for 2011-2012. They encouraged me to look at a PLUS loan for the upcoming academic year..but after hearing about the interest rate and such, I am worried and wondering if there is a better option I should look at--in case they are unable or unwilling to do anything for 2010-2011.</p>

<p>How did you pay for last semester's costs if your family's EFC is so low? With an EFC that low, your parents can't likely afford to take out any Plus loans...and certainly not enough to fund the majority of 2 years at Barnard.</p>

<p>You may have to take a gap year.</p>

<p>My dad took a PLUS loan for that semester because financial aid told us it was the best option. I'm not sure how it happened, I wish I knew more :/</p>

<p>I would seriously consider taking a leave of absence for this year, working and paying down the loans you already have, and apply for aid within next year's deadline. The FA folks are telling you that loans are the best option if you want to attend without aid...they're definitely not the best option in the long run!</p>

<p>Is your dad going to pay back that Plus loan or are you?</p>

<p>For last semester, dad took the PLUS loan. I took a Stafford.</p>

<p>The director of financial aid just send me this email:</p>

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<p>Hopefully this means something good can happen.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Taking a year off and working is not a good option, either. Here's why:</p>

<p>If rstrl is under age 23, she will be treated as a dependent for financial aid purposes. Let's say hypothetically she earns $20,000 during the year -- that will push up her EFC for the following year, because her EFC will be calculated based on her income in addition to parent income. Right now, the FAFSA formula would subtract out a $4500 income protection allowance and then treat the remaining 50% as available for EFC. So if she took a year off, earned $20K, it would push her EFC up by $7,750 for the following year. If she manages to save any part of those earnings -- the situation gets worse, because then her "assets" are also counted.</p>