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When people say they live off 'student financial aid'... - Page 2

post #21 of 29
Heartmama, have you looked into scholarships? During my undergrad years I didn't take any loans but I got scholarships that covered tuition and had my pell and some other grants for living expenses and books...
post #22 of 29
We "lived off aid" for a couple years when both DH and I were in grad school at the same time. Basically, I took my max Stafford loan, which covered books, tuition, and a few cost of living things (like food). DH took his max federal loans AND private loans. Those covered his tuition, books, and our rent. I worked part time to pay for the TV, phone, gas, and cars. We did not live very well, and ate quite a bit of pasta, rice, and beans, but we did live. I can't imagine doing it with children, as there is no way the amount we had would have covered childcare. That being said, we ended that journey well over $100,000 in debt, so looking back I wish I had gone to school a little less, worked a little more, and not taken so many loans. Paying these things off has been a serious pain that is not likely to end for at least another 10 years. (And we've been paying for over 8 years now!)
post #23 of 29
We're doing exactly that right now....
I went back to school last fall with an EFC of 0.
I got the max Pell grant and took maximum Stafford Loans. DH was on UI, so between both sources, we got by.

He is returning to school this fall, but since his classes are totally online, Unemployment says that he would still be eligible to collect since he is 'ready and able to work' so we'll still get that. We both get the Pell of 2775 per semester, plus Scholarships. We're planning to take out Staffords as well.
post #24 of 29
I live off my financial aid as well. I have an EFC of 0, but I'm also a single parent with two children. There is a distinct advantage to single parenting and not getting child support - I get a LOT of help with school. I have the Pell Grant, SEOG grant, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, a scholarship for $4500, and a total of $15,000 in grants that come directly from my university. I also qualify for $2000 a year in work study funds, but I only get that if I can find a work study job, which has yet to happen.

My financial aid package at my expensive private university is WAY better than what the local community college was offering. My university is endowed so there is a huge pool of money available to students. And since I am a non-traditional student (over the age of 24, or with children, or both) I qualify for a lot of aid that the regular out-of-high school students don't.

I know that a lot of people don't want to get loans and I can understand not wanting to saddle yourself with a bunch of debt. But look at it as an investment in your future. You take out a student loan now, and finish school quickly, and then you'll be making good money and you can pay it back.
post #25 of 29
Blackorchid, have you set up a meeting with the financial aid office? In your situation, I wouldn't rely on forms to have anyone figure out your aid eligibility. If the school has aid available, try to set up an in person meeting to go over everything. Good luck!
post #26 of 29
I'm happy to learn that University students qualify for more grants. I have been in a community college and have just the pell. (Which of course I'm very thankful for)
post #27 of 29
Both my husband and I are students at a community college. Next year we will both be at a university. We live on financial aid grants and loans. We have an EFC of 0 so we get the maximum of all aid offered. Neither of us work, we just go to school. I do online classes nealy 100% of the time and so does my husband when he can. We do this so we don't have to pay childcare. Our financial aid pays for everything we need. We do not have a car, so no car payments or insurance (we take the bus everywhere). Our rent is $575 a month. We pay water/power/garbage/internet and that is about $130-150 a month. Food is about $300-500 a month. Then we have normal household items we need, school books, etc.
post #28 of 29
Wow, I guess he needs to stop working and I need to join him at school.

We qualified for a whopping $1800 in state grant and it looks like the $12K its going to cost over that will have to be in loans. Sucks. And the college doesn't feel we qualify for any need-based stuff either.

It sucks to be in the big donut hole of not being able to afford education, but having too much to be considered "needy". Honestly, I'm feeling pretty bitter after reading a lot of these replies. Here we are, working 70+ hours a week, falling behind and trying to plan to have a better future and there is no meaningful help for us.
post #29 of 29
bump, thinking of how to make this happen while I work on pre-req's.
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