Step-parenting and paying for college - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 45 Old 01-02-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StillForest View Post
Ha Ha.... DH proposed to me when I needed major dental work and had no dental insurance (he's a romantic guy ). Maybe we'lll divorce so that DSD can go to college without incurring 50k+ or more in debt.... Marry for health insurance, divorce for tuition and board...Life in the US in 2008...Sigh... Time for Change.

I have nothing constructive to add to this other than us too. Married for health insurance.. if hubby loses his job, we will divorce and both go back to school..each claiming a portion of our children as dependants.


It is seriously time for change. When I finished my degree, I was able to pay for school, living and a touch of play just by waiting tables, bar tending, babysitting and the like. Just 10 years later, the costs of the university are such that you can not make min. wage and pay for tuition... let alone tuition and living AND BOOKS.
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#32 of 45 Old 01-02-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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I agree with the suggestions of doing two years at a CC and then transferring. I wish I had done just that, instead of insisting on going to *insert green and white MI school here* and then changing my major umpteen million times. Getting those prereqs out of the way for a fraction of the price would have saved me so much time and money. Also, I had some friends that went to Dearborn and then transferred after two years; they did fabulously once they got to the real deal. Either way you save time and money.

Also - I had same dilemma with financial aid and stepparent contribution. There is no way to get around it. Loans suck, but they're not the end of the world. Don't overextend yourself. Remember that she can take loans for school but nobody is going to loan you money for your retirement.

DD 2/08
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#33 of 45 Old 01-03-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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Hi,
I wish you much luck!
My 19 yo son graduated last spring,he lives with me and his dsd in KY.His bio dad claimed him on his taxes in Indiana but when he filled out his fin. aid papers they took my dh (his step dad's) income and mine.In which case he didn't qualify for jack squat! It really irritated me because my dh isn't really responsible for putting my kids through college.That is my and his dad's responsibility.If they had just taken my income and/or his dad's it would've been fine but my dh makes too much for him to get any aid,which isn't that much!
It is just so frustrating.

All through high school he said he was going to go to school to be an engineer but he has changed his mind and is going to be an RN.Shocked me to death,he never ever showed interest in that! LOL...
I am glad for him,though.
He'll be ok but it would've been easier if he could get some fin aid!

have a great night.
Jenn

PS....My dh has no problem helping my kids through college,that is no problem at all.
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#34 of 45 Old 01-03-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech...910/18free.htm

Encourage her to apply to the Ivies and other schools with great financial assistance.
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#35 of 45 Old 01-05-2009, 05:22 AM
 
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If your DSD wants to go to a four year university right away, you guys will find a way - with a lot of research and nail biting! Looking at my financial situation at the end of high school, and that of my divorced parents, it would have looked impossible for me to go away to school. It was really important to me, so we made it work - I even did a semester abroad. For some people it is better to go to a four year university, and for some it works better to go to a community college for 2 years first. It sounds totally idealistic, and isn't always practical, but it would be so great for her to choose which path is best for her without having to let finances be the decision maker. I did graduate with a lot of student loans, and while I would love to not have the debt, I wouldn't do it differently if I was doing it again. I am so glad for the experiences I had - it was well worth it! A financial aid counselor should be able to offer a lot of guidance. I had a year that I didn't think I was going to be able to go back to school after the summer because I couldn't afford it. I wrote an appeal to the financial aid office explaining everything, and I got an extra $8,000 in grant money. This was at a small private school, but there was room for explaining individual situations. It is scary at first, but you guys will make it work.
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#36 of 45 Old 01-05-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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Lots of good advice here on financial aid.

Is this really a "step-child" issue, though? If this were your bio child, would this be an issue? You'd just say, No, let's get you some aid or loans. Right?

I have three step-children who are now all over 21. We gave them a monthly stipend to spend either on uni or whatever they needed. They all worked and also had their mom help pay as well. One graduated and is now back in school studing nursing. He got a loan for that.
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#37 of 45 Old 01-07-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
Community college for the first two years and living at home should let her graduate with only a slightly nauseating amount of student loans. As expensive as University has gotten I can't see a good reason not to do Community college for as many credits as possible.
I agree with this. I had scholarships and Pell grants, but I still wish I had done CC for at least a year to cut down on the amount of loans I have.

K + J = DS Evan 1/26/09 and happily welcoming DS Colin, our 9lb 5oz vbac.gif New Year's Day baby, 1/1/11!
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#38 of 45 Old 01-07-2009, 11:44 PM
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Have you tried scholarships.com? They will take her info and spit out a list of scholarships she can apply for. GL
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#39 of 45 Old 01-08-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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Getting financial aid is very difficult because the schools and government want to be absolutely sure that the parents are paying whatever they can (and plenty more than they can pay). My parents were told that they should take out a second mortgage on their home to pay for my college/my brother's college because that was their only (and I mean ONLY!) asset. They did it, although later realized they should have just gotten loans because the interest rates on the student loans would have been lower.

My dh never finished college because his stepfather refused to fill out the financial aid forms and despite promising to pay for his college if he continued to live at home (the deal his mom wanted), backed out and didn't pay. My dh had saved up $10k in high school by working three jobs and he paid for his first year, but couldn't continue thereafter. He was never able to go back; now we have 2 kids and he's a SAHD so who knows when/if he'll ever get a college degree. He loves being a SAHD but would like to have a college degree and something to fall back on were anything to happen to me.

Please help your stepdaughter through this really tricky situation and go with her to see financial aid officers. I think that most likely there's a way for her to go to college, but it might mean some financial contribution from you (perhaps you could make a private loan agreement with her with more generous repayment terms than she would otherwise receive?) and unfortunately it may mean a couple of years at community college. I know there are some great community colleges out there - we have one near us - but for most good students hoping to go to a four-year college, spending two years at a community college and living at home out of financial necessity would be a disappointment, I would think.

I hope she's accepted to a number of colleges and someone offers her a financial aid package that you can all live with. Good luck!
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#40 of 45 Old 01-08-2009, 04:32 PM
 
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Look into colleges that participate in Michigan Campus Compact--they provide some resources for student leaders as well as great professional development opportunities for college students. Often schools, even smaller private schools will have unspecified scholarships available that are based on performance at the school. Even a small amount will help. Also have her check with the student support services office of whatever school she chooses for any other resources they may have.
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#41 of 45 Old 01-08-2009, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for all of the responses, ideas and shared experiences. Very helpful! Sorry that I haven't been able to respond till now...we've been swamped with filling out all of the financial aid applications and helping DSD submit the last of her applications. So many details! DSD, who hopes to major in theatre, has a scholarship competition and/or audition or interview on 6 of the next 8 weekends! I can't believe how incredibly stressful the undergrad application process has become. My mantra continues to be "let's just take this a step at a time." We're starting to collect acceptance letters and scholarship offers.....just keep putting together the pieces and see what seems possible. Thanks and I'll keep you posted...

StillForest
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#42 of 45 Old 01-15-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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Don't stress until you see the packages. It doesn't help to fear the unknown. You and your DH will be able to contribute a reasonable amount and then rest can come for loans, school contribution, work study, etc. If you want to be helpful, be prepared to co-sign the unsecured ones.

Student loans aren't the worst things in the world. My parents didn't pay for college although according to the FA counselor "they could."

It was hard. I was poor. I worked a lot. But I got two great degrees at the school of my choice and I eventually paid them off.

Here's a hint and the only part of the story I hold on to with some bitterness. Don't tell her that you would help out more if she goes to the school of your choice, i.e. the one associated with my mom's religion. >=S
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#43 of 45 Old 01-15-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
Lots of good advice here on financial aid.

Is this really a "step-child" issue, though? If this were your bio child, would this be an issue? You'd just say, No, let's get you some aid or loans. Right?

I have three step-children who are now all over 21. We gave them a monthly stipend to spend either on uni or whatever they needed. They all worked and also had their mom help pay as well. One graduated and is now back in school studing nursing. He got a loan for that.
Happy to see this sentiment expressed. I don't understand why stepparents enter into a marriage knowing that their financial picture will affect the colleges that their partner's biological kids can go to, and then don't help. "Send them to a community college" is the wrong answer, IMO. And one that my sister encountered from my father/stepmother after both her older siblings went to excellent schools. Luckily my mom and stepdad were able to do more than their share to help out.

Dad to DD 9/2008
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#44 of 45 Old 01-15-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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Happy to see this sentiment expressed. I don't understand why stepparents enter into a marriage knowing that their financial picture will affect the colleges that their partner's biological kids can go to, and then don't help. "Send them to a community college" is the wrong answer, IMO. And one that my sister encountered from my father/stepmother after both her older siblings went to excellent schools. Luckily my mom and stepdad were able to do more than their share to help out.
I agree with your sentiment, with one caveat--for some families, "send them to a community college" IS a good answer. It is a very sane way to reduce costs, especially if the student isn't quite ready for a residential college or big university. (My sister took a year at an out-of-state school, spiraled into depression (compounded with anxiety about homesickness), took a year off, lived with our parents, and went to community college. She eventually got her teaching degree, and now has a masters and teaches elementary school. She fully admits she should have taken two years at community college and then transferred.)

The difference, though, is that the same options should be given to all children in a given family, dependent on their abilities and development rather than on the step-, bio-, or other prefix appended to the relationship.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#45 of 45 Old 01-15-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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The difference, though, is that the same options should be given to all children in a given family, dependent on their abilities and development rather than on the step-, bio-, or other prefix appended to the relationship.
Totally agree. This is a better way of expressing what I was thinking.

Dad to DD 9/2008
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