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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have all the college decisions in. DS did not get into the three "highly-competitive" schools he applied to (read: large endowment schools). I guess it's true that one big reason he applied to those was a chance at really good financial aid. But he also hoped to be in a competitive learning environment.

Of the three "medium-competitive" schools he got into, he already decided against one (and their financial aid was ridiculous), and the other two are both a bit of a reach financially. I don't care how "good" the package looks to anyone else; I don't think I can afford a monthly payment, I certainly can't afford more than the deposit up front, and I can't get loans in my own name or cosign his (thankyou, divorce-foreclosure-bankruptcy trifecta).

I am going to appeal both financial aid packages (my income dropped by 10% in Feb, as you might recall) and see what happens. He's also waiting to hear about some scholarships (he'll know before the May 1 response deadline) AND there is always the question of whether his dad will help and how much, but I think there was more of a chance of him getting into the competitive schools than getting help from his dad to pay for anything.

Maybe the good news is that these two schools didn't ask for his dad's financial info, so they are calculating financial aid just on my income (whew). I am sure there are some other hidden silver linings we can't perceive.

I just imagine some of you can relate, or will in the future, because so many of us are struggling financially.

Tonight I wish I had a partner who I could curl up with for a little oxytocin boost and who would remind me how amazing my boy is and tell me what a good job I did helping him through the application process all by myself. Sometimes it would just be nice to have help giving myself that sort of support.

DS isn't crushed. He says he expected it. He'll do well wherever he goes, and I need to focus on how awesome it is that he got this far after being unschooled his whole life.

Still, I was hoping for miracles. Wish me luck with the financial aid appeals.

And congratulations to my kid, who got into two great schools with financial aid that we can probably make work with some creativity and prayer.
 

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CONGRATS!!!

Is he transferring in with credits? Will be he anything other than a freshman? Ive been told that makes a difference(both good and bad) Easier to get in, harder to get funding sometimes. Are the school close enough you can go to campus and talk to someone in FA?
 

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I am dreading college!! I have one applying for university's in England, and one looking at places in Germany. WTF? At least in Germany they are free....
 

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Congrats! That's still pretty awesome news! I hate the idea of student loans...don't get me started grr!! Hope that things will work out well with the financial aid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He's deciding between a small, innovative rural school and a big state school. Very different!

He applied as a freshman, not a transfer, because we were told financial aid is substantially better for freshmen.

There is no way we can do this without loans. He'll have to take $9500/year in loans to make this work.

He has 48 community college credits that the big state school will probably take. Not sure about the small school. I need to ask!

Right now, comparing 3 years at the big school (he'll get at least a year's worth of credits transferred) and 4 years at the little school, cost of diploma is comparable, but yearly cost difference is significant (the big school would cost us $4000/year vs. $1000/year.)

I haven't factored in his summer earnings, though, and it's possible he may get scholarships, but we don't know.

I need to appeal the financial aid because my federal EFC should decrease if they accept my new income level instead of what's on the FAFSA. The big school doesn't necessarily meet need, though.

I wish $3000/year didn't feel like such a hardship, but it does.

Go, Bernie! (LOL.)
 

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I'm still fully in denial about college. XH has told DS1 not to worry but afaik he has no real college fund set aside for either kid. My biggest concern right now is just that he'll choose something within a day's drive and not 3000 miles away like his first choice. We have a lot of state schools that would work for him.
 

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I would ask for a transfer assessment for the two schools unless they are both in-state and already hold an agreement with the CC he went to. IMO if he has that many credits he should use that as criteria in judging which school he wants.

I finished high school early with about a year college credits in hand. One school I would have transferred as a freshman, one as a sophomore, and one I found a loophole to come in as a junior. So even if there is a small difference it can be substantial when compared if one transfers only part of the classes. Even if they transfer all of them, general education can vary so much between schools he might be much farther along with one than another. One school I visited would transfer everything but very little of it would go against their general education requirements so it would have added an extra year of school for me. Then I noticed they took an agreement meant for my state's public schools that I completed which transferred me in as a junior instead of a freshman.
 

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if nothing else this thread caused me to finish the fafsa for 2015-2016 (summer session classes ) and get the 2016-2017 done as well. thats how i spent my friday night. Thanks worthy! fingers crossed it all gets to the cashiers office in time and i don't have to pay for kiddo classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, @zoeyzoo! I asked and it turns out both schools will accept credits. The larger school had some kind of glitch, so it's good I called - they were supposed to automatically evaluate them and send an assessment, but the transfer office hadn't gotten his transcript info. The smaller school was happy to do an evaluation and they'll take 45 of his credits. I expect the same of the larger school. So we can compare both at 3 years, and he might even be able to get done in 2.5 years, though I don't think he would choose that -- he wants to be able to take a few fun courses, not just degree courses.

I have the info for financial aid appeals and will get that ball rolling this weekend. So much to consider.
@hillymum, Germany would be a great place to go to school!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Figures. He has already hinted that he would prefer the larger school, and if it weren't for the cost difference, it would feel like a no-brainer to me. The big school will cost more, but it's not outrageous. But the difference is more than I thought -- it's $8000 vs. $2700 out of pocket, though I think the first $4000 of that can be covered by an additional loan that I believe he will qualify for. So we would have to come up with $4000 cash for the big school. He can cover some from his earnings. The rest...well....

(That $4000 includes $3000 for travel and books, I just realized, so only $1000 of it is an actual bill that has to be paid, which is reassuring to me!)

It's complicated, because of course we have to involve XH, right? You have to ask the dad, right? Because it IS his job. And if nobody asks him, he gets off easy because he can claim he didn't help because nobody wanted him to. I would not want to give him that out. He owes it to his kids to help them out with college more than his parents helped him.

He's an ACOA who is hair-trigger defensive and "you-can't-make-me." He always chooses the path of least responsibility, and he pushes back in a childish way if he gets triggered. I'm afraid if I open up a conversation about college costs, he'll decide to petition the court to lower the total CS when DS turns 18 (mid-summer). I need everything he sends, even for the three youngers. I wonder sometimes how I make the miracles I do make with what we have.

I think I've decided to have DS talk with his dad directly about college costs. Better that it comes from DS and not me. Then if he's going to say no, he will have to give that rejection his son, not me (I think he enjoys rejecting me). Does that sound fair to my 17yo? What do you think?
 

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Worthy- you know how I feel. Yes its fair to have the kid talk to the dad, yes its fair to have the kid find a way to pay some of the bills for college. Yes it's more than fair to lay out all the numbers with your oldest and ask him 'ok, how exactly is this going to work'?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Worthy- you know how I feel. Yes its fair to have the kid talk to the dad, yes its fair to have the kid find a way to pay some of the bills for college. Yes it's more than fair to lay out all the numbers with your oldest and ask him 'ok, how exactly is this going to work'?
Oh, I agree! It's just the talking to dad part that sort of turns my stomach. It probably sounds like I'm doing this all for DS, but that's not the reality of it. He just doesn't happen to be here this week, and my gears are always whirring. I think I've posted before how significantly he's contributed to his course costs in the past.

And his dad has done nothing, except submit required financial forms after I nagged him. I have no doubt that DS will step up. I don't know about his dad, but I feel like it's almost imperative to hold him accountable, yk? I'm just shy about that because I know how emotionally immature he is.

So what I'd like is suggestions on how to navigate this with XH (or how to help DS succeed at that).
 

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How about something like 'hey dad awesome news i got into colleges x and y' i really want to go to college x because....... but these are the hurdles ... transportation, books, and tuition' college x offers me financial aid of $xxxx.xx a year vs full tutition of $xxxxx.xx a year. Do i have a college fund or anything? I really want to go to X, I can probably finish in three years because of transfer credits and starting early (explain early enrollment if he doesnt know about it). Right now I need a deposit so they can hold my spot, can you help me with that.
 

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I like that approach, Zeb. Now we need a strategy for if his dad says "Ask your mom" or some such obvious deflection. Worthy, what if you said you would match whatever his dad contributes and DS had to make up the difference? Would that instill some competition in your Xh? It would make it more like a fund-raising a challenge for DS to shake his dad down for as he can, even if it's only $50, that's better than zero which is what he might walk away with if he just straight up asks his dad to help.
 

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I am assuming the goal is to start school after graduating high school without taking a year off. But if not and he wants to just get some work experience first, then maybe there is a chance of him getting more aide down the road as a mature student (or just saving up to reduce the amount of loan needed). I got more loan with my last 2 degrees than I would have with my first undergrad when my parents income would have been a factor.

Congrats on the school acceptances!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, AG. No, delaying college would not be good for him.

He's home; we talked last night. He'll talk with his dad this weekend. We'll see how it goes. He estimated how much he can earn between now and starting school. We identified a target amount for him to ask his dad for, and an amount that I will tentatively commit to. We've done more research on the loans.

It's daunting. I had hoped he would be able to go to school without loans, but the difference in the two schools is pretty striking now that we are working through the decision. The more expensive school is definitely the best place for him to be, and the cheaper one (while a great school for many) is not a great fit for him.

So now I let go, let him have this conversation with his dad, see what comes of that. I tend to view his dad's potential pretty negatively as a habit, and maybe I'm wrong about him. I would hope that someone with his history (= not having family support for college, and ending up dropping out for lack of funds) would be eager to help his son succeed.

Out of my hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
He's heading off to his dad's this weekend.

He's going to ask his dad if/how much he can contribute to the college bill, and ask him for a firm commitment.

He's going to ask his dad if he would pay half of the registration fee, which is $495 and due May 1.

He has the basic numbers (total cost, amount of scholarship/grant/work study financial aid, amount of loans, remainder that he needs to come up with to be able to go)

He has the dates those bills are due (registration fee, fall semester, spring semester)

I've been worrying about this conversation for years. It will be great to get past it.
 

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Good for kiddo and then this weekend should give you some idea of what to expect in way of possible child support changes and also what to expect for university help for the youngers. Amazing on how so much can hinge on one little conversation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Update: DS did a good job. XH agreed to pay half of the acceptance fee (so that's $250 I don't have to pay) and told DS that he'd know better whether and how much he could contribute (to tuition and room/board) after he does his taxes.

DS has a plan to follow up with XH after tax day. We talked about how important it is to be persistent and not accept a vague answer (because that is XH's habit, to avoid saying "no" by being vague). It might take a couple of follow-ups. He will plan to revisit this with his dad every spring, taking it year by year.

We also had a good conversation about the summer and his responsibilities. He has work lined up where he knows he can earn $1500 this summer, but he needs to earn more than that, so he's shifting his thinking from "I'm a kid and I can play all summer" to "I am an adult and I need to work all summer." It was interesting to see the gears turning in his head. He didn't push back; he responded maturely when I laid this out for him. I think I did a good job of illustrating how it can be a positive thing to take this responsibility; it can feel good, he can gain skills and develop relationships, and he could end up with extra money if he works enough, which he would like.

It sounds like he handled the conversation with his dad really well. A friend of mine pointed out that it's XH's failing that DS had to initiate the conversation at all. She's right -- if you know your kid has applied to colleges, it's your job as the parent to ask them about their application process, the admissions decisions, and financial aid. It's your job to offer support during the process and help with paying for college.

Another interesting thing -- I asked DS if it was a hard conversation to have. He said it was -- very hard -- especially because he had to ask his dad for money.

I had to practically bite through my tongue to keep from asking him how that was different from talking with me about this stuff.

I think I know. I think it's different because he didn't have to ask me; I have been helping all along and have always said I would help him out. His dad hasn't been involved at all, other than to take DS two visit two schools (in one day, near his home). DS didn't apply to either of those schools.

Anyway...onward. It is a relief that XH promised to pay half the fee. I hope it comes sooner than the very last minute.

I will be so glad for DS when he is grown up and doesn't have to compel his dad to parent anymore. :serious:
 
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