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I was recently accepted into my dream school (one of the country's most prestigious universities) and am so excited . . . but now I'm starting to freak out about paying for it.<br>
I currently make 23.50/hour and carry the benefits (I can keep them while on LOA from my soul sucking emotionally draining job by paying the premiums out of pocket). If you can imagine, I am the primary breadwinner.<br>
Hubby makes 8/hour + tips (which can be a lot of weekends) so his income varies. He works part time.<br>
We have two kids.<br>
Partially because there seems to be HUGE issues even processing a financial aid offer for me and partially because I can't imagine not working (although I have been dreaming of this day for several years now) I'm starting to freak out about money. I honestly feel like I have no business going to college right now, being that I have two kids and responsibilities, et cetera. Hub is already looking for other jobs (and can pick up additional shifts in the mean time), but that isn't looking too promising.<br><br>
The main issue here is that I don't want to come out of college taking home the same amount I earn now due to loan repayment. I know this may sound shallow, but after I graduate I want to just get on with my life, get a job I love and actually spend some time with my family (because of school and opposite work schedules we have spent barely any time together the last two years). I don't want to live in this tiny apartment forever. I make more than most college grads do in their first year already, so that's why I'm so nervous about loans.<br><br>
Talk to me about paying for your college while having kids. I feel like I've worked too hard for all of this to turn back now, but I'm also terrified. I've been working, studying, and taking care of children nonstop now for two years . . . and fwiw we already live very frugally.<br><br>
Thanks for any advice in advance . . . or for just listening to me rant; it feels good to get some of it off my chest.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You know, I was in your very same shoes about a decade ago, only I was single, childless and making about 60K/yr with full benefits for a major pharma company. I was still young (early 30's) and I really wanted to go back to college to get a masters for the field I was already working in (computer science). I even *did* go back to school (and met my dh who was my professor my very first semester). I decided then that having a masters was not going to greatly increase my earning potential unless I wanted to get into management (and I didn't). The people with an M.S. were not making much more than I was. I would be 50K in the hole (I would have paid for it as I went along, not using loans) and it would take me 10 years to make that back up before that degree even started earning me more than it cost me. Although I wanted the knowledge... the cost benefit just wasn't there.<br><br>
It all turned out for the best because dh and I fell in love... we had our first date the day he submitted grades that semester <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> and within 4 years were married with a baby. I decided to be a SAHM, so looking back it would have been a HORRIBLE waste of money.<br><br>
This is just me, but I would not want to take out loans. I would spend some serious time finding grants and scholarships. I'm assuming you're going for your undergrad degree, or is it grad school? There are grants specifically for working moms to go back to school. For undergrad, back in the 80's, I worked 30hrs./wk, got some scholarships and took a very full load to get out in 3.5 years without loans. There is NO way I could have managed a family as well. NO way!<br><br>
I think it sounds like you're between a rock and a hard place. I wouldn't want to work in your situation, but I also wouldn't want to have any loans when I got out. No great advice, but I would very carefully evaluate your situation and your future to see if it's worth the expense.<br><br>
Good luck! This was a hard decision for me when I was single... I can't imagine how hard it must be with a family to consider. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Whereas DH and I have/are both returning to school....<br><br>
I finished a 4yr degree, got married, got pregnant, had a crappy minimum wage job that after paying for childcare barely made it woth my time/stress. We up-rooted, I finished a year of teacher's college (with modest debt at the end of it), and I'm much happier. I can work half-time and make more than I was busting my butt FT for peanuts.<br><br>
DH is going back to school in the fall. He dislikes his field and wants benefits, vacation pay, respect, and just choices.<br><br>
I think it all comes down to a cost/bennefit decision.<br><br>
Does the cost of the education (financially, emotionally, time, debt etc.) exceed the bennefit (income, job-enjoyment, personal growth)?? It's different for each scenario. Can you choose a more modestly-priced education at another institution? Is your field REALLY what you want to do? Are there any other options that can lead you to the same path (PT studies, shorter program, creative 3rd option that can make you happy and still bring in income?)<br><br>
That's a toughy! Good luck though! If you're not happy where you are, soemthing has to change, it's just a matter of deciding what that something is.
 

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I know you said it was your dream school, but from a practical standpoint it's important to ensure the cost of the school makes sense. Not sure what you are going for, but if your degree is going to result in a $100k job, but it costs you $30k a year in tuition, well, that doesn't make a lot of sense, IMO. Especially when for most degrees, you can usually find a regular old state school that will give you the same degree for $5k or so a year.<br><br>
Don't forget to fill out your FASFA for federal aid. States also use it to determine whether or not you are eligable for any state aid as well. You can accept or decline any financial aid award that you are given, so if they try to tack on loans you don't have to take them.<br><br>
Scholarships, scholarships, scholarships. Check out your school's scholarships, check out fastweb.com, all over. There are scholarships (and grants) for EVERYTHING. There are scholarships for certain races, nationalities, genders. There are scholarships based on your major, your age, military service (if you or your DH or either of your parents have military history at all, find out about it, that can be a MAJOR help). A lot of scholarships are like contests-you have to write an essay or do a project. You will have to determine how much work is worth it for a particular scholarship, but I have seen news stories every May through August on the news about people who have got $100k or more in just scholarships. DH is spending his summer (thank goodness his summer class is online only) filling out all the scholarships he can, because we aren't using loans this year. And my 14 year old dd is already starting to look around and scholarships, even though college is 4 years away, because we aren't paying for her school.
 

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I'm paying for grad school while raising two children and supporting my husband who stays home with them. He still has to finish school. My degrees are from an ivy league undergrad and top 5 law school. Since my mom paid for college, I definitely looked at law school from a cost benefit analysis. If I didn't get into a top school that was a feeder for the top (paying) law firms, I wasn't going. I was able to repay at full capacity for 6 years, though, before consolidating. My loans now constitute a small part of my bills, with roughly $25K left of the original $80K+.<br><br>
A friend of mine with 2 kids 6 mos older than mine just went back to finish her PhD. But, she is a firm believer in not paying for school. And between scholarships and internships, she's not. This degree will substantially increase her earning potential.<br><br>
Will you still need an advanced degree when you finish to land your dream job? If so, is it the type of degree for which employers normally offer tuition reimbursement?
 

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For undergrad, I had scholarships that mostly paid for school. I think I ended up with about $3000 in debt when I graduated. I worked 20-30 hours a week during school (this was before a family) for my living expenses, and it was very do-able.<br><br>
For grad school, I totally overestimated my salary at the end, plus I underestimated what my current earning capacity was. I was working in a (I now know) underpaid town, comparing that salary to the highest paid folks with the masters' degree. I went into debt for that degree. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I did work at that career for a while, but now I'm a SAHM. With school loans still.<br><br>
Listen to my regrets!!! Figure out a way to finish school with the least amount of debt possible!!!!!!!
 

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do you need to relo for the school?<br>
what is the monthly cost to keep employer health care?<br>
how many years to get the degree?<br>
will the degree improve your expected earnings? by how much?<br>
can you do the degree part time while working?
 

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Congratulations! What degree will you be pursuing? What field will you be in?<br><br>
My DH has a PhD and works for "one of the country's best universities" and makes about $55k/year as a research scientist. We have a lot of freedom and benefits and are doing fine, but we're certainly not raking in the dough. Most of our childhood friends and family members have much less education than we do and make substantially more money than us. DH has the potential to earn much more than he currently does, but it will take time.<br><br>
I wouldn't go back to school with children unless you received a great deal of financial aid or you were pursuing a field with a guaranteed financial pay off. I'm not saying not to go back, I'm saying that you should be very tenacious and find every dollar you might qualify for to finance your education.<br><br>
DH and I have no student debt and are still playing financial catch up from the time we spent in grad school. My parents paid for my undergrad and I got assistantships for my MA and towards my PhD (which I'm still working towards). DH had scholarships and fellowships for all of his degrees. We would be struggling if we were paying off the hundreds of thousands of dollars that our educations cost.<br><br>
Lastly, and I don't want to be a downer, but you might also consider applying to other schools and seeing whether you get better financial aid packages. DH and I were both accepted into my "dream school" for our graduate work but declined admission because we were offered better stipends at another good but not as prestigious university. This was an excellent decision for us. DH still landed an amazing, prestigious job and the job market in my field is absolute crap for everyone right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.
 

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I personally think education is not ever a waste of money, even when you get a Mrs. and stay at home later.<br>
If most moms where SAHM you could start to argue why even educate your daughters---there are going to meet the man of their dreams and never work outside the home.<br>
Some folks are not that lucky and may have to fall back on a graduate degree if the marriage does not work out.<br><br>
Good luck with your decision.
 

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prestigious school should mean a LOT of funding aka free money for you.<br><br>
if you are going for a graduate degree you should be able to get a graduate teaching assistantship that will make your tuition free. you should also be able to get funding to cover most of your living expenses.<br><br>
if your school is not offering you any financial assistance that isn't loans i would not go, especially if your earning power at the end isn't going to be increased.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>PJJ</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15403406"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I personally think education is not ever a waste of money, even when you get a Mrs. and stay at home later.<br>
If most moms where SAHM you could start to argue why even educate your daughters---there are going to meet the man of their dreams and never work outside the home.<br>
Some folks are not that lucky and may have to fall back on a graduate degree if the marriage does not work out.<br><br>
Good luck with your decision.</div>
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I agree, but I think she can be wise about financing her education. IMHO, women should always have a means to support themselves. I'm staying home now while I finish school and will as long as I have a little one in my home, but I could get a job if necessary. My parents drilled the importance of being able to support yourself into my sister and I. You can marry the best guy in the world but he could get in an accident. Life happens and you should always be prepared for plan B.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone for the advice.<br><br>
To answer some questions:<br>
I will not need to relocate. One benefit of our apartment is that it is cheap and we can stay here while I am in school. Keeping the benefits will be about 350/mo.<br><br>
The good news is that I finally got my financial aid package and it looks fairly good. According to their budget I only need 5000/year in loans (although because my situation is different I will probably need a little more).<br><br>
And on a more realistic note between the degree and my professional experience my earnings potential will greatly increase. Once I actually saw the financial aid I felt better . . . And one thing I do know is that I will not be able to make more without a degree so I am finally starting to get excited!<br><br>
Thanks everyone for the advice!!!
 

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Congratulations! A prestigious, dream school and enough aid that you only need to borrow 5k/year? That's so terrific. Good for you!<br><br>
And you know, if you talk to the financial aid office, they may be able to put you in touch with foundations not associated with your school who make grants for people in your situation (mom with kids) to go to school. There may well be extra money out there.
 
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