Mothering Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi~
I am a single mama with one in college and one in preschool.
I myself have never been a college student; so do not have personal experience regarding student financial aid, etc to pass along to my son.
(I got my job with a large company right out of high school and have been there ever since).
We have never had any financial help from DS's father his entire life. So making ends meet has always been a struggle for me. There is no college fund for DS. My rent doubled in the past 9 years, so even when I got a raise it only covered increased cost of living.

DS has attended a Jr college for a couple of years and will be transferring to a new school next semester. My parents have been great and picked up a lot of the cost for the Jr college. The tuition for new school is going to cost $20,000 a year for the next 2 years.
DS diligently applied for no less than 10 scholarships and was denied for all of them.
. Even his new school had a new $6000 scholarship they said he was a shoe in for and he didn't get it...
It is so frustrating for all of us. (DS , me , the grandparents)

He just got denied for FAFSA too... no reason given. I do not make THAT much money
: especially after my daycare costs at $900 a month (which I pay half of- dd's father pays the other half-sometimes)
... I do not understand - what is he doing wrong? I do not want this poor kid to be strapped down with $40,000 in student loans after he graduates.

There must be other avenues we haven't tried... can someone shed some light on this for me... have any tips or recommendations on where to go, what to apply for etc? Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,568 Posts
what do you mean he was denied FAFSA? Isn't that how you get most student loans? He can't access govt subsidizes loans? How much money do you make? DH is currently using student loans and half are govt subsidized and the others aren't and while we are not well to do, we are by no means needy.

Are you talking about pell grants? I think you need to be very low income to qualify for pell grants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,635 Posts
I helped a coworker with her FAFSA. They were a family of 3 with an income of about $40,000. She will receive about $4,100 a year in a pell grant.

When our yearly income for a family of three was about $56K I did not qualify for a pell grant. Unfortunately adjustments are not made to income for childcare expenses and private school tuition.

You can't be denied FAFSA, but you can be denied a Pell Grant or Unsubsidized loans.

Can your DS attend another school, perhaps a public university?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,252 Posts
The FAFSA thing is strange. As others have said, you can't really be denied per se. You can be turned down for a pell grant and things like that, but the FAFSA also determines the amount of student loans you qualify for as well as work study eligibility (if I'm not mistaken). When I was an undergrad, I didn't get a Pell grant either despite the fact that my dad had to work two jobs just make ends meet and my mom was a SAHM (with no income obviously). It really sucked. I got through undergrad by a partial college scholarship, massive student loans, work-study at the university library, and then work as a cashier in a shop in the evenings and weekends. Actually, at one point, I was a fulltime student AND working three jobs! My parents were not in financial position to help me out much and it really aggrevated me that the Financial Aid Powers That Be could not recognize that fact. Well, all of this is to say, that I really sympathize with your predicament


As for what to do....I'm not sure what college he is planning to attend, but I know the state you're in and I can say that if he is going to one of our state schools, they are financially a MESS right now. I'm a grad student at UCB and talk around the department is that situation is quite dire--hiring freezes, staff being forced into early retirement, departments being severely downsized, and of course this also affects the amount of aid available to students. Ah, and of course tuition and students fees are skyrocketing. It's a very bad situation here.

Is there anyway he could work while going to school in order to somewhat alleviate the amount of student loans he would need? Could he go part time for a while? Could he declare financial independence (so that your income wouldn't be used in determining his financial aid eligibility)? I'm not sure how exactly that works, but would that be an option?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
I'm in college and so is DH and we get all the full grants, etc. However, our income before going to school was only $12000 for a family of 4 so we are very low-income. It is tough to get grants. Most people do not qualify for them. FAFSA will not take into consideration your bills like childcare, only your income. It is weird to be denied though, FAFSA also controls student loans and workstudy. So, even if he didn't get grants, he should have been offered student loans. Did he complete the whole thing? Was he missing anything? I have heard of denial for incomplete forms. Also, I am not sure, but could they be going off his dad's income as well? Even though he doesn't help at all, it is possible that they are combining both incomes and it may be too much (I am not sure how it works with single parents though). If he is confused why he was denied, he should call them so he knows why. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
Can he become independent? You lose the ability to claim him on your taxes but his income would go waaay down. DH did this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,352 Posts
Personally, I was the student in this situation with my parents. I took the loans and just graduated and will start repaying my $40,000 of student loans. My parents helped pay for things (books, gas since I commuted, etc.) when they could, but I always felt like it was my responsibility to pay for college. I wanted to go, I was an adult... so I'm paying for it.

There's always the option of taking the parents loan out and you can pay on it if you're able. I think the interest rate is pretty low, if it hasn't gone up recently which is possible... I never qualified for any grants either, even after I got married and was independent from my parents. Not even a work study program.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,525 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Can he become independent? You lose the ability to claim him on your taxes but his income would go waaay down. DH did this.
It doesn't prevent you from claiming him on your taxes.

OP: what is he going to school for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,635 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Can he become independent? You lose the ability to claim him on your taxes but his income would go waaay down. DH did this.
He will probably not be declared an independent. To do that he will have to prove that he makes X amount a year, pays his own bills, lives alone and has no support from his family. It is hard to be declared an independent student. If the process was easy and available to anyone there would be abuse to the system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
As others have said, it has become very difficult for a traditional aged student to be considered independent for financial aid purposes.

Do you know what your expected family contribution (EFC) was on your fafsa? Some schools agree to make up the difference between your EFC and the cost of the school, other schools do not make that promise. I think this is one of the reasons that it is important for people to apply to a variety of schools. Is there a reason you son needs to go to this particular school? If not, I would suggest applying to several places and then comparing the offers he gets.

If he is set on going to that one school, I would suggest that you or your son write a letter to the new school appealing the financial aid decision and explaining any special circumstances (your childcare, etc.).

Finally, has your son been in touch with the career services office at his current school? That office might be able to help answer your questions or at least point you in the direction of other resources.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all of the thoughtful replies!


Quote:

Originally Posted by alicia622 View Post
what do you mean he was denied FAFSA? ... I
Are you talking about pell grants? I think you need to be very low income to qualify for pell grants.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post
I helped a coworker with her FAFSA. They were a family of 3 with an income of about $40,000. She will receive about $4,100 a year in a pell grant.

When our yearly income for a family of three was about $56K I did not qualify for a pell grant. Unfortunately adjustments are not made to income for childcare expenses and private school tuition.

You can't be denied FAFSA, but you can be denied a Pell Grant or Unsubsidized loans.
Yes this...
ok- I guess denied was the wrong word- I didn't get the full gist of what DS was talking about when he said he "didn't get it"
He didn't qualify for the pell grant, but was offered a subsidized loan of $4000 and $2500 unsubsidized. Not sure what the EFC was determined to be. I was hoping for the pell grant.

Quote:

Originally Posted by EVC View Post
The FAFSA thing is strange. As others have said, you can't really be denied per se. You can be turned down for a pell grant and things like that, but the FAFSA also determines the amount of student loans you qualify for as well as work study eligibility (if I'm not mistaken). When I was an undergrad, I didn't get a Pell grant either despite the fact that my dad had to work two jobs just make ends meet and my mom was a SAHM (with no income obviously). It really sucked. I got through undergrad by a partial college scholarship, massive student loans, work-study at the university library, and then work as a cashier in a shop in the evenings and weekends. Actually, at one point, I was a fulltime student AND working three jobs! My parents were not in financial position to help me out much and it really aggrevated me that the Financial Aid Powers That Be could not recognize that fact. Well, all of this is to say, that I really sympathize with your predicament


Is there anyway he could work while going to school in order to somewhat alleviate the amount of student loans he would need? Could he go part time for a while? Could he declare financial independence (so that your income wouldn't be used in determining his financial aid eligibility)? I'm not sure how exactly that works, but would that be an option?
Long time no see EVC---lol how've you been? Bet your dd is such a big girl now!
Since I posted there has been a meeting with the financial aid person at the school. He said if DS were married or had a child he might then qualify for a pell grant... umm no! not yet...even tho I adore his girlfriend lol
And you are right about our state right now- we were basically told that CalGrants were out as the state has no money to give them out anymore. Part time will not work... this is an accelerated bachelors program specifically for the field DS wants to enter.
And having a job while going through the accelerated program will not be feasible. He did all his GE+music studies in JR college and worked part time so that the pricier school classes would be dedicated to his field of interest. I really want him to focus. I have told DS since grade school- "find something you love to do and find a way to make money at it- you will have to work for most of your life you might as well enjoy it" I really didn't want him to follow down my path and go to a job you dislike each day just to pay the bills. He is doing just as I advised him...
The boy listens to his mama!

We also found out they are doing round 2 of the $6000 scholarship the school offers, so DS can reapply and find out if he gets it before the next semester starts...
oh please please please!!! Apparently "the best of the best" were awarded the scholarships in the 1st round and since they already have it maybe his chances will be better.

Quote:

Originally Posted by earthyamber View Post
I'm in college and so is DH and we get all the full grants, etc. However, our income before going to school was only $12000 for a family of 4 so we are very low-income. It is tough to get grants. Most people do not qualify for them. FAFSA will not take into consideration your bills like childcare, only your income. It is weird to be denied though, FAFSA also controls student loans and workstudy. So, even if he didn't get grants, he should have been offered student loans....

Also, I am not sure, but could they be going off his dad's income as well? Even though he doesn't help at all, it is possible that they are combining both incomes and it may be too much (I am not sure how it works with single parents though). If he is confused why he was denied, he should call them so he knows why. Good luck!
Oh my - how do you make it on $12000 a year?- Bless your heart- I am glad you both received the full grants! No they didn't consider "sperm donors" income... the UAV did receive his own $1000 scholarship I found out when I goggled him-
: Deadbeat fathers should not qualify for scholarships IMO.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Can he become independent? You lose the ability to claim him on your taxes but his income would go waaay down. DH did this.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post
He will probably not be declared an independent. To do that he will have to prove that he makes X amount a year, pays his own bills, lives alone and has no support from his family. It is hard to be declared an independent student. If the process was easy and available to anyone there would be abuse to the system.
I found this info about being declared independent- DS cannot answer yes to any of them.

What is the definition of an independent student?

In order to be considered an independent student you must answer "Yes" to at least one of the seven questions below (asked in Step 3 of the FAFSA):

* 1) Will you be 24 years old by December 31st of the current academic year?
* 2) Will you be working on a master's program during the current academic year?
* 3) As of today, are you married? "Yes" if you are separated but not divorced)
* 4) Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
* 5) Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you, now and through the end of the current academic year?
* 6) Are you an orphan or ward of the court or were you a ward of the court until age 18?
* 7) Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?



Quote:

Originally Posted by Mal85 View Post
Personally, I was the student in this situation with my parents. I took the loans and just graduated and will start repaying my $40,000 of student loans. My parents helped pay for things (books, gas since I commuted, etc.) when they could, but I always felt like it was my responsibility to pay for college. I wanted to go, I was an adult... so I'm paying for it.

There's always the option of taking the parents loan out and you can pay on it if you're able. I think the interest rate is pretty low, if it hasn't gone up recently which is possible... I never qualified for any grants either, even after I got married and was independent from my parents. Not even a work study program.
Bless your heart- see that is exactly what I didn't want DS to go through- $40,000 in debt is so much for a young adult. Parent loans are at 8% right now- I could get a cheaper rate at my credit union on a personal loan. Luckily the tuition cost includes books and supplies for DS school of choice. I am getting together with my parents to see what we can work out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mysticmomma View Post
It doesn't prevent you from claiming him on your taxes.

OP: what is he going to school for?
He is a music major and wants to get his bachelors in Sound Arts.
The classes at this school are taught by industry professionals and instructors from universities, and the equipment is professional-grade.
The focus is hands-on experience needed to land audio and music engineering jobs, and access to digital audio equipment and software. Training in the Sound Arts Program prepares students for the challenges of music recording, audio engineering, audio post-production for film and television, video games, live sound, MIDI production, studio management, and multi-media non-linear editing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by maryeliz View Post
If he is set on going to that one school, I would suggest that you or your son write a letter to the new school appealing the financial aid decision and explaining any special circumstances (your childcare, etc.).

Finally, has your son been in touch with the career services office at his current school? That office might be able to help answer your questions or at least point you in the direction of other resources.
Yes DS is set on going to this school-
I wish I knew how to make the decision makers understand the financial hardship to a single mother- I have always made just enough to not qualify for any kind of subsidies the entire 22 years of being a single mom.( I did get WIC with DD tho while on an unpaid 13.5 mon maternity leave- 1st time ever that I qualified for anything) Is this something DS could mention on the essay for the scholarship application? Regarding being the child of a single parent that also has financial responsibilities for the little one at home and rent that is over 50% of my take home pay? ( I live very modestly- by the way- just an expensive state to live in)

Good news about claiming tuition costs on taxes tho- I found this article- could be helpful to some of you undergrad students as well! Every little bit helps...


How to get a $2,500 tuition rebate

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com...te.aspx?page=1

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com...te.aspx?page=2

I searched my little heart out for other scholarships DS might qualify for...
I guess the one for redheads is a myth darn it! He would have been a shoe in for that one- there are a lot of weird scholarships out there tho- who knew? lol

I am proud of DS for going after what he wants to do. Just like Mama's dream for him!


ANy tips on how to score this school offered scholarship?
"The Committee will consider a short essay submission, financial need, grade point average, and any submitted artistic portfolio when making scholarship award decisions."

How much weight is the essay submission on these types of scholarships? His artistic portfolio is already AMAZING, but he is changing what he submitted the 1st time to better pieces he has recently written/created.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ah crud muffins!
: I just went out and got my mail and my landlord has increased my rent $75 a month a/o Aug ... *sigh*

It is a small 2 bedroom 1/bath unit.
Also my father told me my 16 yr old car needs a new engine to the tune of $3000. (I have been using my mom's car the past 2 weeks while mine is in the shop) That is $3000 I planned on giving to DS for school.

My union and employer are in the midst of contract negotiations since 4/4/09 and employer wants to butcher health care to the tune of $6000 a year for a family of 3... I hope that doesn't happen because I seriously cant seem to catch a financial break the year DS goes to his new school...
bah!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,635 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cyn_S View Post
ah crud muffins!
: I just went out and got my mail and my landlord has increased my rent $75 a month a/o Aug ... *sigh*

It is a small 2 bedroom 1/bath unit.
Also my father told me my 16 yr old car needs a new engine to the tune of $3000. (I have been using my mom's car the past 2 weeks while mine is in the shop) That is $3000 I planned on giving to DS for school.

My union and employer are in the midst of contract negotiations since 4/4/09 and employer wants to butcher health care to the tune of $6000 a year for a family of 3... I hope that doesn't happen because I seriously cant seem to catch a financial break the year DS goes to his new school...
bah!
I truly understand. I feel as if my yearly income is a balancing act. If I am approved to the program of my choice next year I will not be able to work. I could work a full time job. Well maybe if we could work out child care logistics. However if I make enough to push our income over a certain level I will not qualify for a pell grant which I will need. I did not even qualify for the full amount in 2009-2010, but based on my caluclations of this years income I will qualify for the full amount in 2010-2011.

Part of me wants to get a job and hope that I will be able to save enough to pay the difference in my tuition, but working full time will require an additional $400 or more for after school care and I already have private school tutition for DS.

My only advice is to remain positive. So many good things have happened to me at the very last minute.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top