3.11.2008

Dilemma

First of all--please keep posting confessions below. The response overwhelmed me! The main reason I did it was after I confessed (anonymously) my own secrets on another blogger's site, I somehow felt better. I hope y'all confessors did too.

ANYWAY. Buckle your seatbelts, this one's gonna be a doozy!

My birthday was great yesterday. I've actually been babysitting in the mornings occasionally for little J. He's now 6 months old and as ADORABLE as ever:



Big sister K. has been there a few days too. I'm really, really loving having little ones again! I do enjoy my time with my new families, but all the kids are older and I miss the babies!!!

I'm at a pretty sticky situation in regards to next year. As most of y'all know, I've taken this year off to work before I go to college. I applied and was accepted last year to my DREAM school up north. Problem is, it's very expensive (as most all private colleges are these days) and we just found out that Dream School (not its real name, duh) isn't going to offer me any financial aid.

We were counting on the financial aid...one year of Dream School would literally empty ALL my savings and all the money my parents have saved up, and I'd still have to take out loans. But unfortunately, since we do have almost enough for a full year at Dream School...they're giving me nada.

Basically I have a few big decisions to make. Either we empty all our savings and send me to Dream School for a year, and then they told us I'll definitely be eligible for financial aid for the next 3 years (but we don't know how much I'll be aid I'll get). So I'd have no money, but be at Dream School. And the perk about Dream School is that it's pretty famous within the field I'm pursuing--so grad school wouldn't be a necessity; I could get a good, well-paying job without it (and save tons of money by not going to grad school). OR I enroll full-time in community college for the next 4 years and graduate from there, while working too, and pursue Dream School for graduate school. OR I go to a bigger state school, emptying about 1/2 our savings, and think about graduate school later.

I'm busy crunching numbers right now and trying to figure out how best to make things work, while still really hoping to go to my dream school. I'm a bit nervous since Dream School's tuition went up $3,000 from last year unexectedly. I don't know what it'll do next year. Another problem is my trip up there in April for the Open House--I booked my flight a LONG time ago expecting to get financial aid (we had NO idea we weren't going to get any). I need to make a decision fairly quickly so we can either keep or sell the tickets.

It's a lot to think about right now. I'd appreciate any suggestions you guys have...

11 comments:

Preemie Twins' Nanny said...

Go for it. If you have a dream / dream school then you shouldn't hesitate. You can build up savings again. It's not just the school you'd be missing. It is the social connections, peer relationships and networking opportunities. Community College is fine if that's all you aspire to, but if you aspire to more, do more. Money comes and money goes but hopes, dreams and aspirations have a sell by date. If you miss it it's possible you'll lose hope, direction or the determination to follow them again.

Email me sometime if you'd like to talk more, seriously.

The Nanny said...

That's what my gut says...and what I would love to do! But in reality, to go there, I'd have to go up to $100,000 in debt. My biggest concern is that Dream School just isn't worth having that much debt accumulated before I'm even able to legally drink :-)

Preemie Twins' Nanny said...

Wherever you end up, you'll end up accruing debt. It's the reality of going to college. I know plenty of people who have skipped college entirely because it's just too expensive or they can't afford it then they end up accruing debt other ways. I'm easily that much in debt from my college education and still considering grad school.

If you want to do it, do it. You shouldn't skip it because of money. It comes and it goes. Honestly.

Monica H said...

I think you should keep your plane ticket and go to the open house. You have a dream and this is your dream school. I'm kind of like you when it comes to money. I would eventually talk myself out of going. You may get there and decide that it's not worth accruing 100k in student loans, then again yo umay decide that that's the right decision for you. Just remember there's always more than one route to your destination. Sometimes the longer windier road is more scenic.

Tracey R. said...

Wait a minute while I scrounge around and find my school counselor/university academic advisor hat...

There found it.

This is a really tough call. Knowing what you want to do, and knowing the Dream School, I can totally understand your dilemma. This is when I HATE HATE HATE how freaking unaffordable college tuition is these days. I dread putting 3 kids through college. Georgetown University (where both Rich and I graduated) is now in the range of 46,000 per year. Who can afford that?!?!?

I'm all for pursuing dream schools. God knows, both Rich and I did. And I did the same for graduate school. And I will be paying student loans until my middle child is in college.

Seriously.

I hate to be a cynic, but I would be wary of trusting the "you'll get financial aid for the next 3 years" schtick. Rich was assured he would get 4 years of financial aid, and they drastically cut his aid each year, so that he ALMOST had to leave school our junior year. His parents will be paying off his student loans until...well...our middle child goes to college. I have heard it happens often...college financial aid officers are not the most reliable.

My own opinion is that there is a happy medium...and that is the state school. What about doing state school for 2 years and then transferring? Or grad school? You can often get better financial aid for graduate school (I know I did). I'm all for pursuing a dream school, trust me, but you have to look at the salary you will make when you graduate, the amount of loans, and whether you will REALLY make up that difference by choosing Dream School over, say, UTexas or something. I know college isn't about just dollars and cents, lord, do I know ("miss queen of higher education") But perhaps I have become a bit more pragmatic and a little less impressed by big college names in my old age.

Of course, that's easy to say in retrospect with my hoity toity diplomas on my wall.

You do what you feel is right in your gut. It will work out.

The Nanny said...

Tracey--amen, sister. Why can't good colleges be affordable?!?!?!?

As for the happy medium, that's what I'm working to find. I'm weighing options/comparing prices, etc. I'm sure you know just HOW MUCH FUN it really is.

But hey...I'm ridiculously lucky to even be in the position I'm in. One way or another I'm going to college!

The Nanny said...

Wait. Let me correct my last comment. Why can't ALL colleges be affordable????

("good" is relative. there are a LOT of good colleges that are a lot less expensive.)

ErinA said...

I had a dream school up north too. I didn't go to my dream school. I went to a state school and wouldn't have changed a single thing about my college experience. Yes, dream school would have been amazing and I would have loved to have a degree from there, but in the end, the state school was a better fit and the time I spent at state school was the funnest, most enlightening five years of my life. I don't regret the decision one bit and the state school was in the top three for my degree (so that was also a plus). With that said I also agree with preemie twins' nanny. If it is your dream, by all means, pursue it. You'd being paying loans off for awhile but you wouldn't regret not going. Can I ask what field you're pursuing?

Monica H said...

Nanny, everytime (about 3 times) I see this little boy, he reminds me of the boy I take care of- LD. It's kind of wierd. I'm sending you a picture of him so you can see the resemblance.

Life ticks on said...

Okay, First Do you live with your parents? Sorry I dont know this answer. If you dont WHY did you apply as their dependent? Even if you use the money they saved for you it should be in THEIR names and in THEIR taxes NOT yours. Therefore you are considered an independent. As an independent they can ONLY use YOUR income. Honestly this is why we keep our savings that is in our name in minimal amounts. We send our extras to the family savings account that we are able to use for emergencies. His mother has it and we never know the balance and dont use it unless we absolutely must and then she sends us the money. So we have no savings (well we do have some as I have built it up in the past few months). This way NONE of its on my FAFSA and they cant count it. If your living on your own you can put the loans in your name and you would have been more than likely eligible for the grants. Also so you know typically a college gives incoming freshman (new students regardless of grade also) a lesser amount of financial aid. My financial aid is going up about $1000 this next school year, because I have been at the school long enough to "prove" myself. Secondly many "bigwig" schools have automatic grants to returning students also. My school is giving me a $500 grant on top of financial aid. Of course prices are also going up this fall but HEY I am doing my degree MY way.

Anyways if it was me I would file a change to my FAFSA and have it resubmitted if you filed under your parents help. If you havent lived at home for a year and you have been making your own payments on your house you dont need them. So I would file an amendment and see if that gets you atleast some aid.

So like I said I dont know a bunch of what you honestly did but that much I do know. ANY good financial aid counselor would tell you that too.

The Nanny said...

Life ticks on--Good suggestion. We actually tried to do that...but Dream School required my parents' information.