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creekland

21 Year Old Sues Parents for College Tuition and Wins

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"Get a job in a large company that provides education benefits. Or, secure a work-study gig in one of the STEM fields. Or, work a job until age 24 and the parent income/assets are a moot point. Or, research the National Health Service Corps or other options that will pay expenses up front."

 

But that is precisely what I am talking about--working your way through. I took off half the time to work two jobs and worked at the college. You're not supposed to just sit there in class and wait for money to fall from the sky...

 

My sister worked until 23 and saved up cash. Another cousin waited. Still another worked while in school and then got scholarships.

 

 

I couldn't provide my unknown father, so they wouldn't give me ANY aid.

 

You got screwed, because the rule is that you only have to put ONE parent (custodial/residential) if your parents aren't married (including separated if one is not answering court orders).

 

I am sorry, because that really sucks.

 

Not that I got much aid since my mom was middle class at the time, but we didn't put my dad on the FAFSA, no way!

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I've had quite a few years teaching in higher ed and my observation is that how possible it is for an 18-24 year old to do it solo depends on the details.

 

Here in CA, if a student qualifies for a Cal grant plus pulls in some combined need based/academic scholarships, it is pretty doable.

 

Student who miss out on the Cal grants and pretty much all of the better aid because parents refuse to file the FAFSA: different story. Students who don't qualify for any need based financial aid because parents make too much money yet are unwilling to contribute: again, different story. If students in either one of these categories attempt it, they are likely to end up with an excessive student loan debt.

 

I honestly think that for students who are attempting to do it without the financial aid, it is often better from them to drop out for a few years. Gasp!

 

Get a job in a large company that provides education benefits. Or, secure a work-study gig in one of the STEM fields. Or, work a job until age 24 and the parent income/assets are a moot point. Or, research the National Health Service Corps or other options that will pay expenses up front.

 

I have not seen students whose parents refuse to pay anything (or even put their signature on the FAFSA) be able to make it to school except in the rare situation where their scores are high enough to get a free ride.  That's very rare IME.  And even then, they can have transportation, COL and acceptance issues from some.  Many times if a parent won't do the paperwork, it's because they really don't want their youngsters pursuing higher education.  It's pretty corrupting, you know.  :glare:

 

You got screwed, because the rule is that you only have to put ONE parent (custodial/residential) if your parents aren't married (including separated if one is not answering court orders).

 

I am sorry, because that really sucks.

 

Not that I got much aid since my mom was middle class at the time, but we didn't put my dad on the FAFSA, no way!

 

Many private schools require info from both parents regardless of marital status.  It's not just Duke.

 

And otherwise (my comments about all - not just what I've quoted), my impression now is that the headline should have read "Courts Help 21 Year Old Enforce Her Parents Divorce Settlement."  If that is the case, then it should be no problem.  The concern is far more if the first headline were accurate, but I seriously do wish all parents would assist their academically capable kids with college if they can - at least signing the paperwork for federal loans and grants if nothing else.

 

Yesterday we spent the bulk of the day getting my youngest home from college, then enjoying time with him, so I didn't get to look into this all that deeply.  I appreciate those of you who did that for me!

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Honestly,I think this is ridiculus. She is an adult. Stuff happens to all adults; young and old. Really, she needed to deal with the reality that her parents didn't pay. At 21 my child should not have the 'right' to get bills paid by me. It's something I may choose to do, but... really. Grow up. Life isn't perfect.

 

And just to clarify.... I am not defending her parents at all. I am just saying that things do happen and we all need to pick ourselves up and move on.

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I have not seen students whose parents refuse to pay anything (or even put their signature on the FAFSA) be able to make it to school except in the rare situation where their scores are high enough to get a free ride.  That's very rare IME.  And even then, they can have transportation, COL and acceptance issues from some.  Many times if a parent won't do the paperwork, it's because they really don't want their youngsters pursuing higher education.  It's pretty corrupting, you know.  :glare:

 

\snip

 

 

There is a local program here that helps kids in this situation navigate the process.  They had 1 kid with a full ride almost miss out on his education.  The university had arraigned for airline tickets for transportation but, he couldn't afford clothes or the airline fees for luggage.  It's a pretty extreme case of need but, these kids do exist and even with tuition free they have some huge uphill battles.

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You're not supposed to just sit there in class and wait for money to fall from the sky...

 

I feel like we are talking past each other because the situation of someone who access to financial aid versus the student who has no access is like living on 2 different planets.

 

Your situation: you filed FAFSA. You didn't get much, but you got enough that you could supplement.

 

The world of the students who are shut out of FAFSA is a different story altogether. I think that this is the problem with these sorts of conversations. It certainly is a problem with the research studies you linked, because as far as I could tell, the research did not account for these 2 very different populations.

 

Yes, student with FAFSA probably can put themselves through or at least contribute a significant amount. Without FAFSA, the students can either subject themselves to what I would consider predatory lending or they can go the nontraditional route which generally means no full time enrollment until after age 24. (Local companies who pay tuition generally require approximately 5 years of employment before the perk kicks in. Which magically puts the students close to that same age.)

 

In years of teaching, I have yet to meet a single student sitting in class, waiting for money to fall from the sky. Either they had the aid and were pretty well set provided they stuck to a simple life and a strict budget, or they knew their days were numbered and were on their way out the door.

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I have not seen students whose parents refuse to pay anything (or even put their signature on the FAFSA) be able to make it to school except in the rare situation where their scores are high enough to get a free ride.  That's very rare IME.  And even then, they can have transportation, COL and acceptance issues from some.  Many times if a parent won't do the paperwork, it's because they really don't want their youngsters pursuing higher education.  It's pretty corrupting, you know.  :glare:

 

 

Many private schools require info from both parents regardless of marital status.  It's not just Duke.

 

Duke. No. I think the disconnect here comes from aspirations.

 

I keep forgetting I'm on a board where many people aspire to that, buy their children smart phones, and even cars.

 

I don't know anyone who paid for Duke in cash at 18 without parental help, no. That would be nuts.

 

Actually... I don't know anyone who went to Duke. Everyone I know when to state schools or community college. I'm just out here in the sticks with the plebes. Our degrees don't mean much on Wall Street so maybe they're not worth it.

 

My goals were far, far, FAR lower. I was thinking an associate's in 3 years, and then a Bachelor's at a state school in another three. Or better yet, associate's in three years, military for two, then Bachelor's for three.

 

If you graduate at 18, work one year, then at 19 you can go to CC for a year. Work all summer and fall, then do full time winter-spring. By the end of that, you are almost 21. Work another year. Go to college. Work another year, share a room. Go to college. I only got one grant my first year, no tuition waivers, and loans my last year. I worked all the rest of it, though granted I'd have to work at least 50% more now. But I graduated from a four year early, so I think graduating from a four year in six years would not be unheard of. I still would have been only 23.

 

 

I feel like we are talking past each other because the situation of someone who access to financial aid versus the student who has no access is like living on 2 different planets.

 

But everyone can get the FAFSA at 25 or when they marry.

 

And there is always community college. I know it's tough to slum with the poor folk when you're used to living an upper middle class life, but community college in many states is definitely affordable if you work full time every other quarter.

 

But we are working class and we go to working class schools. Salutatorians and national merit finalists in community colleges, walking to work at night, studying on the bus, sharing a room, and eating Ramen and free cookies at the blood bank.

 

I know the middle class doesn't live that way. But the middle class is disappearing.

 

Most people I know slept on a mattress or mat on the floor for six years in shared rooms, or at the very least shared apartments. Forget the dorms, forget parties.

 

I didn't say it was easy. But if "easy" or even "relatively pleasant" or even "not suffering" is going to be a qualifier for what you are willing to go through to achieve your goals, then yes, lack of parental involvement is going to set you back.

 

 

In years of teaching, I have yet to meet a single student sitting in class, waiting for money to fall from the sky.

 

Of course not. Students who succeed don't do that. What I'm saying is that the implication seems to be that I think there is money falling from the sky and I don't think that and I don't think persistent, successful students think so either.

 

The people who say that it's not possible are the ones who seem to suggest that I had money fall out of the sky, which is where I brought that up.

 

Shage, I don't know where you teach, but yes our students have a hard time when paying for college and working at the same time.

 

Of course.

 

But the ones who are determined finish. It's fascinating to hear why people drop out. Some of the poorest, lowest income people will get Cs and Bs because they take tests hungry (and I was once one), but others will drop out long before they face hunger because that is not an acceptable sacrifice to them.

 

I had a friend in high school whose mother ate nothing but apples and free soup kitchen meals her first year in college (before she got signed for work study).

 

Your situation: you filed FAFSA. You didn't get much, but you got enough that you could supplement.

 

 

No, I got a small scholarship the first year, not need related, and nothing in years two and three. In year four, I took out subsidized loans for an amount that I could have gotten by applying for a credit card. I saved on interest but I could have done it regardless. It would have delayed Peace Corps by one year had I had a credit card.

 

ETA--we have an exception where a parent can send a letter stating they refuse to file the FAFSA. Students aren't eligible for federal loans but we allow exceptions for them to apply for college scholarships and merit-based aid without a FAFSA. Many community colleges, which have been dealing with poor students for decades, have systems in place to help them. Don't go to Harvard looking for a handout. You have to stick with your people, where you belong.

 

There's a reason the average age at community colleges is so high. People wait to be eligible.

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I have taught in a variety of settings: community college, state university, private secular.

 

I am a huge fan of CC, I mean huge fan, but that takes care of the associates degree and nothing beyond. I am not knocking that by any stretch of the imagination (it is the likely path of my own children) just that I don't see CC as "sticking with your people" so much as it is as entry level and a foot in the door, not the end product.

 

The one thing I like about the American system is that it allows a great deal of flexibility across the life span and especially is well suited for midlife career changes.

 

What I dislike most is that it is not well designed for the 24 and under crowd whose parents are uninterested in participating in the process.

 

Take that back. What I probably dislike even more than that is the way tuition and fees are currently structured that makes for a multi-tiered system and a crazy loan process.

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Just expanding on the list. Age for a job varies a little so do the rules for driving.

 

Age 14 = hold a job, and pay taxes

Age 16 = you can drive a car

Age 14-17 = Charged as an adult if you commit a crime

Age 18 = you can vote, enter the military, get married

Age 21 = you can finally have a beer

Age 25 = No longer require you parents tax information for the FAFSA

Age 26= you can finally rent a car and get off mom and dad's health insurance plan

At 12 in most states kids can start working as an official (ref, umps) for younger kids. My son is already planning for when he turns 12 including already auditing the online classes and watching the officials at the games to learn the ropes.

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Just piping in to say that my niece is 26 years old and graduating next week with her bachelor degree... and we are all SO, SO PROUD OF HER! 

 

She started college at the local CC right out of high school.  But since she had NO support from her mom & dad (and I mean NONE, not even FAFSA), she worked and paid her own way entirely.  She's been steadily taking classes since she was 18 - sometimes only one or two classes, as she can afford it - and going through the summers even.  She has worked full-time the entire time.  She was a bit disheartened when her friends all graduated with their degrees about five years ago, but she plugged on ahead. 

 

And she graduates next week.  We are so proud of her. 

 

I know she's an anomaly, but it is possible to take your time, work full-time, and make it happen all on your own. 

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Yes, I understand that, but when you're poor you have to go step by step by step. An AA is a very important step because it's more transferable and takes care of more of the four year, raises your wages while you're working (there is proof of this, I have done studies myself AND I can find links, not that anyone seems to read them LOL), and gets you an opportunity to apply for better merit-based aid.

 

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here but others will read this.

 

Also, many community colleges offer four year technical degrees now. Not to name names, but Florida and Washington State, to name two states, have four-year technical degrees offered at more than one CC. Mainly because of the issues we are discussing here.

 

"What I dislike most is that it is not well designed for the 24 and under crowd whose parents are uninterested in participating in the process."

 

I agree.

 

But even for students whose parents would love to contribute but who have debt--for example, our family is paying off loans incurred during unemployment, divorce, and even my own schooling--it's not set up to ensure that all students can have equal access.

 

It is a deeply, deeply unfair and anti-human system in many ways, and education is just the start.

 

I don't expect it to change in the next ten years so though so I want my kids to be ready. It's a big reason they are learning languages from birth--to get out of this mess.

 

"Prepare your child for the road, not the road for your child." And it's a rough road...

 

 

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I have read all of the thread to this point.

 

No matter what may have been the terms within the divorce decree for her parents, this is a young woman who does not get along well with her parents.  I cannot respect her for suing them when all she has to do is cut her ties and move on with her life.  I think she is very selfish.  For all that I know, her parents may also be just as selfish.  A lawsuit over something like this, however, hints at the girl's character, and those hints do not show something enviable.

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I have read all of the thread to this point.

 

No matter what may have been the terms within the divorce decree for her parents, this is a young woman who does not get along well with her parents.  I cannot respect her for suing them when all she has to do is cut her ties and move on with her life.  I think she is very selfish.  For all that I know, her parents may also be just as selfish.  A lawsuit over something like this, however, hints at the girl's character, and those hints do not show something enviable.

 

I think it hints more at the character of the girls parents.

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Duke. No. I think the disconnect here comes from aspirations.

 

I keep forgetting I'm on a board where many people aspire to that, buy their children smart phones, and even cars.

 

I don't know anyone who paid for Duke in cash at 18 without parental help, no. That would be nuts.

 

Actually... I don't know anyone who went to Duke. Everyone I know when to state schools or community college. I'm just out here in the sticks with the plebes. Our degrees don't mean much on Wall Street so maybe they're not worth it.

 

My goals were far, far, FAR lower. I was thinking an associate's in 3 years, and then a Bachelor's at a state school in another three. Or better yet, associate's in three years, military for two, then Bachelor's for three.

 

If you graduate at 18, work one year, then at 19 you can go to CC for a year. Work all summer and fall, then do full time winter-spring. By the end of that, you are almost 21. Work another year. Go to college. Work another year, share a room. Go to college. I only got one grant my first year, no tuition waivers, and loans my last year. I worked all the rest of it, though granted I'd have to work at least 50% more now. But I graduated from a four year early, so I think graduating from a four year in six years would not be unheard of. I still would have been only 23.

 

 

But everyone can get the FAFSA at 25 or when they marry.

 

And there is always community college. I know it's tough to slum with the poor folk when you're used to living an upper middle class life, but community college in many states is definitely affordable if you work full time every other quarter.

 

But we are working class and we go to working class schools. Salutatorians and national merit finalists in community colleges, walking to work at night, studying on the bus, sharing a room, and eating Ramen and free cookies at the blood bank.

 

I know the middle class doesn't live that way. But the middle class is disappearing.

 

Most people I know slept on a mattress or mat on the floor for six years in shared rooms, or at the very least shared apartments. Forget the dorms, forget parties.

 

I didn't say it was easy. But if "easy" or even "relatively pleasant" or even "not suffering" is going to be a qualifier for what you are willing to go through to achieve your goals, then yes, lack of parental involvement is going to set you back.

 

 

Of course not. Students who succeed don't do that. What I'm saying is that the implication seems to be that I think there is money falling from the sky and I don't think that and I don't think persistent, successful students think so either.

 

The people who say that it's not possible are the ones who seem to suggest that I had money fall out of the sky, which is where I brought that up.

 

Shage, I don't know where you teach, but yes our students have a hard time when paying for college and working at the same time.

 

Of course.

 

But the ones who are determined finish. It's fascinating to hear why people drop out. Some of the poorest, lowest income people will get Cs and Bs because they take tests hungry (and I was once one), but others will drop out long before they face hunger because that is not an acceptable sacrifice to them.

 

I had a friend in high school whose mother ate nothing but apples and free soup kitchen meals her first year in college (before she got signed for work study).

 

 

No, I got a small scholarship the first year, not need related, and nothing in years two and three. In year four, I took out subsidized loans for an amount that I could have gotten by applying for a credit card. I saved on interest but I could have done it regardless. It would have delayed Peace Corps by one year had I had a credit card.

 

ETA--we have an exception where a parent can send a letter stating they refuse to file the FAFSA. Students aren't eligible for federal loans but we allow exceptions for them to apply for college scholarships and merit-based aid without a FAFSA. Many community colleges, which have been dealing with poor students for decades, have systems in place to help them. Don't go to Harvard looking for a handout. You have to stick with your people, where you belong.

 

There's a reason the average age at community colleges is so high. People wait to be eligible.

We are definitely talking past each other.  I got my CNA through high school, EMT through CC, and have taken about 10 other CC courses.  My dh is a professor at a CC and I am a vocal CC enthusiast.  But CC only takes you so far.  I'm nowhere near what most people consider middle class, never have been.  Ok, maybe one year when we managed to do well enough to pay down some of our debt.  That quickly disappeared.  My grandma never went past 3rd grade and I was the first generation in my family to go to college. Some of my family still literally have dirt floors.  I know hunger keenly.  Wanting to do more than attend the local CC (Which is still barely doable for a lot of people) doesn't mean you don't want to slum it.

 

I attended the local rural (not prestigious) state University that's about half as much as it is today.  Definitely with "my people", in fact the same school my step-father taught at and I was practically raised in.  I know all about hunger and sacrifice. But starvation shouldn't be necessary to finish your education!  There's nothing more noble about starving your way through school!

 

And Duke was a transfer after years of hard work and numerous accomplishments.  We were moving to the area and I planned on a very specific degree I could only find there or at one other college farther away.  It was an amazing opportunity and I've never felt so ashamed to have been accepted at a prestigious university.  Thanks. 

 

And yikes to the bolded. 

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I'm confused about why parents should be required to pay for college in any case? I think it is typical for parents to help, I think it is kind, and generous, but I am really confused about how anyone can be compelled to pay. I can understand paying child support, but I'm not a fan of adult support. 

 

Having it written in the divorce decree doesn't make it adult support, it's what the 2 adult parents decided to do in order to finalize their divorce. I imagine it was written by one of their lawyers, and the other parent's lawyer advised him/her to agree. If so, they are breaking their contract. It would be the same as a parent ignoring visitation dates, or choosing not to pay a child's health insurance. Are you confused about compelling a parent to pay child support? In the world of divorce settlements they are one and the same, regardless of the age of the couple's children.

 

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*snip*

 

ETA--we have an exception where a parent can send a letter stating they refuse to file the FAFSA. Students aren't eligible for federal loans but we allow exceptions for them to apply for college scholarships and merit-based aid without a FAFSA. Many community colleges, which have been dealing with poor students for decades, have systems in place to help them. Don't go to Harvard looking for a handout. You have to stick with your people, where you belong.

 

There's a reason the average age at community colleges is so high. People wait to be eligible.

 

I don't even know what to say about this.

 

There are many things wrong with the American system of higher education, but financial aid, aid to first-generation college students, and outreach to disadvantaged children are not the things that are wrong. Community colleges serve a valuable educational purpose, but that purpose is not as a second-tier system for poor kids. Nobody has the right to tell a child that they shouldn't attend a university, because they are poor, minority, or have uneducated parents. That is the complete opposite of what we should be working toward as a society.

 

I was one of the lucky ones. My mother refused to fill out the FAFSA, but I was able to attend a good private university on a full academic scholarship. I had never even visited the school before I arrived with bags in hand to check into the dorms. My family was homeless at the time and not very supportive, to put it mildly. I was the first in my family to attend college; my mother had been the first generation to graduate high school; her mother only had a 3rd grade education.

 

I'm glad nobody ever told me I had to stick with my people, where I belong. I belonged in a good university, because I had earned a place there with great grades and test scores.

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Paying for college may not just be an agreement between the parents anyway - in some states, it is required by the state to be part of a divorce decree.  Not commenting on whether that is right or not -  but moves it out of the 'decided between two adults' category IMO

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Why?

 

Her parents made a promise and a commitment to her.  Why is her character blemished in your eyes for using the legal avenues available to her???

 

(1)  I would not wish to be under obligation to someone who did not wish to do something for me, but who did it out of coercion (the divorce decree).     

 

(2)  When the parents made the initial promise, they could not know how the daughter's character would develop.  They are bound now (if we are informed correctly) solely by a divorce decree.

 

(2.a)  We are not privy to the explicit text of the divorce decree, so we do not know whether the decree stipulates an "open check" to finance even the most costly of institutions, or whether any restrictions are in place.

 

(3)  Initiating a law suit is selfish, in my opinion, in this instance.  I say this with the understanding that a divorce decree holds sway.   As I tried to indicate earlier, my self respect would have me cut the ties and move on using my own efforts.  You do not have to agree with me.  I recognize that "a case" can be made for either side of this story.

 

(4)  There are other children in the mix who retain equal claim to parental resources, which resources are finite.  Have not yet read that the young woman in question is taking their needs into consideration. 

 

For the most part, I incline toward those who do not believe that parents have a legal obligation to children who have attained legal adulthood.  Again, I understand that a divorce decree calls the shots.    

 

The parents have been accused of inordinately stringent requirements.  That is the girl's claim.  (They certainly would have been difficult to attain.)  (Living at home, however, is not a cruel request, in view of how much living elsewhere would cost.)  Have the parents concurred that her claims were true?  

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Duke. No. I think the disconnect here comes from aspirations.

 

I keep forgetting I'm on a board where many people aspire to that, buy their children smart phones, and even cars.

My kids got their smart phone right before they left for college. They still don't have cars. Well, oldest does now. He's also married and he and his wife BOUGHT their cars themselves.

 

 

Actually... I don't know anyone who went to Duke.

I got accepted to Duke back in my day - does that count? I ended up going to Va Tech as it was less expensive for me even though it was an out of state public. My home state was NY.

 

 

I know it's tough to slum with the poor folk when you're used to living an upper middle class life,

I really don't get this... I'm going to take a wild guess that you have no idea about where we live, my extended family where my grandparents were farmers or shoe factory workers pending which side you're talking about, or much about the students I work with in my local school.

 

 

But we are working class and we go to working class schools. Salutatorians and national merit finalists in community colleges, walking to work at night, studying on the bus, sharing a room, and eating Ramen and free cookies at the blood bank.

I'd like those NMF to know they can have a free education at some schools rather than paying for community college. Many high need based aid kids can have a far less expensive education at top private schools than in community college or state schools IF their parents will fill out the FAFSA and if they know to apply. I feel for those whose parents won't fill out the FAFSA.

 

 

But the ones who are determined finish. It's fascinating to hear why people drop out. Some of the poorest, lowest income people will get Cs and Bs because they take tests hungry (and I was once one), but others will drop out long before they face hunger because that is not an acceptable sacrifice to them.

No one should have to go hungry to get an education - and again - for many of these, if their parents would fill out the FAFSA... it would be an easier life. Then the choice of school matters. School A is not equal to School B when it comes to financial aid.

 

 

Don't go to Harvard looking for a handout. You have to stick with your people, where you belong.

Harvard, and other Top 50 schools, are some of the BEST schools for need based aid students to go if they can get in. They offer great aid - many times without loans. This aid includes room and board, so they won't even have to go hungry.

 

And where top academic students belong IS with their own people - at some of these great institutions. Parents should not be stopping them due to signatures on the FAFSA (or CSS Profile). I've seen far more than one of these great academic minds come back from a visit to a great school feeling like they have finally felt like they belonged.

 

 

There's a reason the average age at community colleges is so high. People wait to be eligible.

This is fine when this is what they want or if they weren't sure what they wanted at a younger age. It seems like a crime when it's solely due to what mom & dad forced.

 

 

 

I don't even know what to say about this.

 

There are many things wrong with the American system of higher education, but financial aid, aid to first-generation college students, and outreach to disadvantaged children are not the things that are wrong. Community colleges serve a valuable educational purpose, but that purpose is not as a second-tier system for poor kids. Nobody has the right to tell a child that they shouldn't attend a university, because they are poor, minority, or have uneducated parents. That is the complete opposite of what we should be working toward as a society.

 

I was one of the lucky ones. My mother refused to fill out the FAFSA, but I was able to attend a good private university on a full academic scholarship. I had never even visited the school before I arrived with bags in hand to check into the dorms. My family was homeless at the time and not very supportive, to put it mildly. I was the first in my family to attend college; my mother had been the first generation to graduate high school; her mother only had a 3rd grade education.

 

I'm glad nobody ever told me I had to stick with my people, where I belong. I belonged in a good university, because I had earned a place there with great grades and test scores.

Liking your post was NOT enough. Not even close to enough. I'm glad you were one of the lucky ones!

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Just expanding on the list.  Age for a job varies a little so do the rules for driving.

 

Age 14 = hold a job, and pay taxes

Age 16 = you can drive a car

Age 14-17 = Charged as an adult if you commit a crime

Age 18 = you can vote, enter the military, get married

Age 21 = you can finally have a beer

Age 25 = No longer require you parents tax information for the FAFSA

Age 26= you can finally rent a car and get off mom and dad's health insurance plan

 

Age 15 - Female can marry without parental consent, 17 for males. But in Nebraska, they have to be 19...so you can make the decision to serve your country in the military at 18, but can't marry.

 

It's nuts!

 

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Creekland, I think you are overestimating what Fafsa will result in for most people. Just not that much money there. 

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Duke. No. I think the disconnect here comes from aspirations.

 

I keep forgetting I'm on a board where many people aspire to that, buy their children smart phones, and even cars.

 

 

 

I think that there are two different things here: children aspiring to attend selective universities; children being given expensive lifestyle items.

 

FWIW, Calvin (at Oxford) does not have a car (or a driving licence) and only got a smart phone just before going off to university, when it was cheaper to do that then buy a camera to record last events with friends before he went away.

 

L

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Creekland, I think you are overestimating what Fafsa will result in for most people. Just not that much money there. 

 

If people are thinking I'm saying the money comes from the Federal Gov't, then I'm not being clear.  Very little comes from the Feds in either loans or grants.

 

However, certain schools (some public, more private) use that info (or info from its more in depth cousin the CSS Profile) to provide far more aid to need-based students and much of that comes in grants.  If a family's EFC is affordable, then they should be looking for these schools.  Sometimes the EFC is 0.

 

The tricky part is one has to be accepted into these schools.  They are VERY popular - in part - due to their extremely good aid, but generally also with other students as they tend to be top schools.  Therefore, this works best with top academic students.  Top is relative, of course.  NMF can pretty much find places where they can go for free, but in my school (where I work), I've also seen it happen with lower scores.

 

Nova Southeastern is a school to check out with lower scores (still higher than average - I believe 1280 M/CR was the cut off my guy's application year).

 

And... these schools may not end up being free or free from loans, but often they can end up less expensive than (or the same as) state schools or community college.

 

All three of my boys are going to private schools for the same or less cost than public schools in our state.  Middle son is attending a close to 70K/year school but it's costing us 1K less than one of our state schools (that also offered aid).

 

And NONE of this need based aid is available without parent signatures on the FAFSA (or CSS Profile for some schools).  Merit aid can be at times.  Need based aid is not.  Parents don't necessarily have to pay a thing (esp with EFC of 0).  They just need to fill out the forms.  Students (and guidance) need to select the schools carefully.  Not all schools are good with need-based aid.  

 

It can really pay to put some hours in investigating.  The first step is calculating your specific EFC.  If it's not affordable, then one needs to look toward merit aid.  Again NMF need never go to community colleges unless they WANT to be there.  This latter part is just fine, of course.  Wanting to and feeling it is their only option are two completely different things.

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It is easy to think back many years to when we went through college and forget how much things have changed since then.  I have made that mistake often during our (continuing) years of sending children through college. 

 

I was graduated from the apparently dirty-word Duke University, nearly forty years ago.  I chose that school because their $10,000 music scholarship was going to stretch much further than the $100 (seemed like a joke, but this was the figure) scholarship from Princeton.  When I gave back the scholarship at the end of my freshman year, my parents were generous enough to take out private loans to cover my finishing school.  Graduate school was paid for by me using a mix of government and private loans.

 

My own children (three of them thus far) all began at community college, which we could do without borrowing.  One went on to a wonderful "blue collar" career, of which we are quite proud.  One received a hefty transfer-student scholarship to the best local university.  He is covering his own graduate school.  One still is at CC.  Life is good for them all.

 

The "stay with your own kind" was a very strange comment for me to digest.  A bigoted public high school tried that nasty stroke on my mother, telling her that, as a poverty-level girl living by the railroad tracks (actual case, in fact) she stood no chance of making anything of herself, so the college scholarship for high academic achievement was going to be given to the minister's daughter, who was "somebody".  My spunky mom showed them.  Scraped through college, married her high school sweetheart (to whom she has been married for nearly seventy years), built a successful career, and raised her children.       

 

As for Duke, the degree opened some doors for me.  No reason to pretend that it did not.  Despite that, I have watched the school change over the decades, and I would not send my children to that place, even with scholarship money.  They are doing just fine without it.  . . . as would have I.

 

 

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I think that this is just too gray of an area to make any broad and sweeping statements.  I think most people would say that kids over a certain age, if they simply don't have any parental support, will need to learn how to navigate things on their own and figure out the path that works for them.  However, with the FAFSA being required to qualify for any aid, it's just not fair to the students whose parents won't help them.  They are basing the aid available to these students on what the formula states the parents should be able to pay.  However, if those parents aren't paying anything, then that puts the student in a real bind.

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Just expanding on the list.  Age for a job varies a little so do the rules for driving.

 

Age 14 = hold a job, and pay taxes

Age 16 = you can drive a car

Age 14-17 = Charged as an adult if you commit a crime

Age 18 = you can vote, enter the military, get married

Age 21 = you can finally have a beer

Age 25 = No longer require you parents tax information for the FAFSA

Age 26= you can finally rent a car and get off mom and dad's health insurance plan

 

Age 17 = You get your pilots licence

Age 35 = You can be president of the US (Finally!!)

 

However at the other end

 

Age 65= You get your commercial pilots licence revoked

...

 

Guess there is a space of a couple of decades you are considered "adult" before you are returned to the "dependent" status again bit by bit

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1. Teachers aren't paid all that much. Fafsa limits are fairly low.

 

2. As teachers in the state, they likely receive a discount for their children at state universities. That would make the comparison to an out of state school much different than what you are seeing. It is a substantial discount.

 

I have never heard of teachers getting any kind of discount.  Which states offer that, I might have to move!

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I think that there are two different things here: children aspiring to attend selective universities; children being given expensive lifestyle items.

 

FWIW, Calvin (at Oxford) does not have a car (or a driving licence) and only got a smart phone just before going off to university, when it was cheaper to do that then buy a camera to record last events with friends before he went away.

 

L

 

I bought my own camera... and phone.

 

I understand that there is a substantial difference between a selective education and a lifestyle accessory, but you must understand that vanishingly few poor people aspire to Harvard.

 

I didn't even know that Harvard offered its own need-based aid until I was over 30. I thought it was all merit. I had the scores etc. to apply but it never crossed my mind. Looking back, I should have applied. But I thought they would ding me because I went to a poor school.

 

Please understand that I know now I was wrong.

 

But that is how poor kids think. My mom didn't know any better to tell me differently. She just thought--we can't afford that.

 

So when I talk about options for the poor, I am including the caveat that they are options which poor people would know exist and aspire to.

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I bought my own camera... and phone.

 

I understand that there is a substantial difference between a selective education and a lifestyle accessory, but you must understand that vanishingly few poor people aspire to Harvard.

 

I didn't even know that Harvard offered its own need-based aid until I was over 30. I thought it was all merit. I had the scores etc. to apply but it never crossed my mind. Looking back, I should have applied. But I thought they would ding me because I went to a poor school.

 

Please understand that I know now I was wrong.

 

But that is how poor kids think. My mom didn't know any better to tell me differently. She just thought--we can't afford that.

 

So when I talk about options for the poor, I am including the caveat that they are options which poor people would know exist and aspire to.

 

This is why I try to educate both students and parents IRL (and here) when I have the opportunity.  It isn't just the Ivies or equivalent that are good with aid either, but schools that are super good do tend to be higher level schools.

 

And in our state, many can end up just as inexpensive or less expensive than our state schools.

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The Ivies have also tried to make it a lot more obvious that they would very much like to recruit talented but low-income students lately, with the "waiving tuition if your income is under x dollars" and the like.

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I have read all of the thread to this point.

 

No matter what may have been the terms within the divorce decree for her parents, this is a young woman who does not get along well with her parents.  I cannot respect her for suing them when all she has to do is cut her ties and move on with her life.  I think she is very selfish.  For all that I know, her parents may also be just as selfish.  A lawsuit over something like this, however, hints at the girl's character, and those hints do not show something enviable.

 

 

 

I think it hints more at the character of the girls parents.

 

I don't understand. Are you implying they are selfish and do not want to pay for her education? I love my daughter. She's lovely. We won't be paying for her education. She's a freshman, welcome to live at home, use our car, eat our food, and commute. As an adult, if she would like to make other choices, she is welcome to do so, but not at my expense. I paid for my education. DH paid for his - through the military to the tune of $65,000 and then some.

 

And I can honestly say her character is showing. She works hard, doesn't drink, doesn't take it for granted, and is a serious student. That's not a reflection of us, but of HER and HER choices.

 

There is NO way, with young children in my home, I'd let her set a precedent of behavior in my home. Nope. No way. And I think this smacks of entitlement.

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I have never heard of teachers getting any kind of discount.  Which states offer that, I might have to move!

TN does for certain. Pretty sure this was a fairly common practice. I haven't checked into all the states. (Not invested in it/not worth my time.) 

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:svengo:

 

Have you yourself come from a poor-middle-class family and tried to get in? Surely you didn't do it by taking out all the loans and trying to make it among the 1%?

 

People are setting their kids up for huge disappointment.

 

There are limited spots at the Ivies--very limited. I know people who've done it and it was not just hard, it was harsh.

 

There are limited funds. I don't care what they say. I care what they do. They do finesse admissions to ensure that they continue to stay afloat and part of that means they are not really need-blind.

 

Many, many, MANY poor and middle-class kids have ruined their finances for life by aspiring to colleges they could not afford with incompatible professional goals, because they thought that they should aim for the best education and the most virtuous career. So now we have social workers with $60k in debt living on the poverty line.

 

Telling young people to hope on charity scholarships and loans to get a degree from a university priced to sell to the upper classes is a cruel way to start them out in this world.

 

There are enough community college to state university success stories for that to be a viable, meritocratic path to success that does not risk a students' taking on endless loans.

 

The assertion that the poor shouldn't have to do this is just silly. That's like saying teachers shouldn't have to buy their own supplies, or that nurses shouldn't have to sleep in their cars, or that social workers with PhDs and masters' degrees shouldn't be eligible for the programs they are helping disburse. Nice in theory, not the reality.

 

My kids will be going to community college and working. I'm not going to set them up for a lifetime of debt, or for the insane pressure that comes with trying to get a full ride straight to Harvard. There is no virtue in denying the existence of our class system.

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Telling young people to hope on charity scholarships and loans to get a degree from a university priced to sell to the upper classes is a cruel way to start them out in this world.

 

There are enough community college to state university success stories for that to be a viable, meritocratic path to success that does not risk a students' taking on endless loans.

 

...

 

My kids will be going to community college and working. I'm not going to set them up for a lifetime of debt, or for the insane pressure that comes with trying to get a full ride straight to Harvard. There is no virtue in denying the existence of our class system.

 

There is nothing at all wrong with the choice you are thinking your kids will follow if it's a good fit for them.  It's a good fit for many.

 

However, it's pretty cruel to make that their only choice when the students involved really are capable of more and can get good financing (not high loans).

 

I've seen enough success stories of this happening to know it can also be a viable meritocratic path to success.

 

It certainly doesn't have to be Harvard.  There are many Top 100 colleges worthy of consideration for the student who has the right fit for this.

 

And again, some of us live in states where many private college offers are just as inexpensive as our state schools.  My two "non 1%" kids are good examples of this.  There are plenty others I could list from my experience at school.  (And there are plenty who only want CC - nothing beyond that - who also do well.  The fit needs to match the student to be "the best.")

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Have you yourself come from a poor-middle-class family and tried to get in? Surely you didn't do it by taking out all the loans and trying to make it among the 1%?

 

People are setting their kids up for huge disappointment.

 

There are limited spots at the Ivies--very limited. I know people who've done it and it was not just hard, it was harsh.

 

*snip*

 

Telling young people to hope on charity scholarships and loans to get a degree from a university priced to sell to the upper classes is a cruel way to start them out in this world.

 

*snip*

 

My kids will be going to community college and working. I'm not going to set them up for a lifetime of debt, or for the insane pressure that comes with trying to get a full ride straight to Harvard. There is no virtue in denying the existence of our class system.

 

A scholarship isn't charity; it's a scholarship. It can be awarded for academic achievement (National Merit Scholarships, private scholarships, etc), for exceptional talent (music, art, etc), or for people in special circumstances (first-gen students, single-parents returning to school, etc). Most scholarships are privately funded by people who choose to donate money to their alma mater.

 

Perhaps you are confusing scholarships with Pell grants? A Pell grant is money from the government to help very poor students pay for college. It does not have to be repaid. You generally have to have a poverty level household income to qualify, and the amount of Pell grant money that can be awarded per school year is relatively low. I guess you could consider that charity, but if it is, then it's the sort of government charity I'm in huge support of. I'm happy to know my tax dollars are going to help the poorest children in America attend college without taking out loans.

 

I grew up in poverty; we were homeless for stretches. I attended a good university on a full academic scholarship. I earned that scholarship by having better grades and test scores than my fellow incoming freshman, who generally came from much more privileged backgrounds than me. My younger sister followed me to the same school. She had both a talent scholarship and a Pell grant, which together almost covered the cost of her tuition. She made up the difference and covered living expenses by working throughout college. We both graduated debt free.

 

While the majority of the students at my university came from affluent backgrounds, I had many friends who also came from generational poverty. We are all now a part of the college-educated middle class. Take that American class system. Now my husband and I donate every year to my alma mater's scholarship fund. That is not charity. I benefited from the benevolence of those who came before me, and I am happy to now donate so that future students may benefit.

 

There is nothing wrong with choosing to go the community college route. Many people who choose that route are very successful and happy. However, it is wrong to tell a certain class of children that community college is their only route to a successful, debt-free life or that they will wind up with a "lifetime of debt" if they attend a good university. That is simply not true. You may have personal experience with poverty, but I don't think you have a lot of experience with navigating the university system.

 

FYI: As a general rule, Harvard does not offer academic scholarships, so no one ever gets "a full ride straight to Harvard". Harvard does, however, offer some of the most generous financial aid for students in poverty. My understanding of the current scale is that Harvard students with household incomes below $65,000 pay absolutely nothing toward the cost of tuition, room, board, and fees. Their only issue is getting poor students to apply. Apparently there's this rumor going around that poor students should go to community college no matter how high their SAT scores are . . . you know . . . "You have to stick with your people, where you belong." :)

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FYI: As a general rule, Harvard does not offer academic scholarships, so no one ever gets "a full ride straight to Harvard". Harvard does, however, offer some of the most generous financial aid for students in poverty. My understanding of the current scale is that Harvard students with household incomes below $65,000 pay absolutely nothing toward the cost of tuition, room, board, and fees. Their only issue is getting poor students to apply. Apparently there's this rumor going around that poor students should go to community college no matter how high their SAT scores are . . . you know . . . "You have to stick with your people, where you belong." :)

 

Cornell also does this. It's a good thing nobody told my brother to stick with his own people before he applied. It was an outstanding educational and intellectual experience for him, and he paid nothing because the family AGI was so low.

 

Now, I *do* agree that relying on getting into an Ivy to pay for college is ludicrous and students should have a backup plan. I also think that students shouldn't spend immense amounts of time doing things that they are not interested in to make themselves more attractive to an Ivy.

 

But there is absolutely no reason why a talented student from low income shouldn't *apply*. Most of them have application fee waivers for families where it would be a genuine financial hardship to apply, so it costs nothing other than the time to write an application showcasing yourself. 

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We must be talking past each other because I am not suggesting not to work your way up m, through the Ivies if you like spending your money on things like that.

 

What I am trying to say is that it is foolish for a poor kid to take a rich kids path by taking loans or expecting a full ride because he's a first chair tuba player or something.

 

Work. Not dreams.

 

We have got to stop pretending universities are meritocratic. It is the basis for the whole lie upon which our society is based. "If you are poor, it is all your fault and if you work a trade, you don't deserve a living wage. You could have gone to college--

 

If you really tried."

 

Eta--One anecdote is not data. Obviously some people, the top .001% applying, can get merit aid. But for my kids, who will have parents with debt bit high incomes, and probably be in the top 5% at best, these miracles don't exist.

 

I'll let them apply but they should not feel ashamed when they are rejected or when we say sorry, we are still paying rent and our own student loans.

 

The tippy top of achievement is not a helpful benchmark. Let's talk about the top 10% but not top 1%.

 

You can't navigate your way through that.

 

And I am not looking forward to that day with my own kids when I explain that ues, they meet the academic benchmarks, but no, we can't afford it and no, they aren't guaranteed a spot anywhere, but for $300 they can help some big colleges get some good rejection numbers.

 

I am not looking forward to explaining to my kids what I found out the hard way.

 

If we are lucky, they will go overseas. If they are not, we will find a way to pay for what we can.

 

I am not trying to deride anyone's degree, either. We all worked hard. Obviously those who went to the ivies did that much better on their SATs and APs and so on. But they are a tiny minority and we cannot all get a full ride.

 

Eta finally, sorry are we talking about what the system OUGHT to be like? Because that is so insanely different from what is actually happening, and my values so, so far from those that currently govern the system, it would be pointless. People ought to be admitted on the basis of academics and be able to study full time. But that is not the system our children face.

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A scholarship isn't charity; it's a scholarship. It can be awarded for academic achievement (National Merit Scholarships, private scholarships, etc), for exceptional talent (music, art, etc), or for people in special circumstances (first-gen students, single-parents returning to school, etc). Most scholarships are privately funded by people who choose to donate money to their alma mater.

 

Perhaps you are confusing scholarships with Pell grants? A Pell grant is money from the government to help very poor students pay for college. It does not have to be repaid. You generally have to have a poverty level household income to qualify, and the amount of Pell grant money that can be awarded per school year is relatively low. I guess you could consider that charity, but if it is, then it's the sort of government charity I'm in huge support of. I'm happy to know my tax dollars are going to help the poorest children in America attend college without taking out loans.

 

I grew up in poverty; we were homeless for stretches. I attended a good university on a full academic scholarship. I earned that scholarship by having better grades and test scores than my fellow incoming freshman, who generally came from much more privileged backgrounds than me. My younger sister followed me to the same school. She had both a talent scholarship and a Pell grant, which together almost covered the cost of her tuition. She made up the difference and covered living expenses by working throughout college. We both graduated debt free.

 

While the majority of the students at my university came from affluent backgrounds, I had many friends who also came from generational poverty. We are all now a part of the college-educated middle class. Take that American class system. Now my husband and I donate every year to my alma mater's scholarship fund. That is not charity. I benefited from the benevolence of those who came before me, and I am happy to now donate so that future students may benefit.

 

There is nothing wrong with choosing to go the community college route. Many people who choose that route are very successful and happy. However, it is wrong to tell a certain class of children that community college is their only route to a successful, debt-free life or that they will wind up with a "lifetime of debt" if they attend a good university. That is simply not true. You may have personal experience with poverty, but I don't think you have a lot of experience with navigating the university system.

 

FYI: As a general rule, Harvard does not offer academic scholarships, so no one ever gets "a full ride straight to Harvard". Harvard does, however, offer some of the most generous financial aid for students in poverty. My understanding of the current scale is that Harvard students with household incomes below $65,000 pay absolutely nothing toward the cost of tuition, room, board, and fees. Their only issue is getting poor students to apply. Apparently there's this rumor going around that poor students should go to community college no matter how high their SAT scores are . . . you know . . . "You have to stick with your people, where you belong." :)

 

:iagree:   Once again - a like was simply not enough.

 

There are options.  It's not all Ivy or cc.  If a family can meet their EFC there are even more options.

 

My grandparents were farmers and factory workers (pending which side).  There's nothing wrong with those occupations for those who want them.  But my parents weren't limited in their choices and went to college.  They encouraged my sister and I to do the same.  I have no regrets.

 

Hubby's parents were a SAHM and a tobacco foreman.  There's nothing wrong with either for those who want those occupations.  But they encouraged their kids to go to college.  Hubby even had some debt (5 figures worth) when he graduated as an engineer.  We paid off that debt in 5 years and have reaped the benefits ever since.

 

Not one of our stories involve Ivies or cc.

 

If my guys wanted trades they could go into trades.  But I'll admit we encouraged college due to their personalities and desired fields.

 

Again - no regrets.

 

At school?  I encourage college - even top colleges (gasp!), community college, trades, farming, or the military.  It all depends upon the capabilities and desires of those I'm talking to - not their socio-economic status.  For those looking at college, I also offer money tips - the same ones I mention on here.

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A scholarship isn't charity; it's a scholarship. It can be awarded for academic achievement (National Merit Scholarships, private scholarships, etc), for exceptional talent (music, art, etc), or for people in special circumstances (first-gen students, single-parents returning to school, etc). Most scholarships are privately funded by people who choose to donate money to their alma mater.

 

Perhaps you are confusing scholarships with Pell grants? A Pell grant is money from the government to help very poor students pay for college. It does not have to be repaid. You generally have to have a poverty level household income to qualify, and the amount of Pell grant money that can be awarded per school year is relatively low. I guess you could consider that charity, but if it is, then it's the sort of government charity I'm in huge support of. I'm happy to know my tax dollars are going to help the poorest children in America attend college without taking out loans.

 

I grew up in poverty; we were homeless for stretches. I attended a good university on a full academic scholarship. I earned that scholarship by having better grades and test scores than my fellow incoming freshman, who generally came from much more privileged backgrounds than me. My younger sister followed me to the same school. She had both a talent scholarship and a Pell grant, which together almost covered the cost of her tuition. She made up the difference and covered living expenses by working throughout college. We both graduated debt free.

 

While the majority of the students at my university came from affluent backgrounds, I had many friends who also came from generational poverty. We are all now a part of the college-educated middle class. Take that American class system. Now my husband and I donate every year to my alma mater's scholarship fund. That is not charity. I benefited from the benevolence of those who came before me, and I am happy to now donate so that future students may benefit.

 

There is nothing wrong with choosing to go the community college route. Many people who choose that route are very successful and happy. However, it is wrong to tell a certain class of children that community college is their only route to a successful, debt-free life or that they will wind up with a "lifetime of debt" if they attend a good university. That is simply not true. You may have personal experience with poverty, but I don't think you have a lot of experience with navigating the university system.

 

FYI: As a general rule, Harvard does not offer academic scholarships, so no one ever gets "a full ride straight to Harvard". Harvard does, however, offer some of the most generous financial aid for students in poverty. My understanding of the current scale is that Harvard students with household incomes below $65,000 pay absolutely nothing toward the cost of tuition, room, board, and fees. Their only issue is getting poor students to apply. Apparently there's this rumor going around that poor students should go to community college no matter how high their SAT scores are . . . you know . . . "You have to stick with your people, where you belong." :)

 

:iagree:

My dad worked in a factory doing manual labor, & my mom worked at a drycleaner ironing clothes. Our house had no books, except those I bought with my babysitting money. My education came from a small town public school in the middle of nowhere (not even a community college!) & a library card that took me wherever I could imagine.

 

Hard work, determination, and a willingness to dream ARE important. No one encouraged my dreams, but thankfully, no one squashed them, either. I earned an almost full scholarship to a very good university, and that opened up the world for me.

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I have a different story.  I grew up poor with disinterested parents.  I had moderately high stats (no APs or anything because my lower-class high school didn't offer any and, frankly, I had never heard of them until I was in college).  My high school teachers kept telling me I was college material and that I should aim high. No one in my family had ever gone to college.  My dad had an 8th grade education; my mom graduated from a high school in Detroit but her courses were mostly sewing, cooking, and typing.  When it came time to apply, I selected three random schools and submitted applications.  Those schools were the AFA, Mount Holyoke and Whitworth.  :confused1:   I had no idea what I was doing and no one was guiding me. Filling out the FAFSA was a joke. My parents hadn't filed taxes in years.  I had to go through every paper in the house to find the tax forms and sat up for weeks learning how to file taxes so I could have something to submit.  Instead of being applauded for my ingenuity, I was disciplined for 'forcing' my parents to complete and file taxes.  I was told to quit dreaming, that I would never amount to anything and I needed to be realistic.

 

Funny thing, I was accepted to all three schools.  MHC and Whitworth offered enough academic and financial aid to make those schools free.  The tuitions of both far exceeded my family's yearly income.  The AFA is free once admitted.

 

Long story short - for four years I had people telling me I was over stepping my bounds and needed to come back down to earth.  As a result, I made decisions that have negatively impacted my life.  Gone are my dreams; residing in my heart are multiple regrets.  The naysayers were right; I never amounted to anything; I stayed with my people.  Had one person told me that I belonged, that I was worthy, that I was capable...maybe things would have been different.

 

I really feel for the students who are being told to 'stay with their people' to settle for less than their dreams.  They should be told to set high goals and do what they can to achieve them.  That's why I am telling my children if they want to apply to Harvard, Princeton, Duke, or Starfleet Academy, they have my full support (money issues pending).  ;)

 

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Hard work, determination, and a willingness to dream ARE important. No one encouraged my dreams, but thankfully, no one squashed them, either. I earned an almost full scholarship to a very good university, and that opened up the world for me.

 

I'll admit to encouraging dreams when I see the foundations are there.  

 

I only "squash" them when I see the student who can barely do 8th grade work as a sophomore looking up data on how to get into Notre Dame for their English project on what to do after high school.  "Squash" is in quotes because I try to redirect to suitable paths gently - not truly a squash in point blank terms.  I see no point in that.

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I have a different story.  I grew up poor with disinterested parents.  I had moderately high stats (no APs or anything because my lower-class high school didn't offer any and, frankly, I had never heard of them until I was in college).  My high school teachers kept telling me I was college material and that I should aim high. No one in my family had ever gone to college.  My dad had an 8th grade education; my mom graduated from a high school in Detroit but her courses were mostly sewing, cooking, and typing.  When it came time to apply, I selected three random schools and submitted applications.  Those schools were the AFA, Mount Holyoke and Whitworth.  :confused1:   I had no idea what I was doing and no one was guiding me. Filling out the FAFSA was a joke. My parents hadn't filed taxes in years.  I had to go through every paper in the house to find the tax forms and sat up for weeks learning how to file taxes so I could have something to submit.  Instead of being applauded for my ingenuity, I was disciplined for 'forcing' my parents to complete and file taxes.  I was told to quit dreaming, that I would never amount to anything and I needed to be realistic.

 

Funny thing, I was accepted to all three schools.  MHC and Whitworth offered enough academic and financial aid to make those schools free.  The tuitions of both far exceeded my family's yearly income.  The AFA is free once admitted.

 

Long story short - for four years I had people telling me I was over stepping my bounds and needed to come back down to earth.  As a result, I made decisions that have negatively impacted my life.  Gone are my dreams; residing in my heart are multiple regrets.  The naysayers were right; I never amounted to anything; I stayed with my people.  Had one person told me that I belonged, that I was worthy, that I was capable...maybe things would have been different.

 

I really feel for the students who are being told to 'stay with their people' to settle for less than their dreams.  They should be told to set high goals and do what they can to achieve them.  That's why I am telling my children if they want to apply to Harvard, Princeton, Duke, or Starfleet Academy, they have my full support (money issues pending).  ;)

 

And this is why I do what I do - at school, on here, or with my own kids.

 

The happiest people I see are people who find their niche and that niche just doesn't depend upon parental socio-economic status.

 

Not all parents have the depth of info.  Most of us don't.  Boards like this are terrific in that they help us glean from multiple experiences.

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(money issues pending).

 

You know... I think people are misinterpreting what I'm saying.

 

I'm only talking about money issues pending.

 

I'm talking about a scenario in which the student's parents don't fill out the FAFSA--how can that child succeed?

 

And my answer is--don't take out huge loans, don't think you have to go to a big-name school. Stay in your community and go step-by-step.

 

Of COURSE there are many paths to college and students should dream big.

 

But without any FAFSA data which is what I thought we were talking about, it is unrealistic to get into big schools because there is not that much meritocratic aid out there.

 

Again, no FAFSA.

 

If the student has parental and family support, with or without money, that is a whole different ballgame.

 

"Stay with your people" was meant to express my desire to help people whose parents abandoned them financially, and who now would be financing 100% of pre-25-year-old or pre-marriage or pre-vet tuition in cash, on their own. That is totally different advice than what we would normally give to people whose parents fill out the FAFSA.

 

Not because that's fair.

 

Not because that's right.

 

Not because we live in a great society.

 

But simply because we live in a screwed up society and if your parents won't pay for college, you are kind of screwed. But you can still make it.

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Fafsa is not a written in stone requirement. Financial aid people at private schools arent stupid...they can get the free lunch info from the high school and determine that a poverty child family needs more than merit money when the parents refuse to do paperwork, or are incapable. The guidance counselor or teacher helping the student should be pointing out that private colleges and places like UHuntsville and College of the Ozarks and the military academies exist as well as local scholarships.

 

We have a local scholarship for poor students who need help just getting to their free ride. It was started by an observant teacher, and the community support is outstanding. There are also private donors who will help, that are not advertised. People are willing to help those that are willing to help themselves and are in need.

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You know... I think people are misinterpreting what I'm saying.

 

I'm only talking about money issues pending.

 

I'm talking about a scenario in which the student's parents don't fill out the FAFSA--how can that child succeed?

 

And my answer is--don't take out huge loans, don't think you have to go to a big-name school. Stay in your community and go step-by-step.

 

Of COURSE there are many paths to college and students should dream big.

 

But without any FAFSA data which is what I thought we were talking about, it is unrealistic to get into big schools because there is not that much meritocratic aid out there.

 

Again, no FAFSA.

 

If the student has parental and family support, with or without money, that is a whole different ballgame.

 

"Stay with your people" was meant to express my desire to help people whose parents abandoned them financially, and who now would be financing 100% of pre-25-year-old or pre-marriage or pre-vet tuition in cash, on their own. That is totally different advice than what we would normally give to people whose parents fill out the FAFSA.

 

Not because that's fair.

 

Not because that's right.

 

Not because we live in a great society.

 

But simply because we live in a screwed up society and if your parents won't pay for college, you are kind of screwed. But you can still make it.

I don't disagree with what you say here. Financial considerations are a big part of college applications. My kids apps will include service academies, ROTC schools and schools that give lots of merit aid, because even after we fill out a FAFSA the EFC will be more than we can probably pay.

 

But there are great educations available that don't include the hyper selective schools like Harvard and Berkley and MIT. To say that you have to consider cost and not go eyeballs deep in debt for a degree that is emotionally satisfying but not financially rewarding is not to tell someone to stay with their own kind. It is to say that spending $80-100k on a teaching degree or art history or communications may not be a wise choice.

 

I went to a service academy. My classmates parents included Navy Captains and Admirals, career enlisted, airline mechanics, Coors manufacturing workers, farmers, Navy pilots killed in Vietnam, oil industry workers, and chemical plant operators. Being with my people meant being with smart, competitive, fit, fierce, funny, commuted people who worked their tails off at the academy and served in the military after graduation.

 

I agree that crushing debt is a bad choice. I don't agree that it has anything to do with staying with your kind. I agree that signing up for loans with a poorly conceived something will work out attitude is foolish. I think some kids are not realistic about their academic level compared to the average SAT score or course experience of students accepted to and graduating from hyper competitive schools. But this is about the readiness of a individual students for specific academic settings, not about holding back a strong student because of their social class.

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Fafsa is not a written in stone requirement. Financial aid people at private schools arent stupid...they can get the free lunch info from the high school and determine that a poverty child family needs more than merit money when the parents refuse to do paperwork, or are incapable. 

 

Incapable can be helped if they are willing.  Those who refuse also can be the same folks who have kids who skip lunch because they have no money rather than fill out the forms for free/reduced lunch.

 

It can, indeed, be difficult to help the kids whose parents won't help them go to college whether financially (they can afford it) or with need-based aid (refusal to fill out forms).

 

I feel really, really sad for those kids.  If they have high scores they can sometimes get enough merit aid, but even then, many of these parents won't provide transportation or similar.  Many are of the mindset that education is elite and they don't want their offspring joining that class.

 

FORTUNATELY, parents like this are not in the majority - not even close - but we can get a couple each year.  Their academically talented kids are quite hindered.  Sometimes cc can be an option their parents are ok with.  Sometimes not.

 

It is a totally different issue than parents/students who just don't know what they need to know to determine their best path.  The latter are extremely common - esp since college options (and costs/finances/acceptance rates) are a bit different today than they were a few moons ago.

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Incapable can be helped if they are willing.  Those who refuse also can be the same folks who have kids who skip lunch because they have no money rather than fill out the forms for free/reduced lunch.

 

It can, indeed, be difficult to help the kids whose parents won't help them go to college whether financially (they can afford it) or with need-based aid (refusal to fill out forms).

 

I feel really, really sad for those kids.  If they have high scores they can sometimes get enough merit aid, but even then, many of these parents won't provide transportation or similar.  Many are of the mindset that education is elite and they don't want their offspring joining that class.

 

FORTUNATELY, parents like this are not in the majority - not even close - but we can get a couple each year.  Their academically talented kids are quite hindered.  Sometimes cc can be an option their parents are ok with.  Sometimes not.

 

It is a totally different issue than parents/students who just don't know what they need to know to determine their best path.  The latter are extremely common - esp since college options (and costs/finances/acceptance rates) are a bit different today than they were a few moons ago.

 

The whole process can be very overwhelming.  There are so many things to keep track of, so many parts of different applications to file, different college options to consider.

 

I know that I feel overwhelmed and I feel like I'm pretty informed and have been around the block a bit.  I'm also willing to put the effort into a lot of reading and research.  I make time for it and searching the instructions and fine print is a bit of my nature.

 

There are some programs in schools to help parents through the process. AVID is one I've seen at some schools.  I've seen districts offer workshops on college applications and paying for college as part of their college nights.    I think the help is out there for families who know they need help and are willing to ask for it.  

 

Families that are simply opposed to the idea of their kid attending college, whether that is a view that they create an elitist attitude or that colleges are dens of iniquities, will put a serious stumbling block in the way of their kids' attending college.  Work, community college and military service might be options here.  

 

FWIW, I was only the third person in my entire extended family to get a degree.  My mom beat me by a semester, having started at a vocational school after graduation (where she learned secretarial skills including shorthand), taking community college classes (while working there as a secretary), and attending two different four year colleges before finally completing degree requirements.  There is a distinct divide in the extended family between those who found a way to learn (without financial help from my grandparents) and those who didn't.  

 

My own parents did not fill out the FAFSA.  It had been a tumultuous couple of years with a cross country move, job loss, deaths in the family and more.  I don't think they even filed taxes until August or later that year.  I think they were well-intentioned and meant  to complete it, but the FAFSA was just too much for them that year.  I've had a chance to read my counselor recommendation letter and LOR's from teachers.  I'm glad they spoke to my academic ability and willingness to work hard.  I'm glad that people weren't telling me to stay with my kind.

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You know... I think people are misinterpreting what I'm saying.

 

I'm only talking about money issues pending.

 

I'm talking about a scenario in which the student's parents don't fill out the FAFSA--how can that child succeed?

 

And my answer is--don't take out huge loans, don't think you have to go to a big-name school. Stay in your community and go step-by-step.

 

Of COURSE there are many paths to college and students should dream big.

 

But without any FAFSA data which is what I thought we were talking about, it is unrealistic to get into big schools because there is not that much meritocratic aid out there.

 

Again, no FAFSA.

 

If the student has parental and family support, with or without money, that is a whole different ballgame.

 

"Stay with your people" was meant to express my desire to help people whose parents abandoned them financially, and who now would be financing 100% of pre-25-year-old or pre-marriage or pre-vet tuition in cash, on their own. That is totally different advice than what we would normally give to people whose parents fill out the FAFSA.

 

Not because that's fair.

 

Not because that's right.

 

Not because we live in a great society.

 

But simply because we live in a screwed up society and if your parents won't pay for college, you are kind of screwed. But you can still make it.

 

I keep responding to you, because I did it without the FAFSA. Yes, there is a way! Yes, you can succeed under those circumstances. It does not have to be Ivies versus community college.

 

I was fortunate enough to have Ivy-level test scores. I did not apply to a single Ivy-league school. I did my homework, which involved a lot of legwork and a library card back before the internet, and only applied to top-100 schools that offered academic scholarships. Due to my whole "homeless teen" situation, living at "home" and going to community college was not an option, so I also took the ASVAB. I thought that enlisting with the hope of eventually utilizing the GI bill would have to be my backup option if I couldn't work out the scholarship situation. I spent a lot of time talking with our school's army recruiter - nice guy. I wound up accepting a scholarship to a good school in an area with a low cost of living. This guy teared up at my senior awards night when my scholarship was announced. I've never seen a recruiter so happy to not recruit a student. He had seen my test scores and knew that enlistment was probably not the right place for me regardless of my "class".

 

I had a friend in similar circumstances who went through the court process to become legally emancipated. She had a friend whose dad was a cop, and he helped her navigate the process and then testified on her behalf. She didn't quite have the test scores for a scholarship, but with the legal emancipation she was able to go to a top-100 school with full financial aid. I have known others, who didn't have the scores for scholarships or the dramatic situation necessary for emancipation, who chose a more affordable state school where they could work their way through. I understand now that I had even more options than I thought. I did not fully understand the emancipation process or the financial aid appeal process, so I didn't understand the many ways I could have worked around my situation. I'm glad I never considered state schools, because that would not have been the right place for me. If necessary, though, I could have made that work also.

 

What you are suggesting - "Stay in your community and go step by step." - does not make sense for most kids in this situation. Honestly, as someone who has been there, a 4-year university is the single best place to be as an abandoned or financially unsupported teen. Out in "your community" it is nearly impossible to rent an apartment, turn on utilities, or get a credit card to establish credit when you are in that gray 18-21 age range. At a university, you have the safety net of living in a dorm on campus as you transition to adult life. As a university student, you can get medical insurance for yourself and can utilize the on-campus health center. As a university student, you are considered qualified for credit (I believe now at 21 rather than 18), so you can get a first credit card and establish credit in your own name before graduation. I was able to have the stability of living in the dorms. I took out a credit card in my own name as soon as I turned 18. I used it for convenience (things like plane tickets) and paid the balance off each month. At graduation, I was able to move into the real world with a degree and a credit history, so that I could really truly be on my own. I don't think I could have made it without the stepping stone of university.

 

Most kids who have been abandoned emotionally or financially don't have "people" to stay with. So "stay with your people" makes no sense in this context, except, perhaps, as a euphemism for maintaining the status quo where class and race are concerned. This is why it's pushing so many people's buttons. It sounds like that wasn't your intention, but rather, you feel like the system was stacked against you personally as a person of working class background. I'm sorry that you feel disappointed with your personal circumstances, but you may want to consider why you feel so much anger at the idea of poor/working class teens attending universities. I'm sure it's not your intention to crush anyone's dreams, but your rants, aside from spreading the false idea that a college education must come with crushing debt and that good colleges only accept rich kids, seem to be communicating something very different to those around you than what you intend.

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Yes, I understand that, but when you're poor you have to go step by step by step. An AA is a very important step because it's more transferable and takes care of more of the four year, raises your wages while you're working (there is proof of this, I have done studies myself AND I can find links, not that anyone seems to read them LOL), and gets you an opportunity to apply for better merit-based aid.

 

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here but others will read this.

 

Also, many community colleges offer four year technical degrees now. Not to name names, but Florida and Washington State, to name two states, have four-year technical degrees offered at more than one CC. Mainly because of the issues we are discussing here.

 

"What I dislike most is that it is not well designed for the 24 and under crowd whose parents are uninterested in participating in the process."

 

I agree.

 

But even for students whose parents would love to contribute but who have debt--for example, our family is paying off loans incurred during unemployment, divorce, and even my own schooling--it's not set up to ensure that all students can have equal access.

 

It is a deeply, deeply unfair and anti-human system in many ways, and education is just the start.

 

I don't expect it to change in the next ten years so though so I want my kids to be ready. It's a big reason they are learning languages from birth--to get out of this mess.

 

"Prepare your child for the road, not the road for your child." And it's a rough road...

Some wise words here...

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