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Why is it taxes so high if you make almost nothing?  Is this a filing jointly thing?  In NZ, each tax payer is assessed separately from their living arrangement.  So it is definitely worth it for me to earn a small amount because I get to keep 90% of it.

My husband makes a lot.

 

I will make almost nothing because when I go back I will only make a 15/hour if I'm lucky.  

 

I will be taxed on his tax bracket, no matter how we file.  

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CLEP tests run about $125 apiece here (so not a free option as there is no program here that pays for you to take CLEPs)

The program that pays for CLEPs is not state-specific, it's a nation-wide philanthropic initiative called Modern States. They offer vouchers to pay the CLEP fee once you have completed the online prep course (also free), and I've read that some people have even been reimbursed for the administration fee.

 

 

Also, universities in our state DO have a deadline (in the spring of 12th grade or in the summer (usually about 8 weeks) before starting college) for the most recent CLEPs they will accept for transfer/credit-for-exam. So if heavily CLEP-ing in our state, and going straight to college after high school graduation (no gap year), the CLEPs really do have to be taken before, or by high school graduation in order to be used towards the college degree.

It sounds like the issue is not high school graduation, though, but rather completing the exams before enrolling in those particular colleges — CLEPing after HS graduation, including during a gap year (or even several years) would actually be fine, as long as the exams are taken no less than 8 weeks before enrolling, no?

 

When the OP asked about taking a gap year to test out of GenEds using Modern States (which has prep for both APs and CLEPs), you responded that "ALL AP and CLEP tests need to be taken BEFORE your student's official graduation date." While I believe that this is true of APs, it is not the case at the vast majority of colleges that accept CLEPs, and even at the colleges you are referencing in your own state, it does not appear that taking CLEPs during a gap year would be an issue.

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Some schools do allow CLEPs to be taken even as an UG. Our ds needed 2nd semester US history to graduate this semester. He had taken the CLEP for US I his sr yr of high school but didn't take my advice and take II (which he would have easily passed if he had taken it then.) This semester he was facing taking it but really didn't want to, so over Christmas break he studied for it, took and passed it, and was able to drop the course.

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Some schools do allow CLEPs to be taken even as an UG. Our ds needed 2nd semester US history to graduate this semester. He had taken the CLEP for US I his sr yr of high school but didn't take my advice and take II (which he would have easily passed if he had taken it then.) This semester he was facing taking it but really didn't want to, so over Christmas break he studied for it, took and passed it, and was able to drop the course.

Yes, this is the policy at most schools that accept CLEPs, and this is exactly what they were designed for — current undergrads who just need a few more credits to graduate, enrolled students who want to test out of a course when they already know the material, adult learners who may have a gap between starting and finishing a degree and want to get credit for what they have learned on their own, etc.

 

I can understand that a few schools might require that CLEPs be completed before enrolling, although after googling a whole bunch of college CLEP policies, the only ones I found with similar restrictions were U Florida (CLEPs must be taken before the end of the first semester of enrollment), Illinois State (the general CLEPs, like Humanities and Natural Sciences, must be taken before enrollment, but there is no restriction listed for subject tests like Calc or Bio or whatever), and U Nevada (general exams must be taken before sophomore year of enrollment, no restrictions on subject exams). I'm sure there are other schools with similar restrictions, but I would be really surprised if there are any that actually require CLEPs to be taken before HS graduation, since they are not HS tests and are probably not even on the radar of most HS students.

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The program that pays for CLEPs is not state-specific, it's a nation-wide philanthropic initiative called Modern States. They offer vouchers to pay the CLEP fee once you have completed the online prep course (also free), and I've read that some people have even been reimbursed for the administration fee.

 

Cool! First I've heard of this program. :)

Edited by Lori D.

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My husband makes a lot.

 

I will make almost nothing because when I go back I will only make a 15/hour if I'm lucky.  

 

I will be taxed on his tax bracket, no matter how we file.  

 

But by almost nothing you still mean half, right?

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Yes, although while some had the 8-weeks before start of college, some schools we looked at have a mid-spring deadline (sometime in Feb-Mar of 12th grade), so for those schools, CLEPs need to be finished before high school graduation.

Not to beat a dead horse, but are you just referring to students who go directly to college, meaning that for those colleges, the deadline for CLEPs is like "6 months before enrollment" or some thing like that? Or does the college website explicitly say "All CLEP tests must be completed prior to high school graduation or they will not be accepted for credit"? And this applies to all CLEPs, not just the general exams?

 

 

Also good to hear that the Modern States program is far more flexible about the CLEPs.

Modern States is a philanthropic organization that provides AP and CLEP prep classes created by a consortium of colleges including Tufts, Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, St. Johns, Purdue, Davidson, SUNY, etc. The courses are generally 4-6 weeks and if you complete the prep class they give you a voucher that covers the CLEP fee. They call the program "Freshman Year for Free," but they are not a credit-granting entity, they just help students pass CLEPs for free, which they can then transfer to the college of their choice.

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That Modern States thing is pretty incredible.  For people considering things like APs to cover 1st year college credit it looks like a much more affordable (and potentially lower-stress) option,

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That Modern States thing is pretty incredible.  For people considering things like APs to cover 1st year college credit it looks like a much more affordable (and potentially lower-stress) option,

 

Not sure why one would find this lower stress. With AP, the entire credit hinges on a single score at a single exam that is offered only once a year;  it's all-or-nothing based on a single day's performance. In a college class, credit is earned through cumulative work over the course of a semester. I consider that much lower stress than putting all eggs into a single basket.

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Not to beat a dead horse, but are you just referring to...

 

Sorry Corraleno, but due to some real-life things I've got pressing this week, I don't have time to keep going with this topic, as it would require hours of digging up info from 7-8 years back when we were looking into CLEP and the specific colleges. Since my info is older, I've opted to edited my post upstream, and leave it at that. Cheers! :)

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But by almost nothing you still mean half, right?

If you count taxes plus reduced financial aid eligibility from the higher income, maybe still a quarter or a third?

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My parents gave each kid enough money to pay for a year at the state university. We bought a cheaper home than we could afford so we’ll be able to use what we currently use to downpay mortgage to pay for two kids concurrently in state universities.

 

Why is it taxes so high if you make almost nothing?  Is this a filing jointly thing? 

  

But by almost nothing you still mean half, right?

Besides tax there is also childcare cost if someone need to be babysat, and gasoline cost if driving to work is required. My family’s federal tax is at 33% but will drop to 24% due to the recent tax reform. Our state tax bracket is currently at 9.3%. There was a calculator on MSN money that estimates how much someone earns to make it worth being dual income while having kids who need childcare. I would need to pull in about $70k annual before tax to break even childcare and gasoline costs.

While I am thinking of going back to work, it would be when my younger boy is in college so no childcare cost to consider and I would pick somewhere walkable from home or along my husband’s route to work.

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   Besides tax there is also childcare cost if someone need to be babysat, and gasoline cost if driving to work is required. My family’s federal tax is at 33% but will drop to 24% due to the recent tax reform. Our state tax bracket is currently at 9.3%. There was a calculator on MSN money that estimates how much someone earns to make it worth being dual income while having kids who need childcare. I would need to pull in about $70k annual before tax to break even childcare and gasoline costs.

While I am thinking of going back to work, it would be when my younger boy is in college so no childcare cost to consider and I would pick somewhere walkable from home or along my husband’s route to work.

 

I have trouble believing this calculator; it seems ridiculously high considering that the median US family income is 50k.

 

It was definitely worth it financially for me to work for 24k with two kids in daycare. Not to mention the additional long term effect of resume building and, for people who have jobs with benefits, retirement benefits.

Edited by regentrude
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I have trouble believing this calculator; it seems ridiculously high considering that the median US family income is 50k.

My zip code’s median family income is $132,538. Childcare is estimated at at least $18k per child. Gasoline price is about $3.49 per gallon.

If I have sent my kids to public school, after school childcare cost is at least $200/week per child.

 

ETA:

My area’s cost of living is estimated by Bankrate as 47.56% higher than in St. Louis MO-IL Metro.

Edited by Arcadia

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If you count taxes plus reduced financial aid eligibility from the higher income, maybe still a quarter or a third?

 

 

Well, yes, you'd have to pay more for college - but you'd be making the income, you'd just have to pay for something instead of getting the state to pay for it.

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If you count taxes plus reduced financial aid eligibility from the higher income, maybe still a quarter or a third?

 

But if a person makes enough money to be in the top tax brackets, they are not going to be eligible for financial aid. 

 

Even private schools with very generous guidelines don't give aid to families in the top tax brackets, right? 

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Oh, yes, if you're having to pay for childcare, that definitely costs more.  But that's not a taxes issue, it's just a cost of living/working issue.  I mean, if I work outside the home I have to pay for all kinds of things I don't pay for when I stay home; staying home has definite economic value.

 

But it's just not true that you lose all additional income when you work.  You might have to pay for things instead of getting them for free - this is true if you're on food stamps or medicaid too, but most people don't say hey, don't take that job, you lose your food stamps and will have to pay for food! (unless it would really make the situation untenable).  Instead they say great, you have a way to pay for your own food now!  You're moving up in the world!  etc.

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I have trouble believing this calculator; it seems ridiculously high considering that the median US family income is 50k.

 

It was definitely worth it financially for me to work for 24k with two kids in daycare. Not to mention the additional long term effect of resume building and, for people who have jobs with benefits, retirement benefits.

And potentially health insurance benefits. Despite my husband working in healthcare, my health benefits are far cheaper for our family, almost free. His are cheap for him, but would be quite a bit more expensive for our family.

 

When I went back to work, we never paid all that much for childcare beyond what we would have paid anyway for preschool. At times our son could come to work with one of us, and other times he was with friends or at summer day camps he would have attended anyway. And we both had fairly flexible schedules that allowed us to work some at non-traditional times.

 

I know that full-time childcare for very young children can be quite expensive. At least here, it costs more that a year’s tuition at a state school. But most two wage earner families I know don’t use full-time care, even those with young children. They use some, but also use flex scheduling, telecommuting, family help, etc. to greatly reduce the amount of paid care needed. The only people I know using full-time paid care are single moms with children under age six.

 

Edited to add that we’ve also been lucky in that we’ve been able to walk to all four of the jobs we’ve held between us for the twenty years we’ve lived here. One car and no commuting costs/time make a big difference both financially and in quality of life.

Edited by Frances

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I couldn't get child care back when I did the cost calculator ...child care centers are the only cost effective option in hcol and are only open 6 to 6.  Doesn't work with the commute. What most people do after number two arrives is an au pair if they don't have a grandma...otherwise its about six years of nothing left over after commute and child care expenses.

 

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 ...otherwise its about six years of nothing left over after commute and child care expenses.

 

Which is painful, but can still be worth it in terms of increased pay and career advancement over the years. It also keeps your work credits up-to-date for Social Security disability, and most jobs offer at least minimal life insurance (looking at the grimmer side of things).   

 

If a person's preference is to work, and they intend to work for a long time, the zero years can pay off in the long run. Depending on your field, taking off six or more years can have a big impact on lifetime earnings - a person who starts working at 25 and retires at 65 has a 40-year career, and the zero years often occur right when a career is gaining traction. 

 

It was my preference to be home, albeit with some freelancing and side jobs, but I know plenty of people who have a strong preference for working. Some of them are definitely not netting much or any money for a certain period of time. 

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Well, yes, you'd have to pay more for college - but you'd be making the income, you'd just have to pay for something instead of getting the state to pay for it.

For the most part, "the state" isn't paying it. The max government grants don't take much of a bite out of private school tuition. The bulk of the help comes from the college financial aid budget or loans.

 

Many jobs aren't fun, so knowing whether you actually come out ahead is part of figuring out whether it's worth it for your situation.

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Our two that are currently in college got their AA degrees at the local CC and then transferred to UF (they wanted to be Gators). One is doing Mechanical Engineering and the other Business Marketing with two minors. They both have Bright Futures scholarships and got their AA degrees debt free. Now Bright Futures pays 100% of tuition and fees plus $300 per semester for books.

 

One lives off campus in Gainesville and we pay $387 for rent and utilities, and we give him grocery money. The other stays with his brother 1-2 nights per week and lives at home the rest of the time. We really think we can get their Bachellors Degrees with no debt.

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Hi Cindy in FL.

 

Is Newberry a good place to live near UF?  Someone said the bus system in the Gainesville area is great.  Is it safe for college kids to ride back and forth even in the twilight hours, assuming the buses run late, that is?  How long is the commute time?

 

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I am not familiar enough with Newberry to say if it’s a good place to live. My son lives in a complex that is more families and professionals which is about a 5-10 minute bus ride to campus. He lives with a family friend whose parents purchased a condo instead of renting. The bus system is good from all I have heard and is safe.

 

 

Hi Cindy in FL.

 

Is Newberry a good place to live near UF? Someone said the bus system in the Gainesville area is great. Is it safe for college kids to ride back and forth even in the twilight hours, assuming the buses run late, that is? How long is the commute time?

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In my circle of friends/relatives, parents are using some combination of the following:

 

pre-paid tuition 

CC to uni transfer plans 

choosing local universities so students can commute from home

scholarships (even small ones that only pay for books or part of the tuition bill)

savings

parent GI Bill benefits
gifts from grandparents
current income

home equity loans

suspending retirement contributions (I cringe about this one!  I'm an "older" mom and I'm now hearing some of my late 50-something friends' lamentations about having stopped retirement savings to pay for college!  That's a whole 'nother post...)
student loans (which some of my friends say they plan to repay for the student later or if the student achieves a particular GPA)
requiring students to work to cover books, spending money, or a portion of tuition or room and board.

 

I have a freshman in college and one in high school.  My family is using a combination of pre-paid tuition, cc transfer credits, requiring our students to cover some of the cost with summer jobs, and current income (from my dh - I don't plan to return to work until I graduate my younger child in 2020).

 

 

 

 

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