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One other tip I can share is to talk directly with financial aid of specific college.  I know we lived in the same area as the college so it was not a burden to us to travel to financial aid night or meetings.  We did go to those and asked for more help too. Showing direct interest helped.  It wasn't a lot but when our admissions and financial aid sales people (I mean counselors) asked if there was anything else they could do to help with our decision, we said "are there any other school based aid that she might qualify for to offset cost of textbooks, or help swing our decision to be on campus".

doesn't hurt to ask.  and if the answer is no, then you're in same position you were.  and if answer is yes, like it was for us, great.

Another tip:  find and play around with EFC estimator tools out there and/or Cost estimators on financial aid sites of colleges.  Put in some numbers that are close to what you have. go find out this info.

also for benefit of any homeschool resident in TN like Scout:  if attending a college in TN is part of picture, check out the TN information on hope scholarship, GAMS, and TSAC sites.  There are things available that you might want to know about it.  for those who homeschool independently or through CAT IV cover school, we had to do a little extra on the GAMS. go learn about it.  It's on the TN state gov site. 

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

 

A couple of yrs ago quadruplets were accepted to IIRC Yale or Princeton. Their parental income was $250,000 and they had close to $1,000,000 in assets. Their EFC by school formula brought down the cost per student to $15000. So 60K/ yr for 4 kids. That is $240k total.  Families with much lower incomes but only 1 in college could end up with an EFC of 2x that. 

All that to say FA is complicated. Probably one reason most parents don't understand. But, the process can be learned by spending time reading .gov sites on FAFSA and the fine print on schools' COA/FA websites.

Just out of curiosity, because to many people these threads are just that, curiosities, the parents were not required to spend down their assets to meet their contribution?

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1 hour ago, cbollin said:

 

Ok, seems like a fair point as long as the dates on the information is taken into consideration for those who read this thread years down the road.  I did list a a few  "real numbers"  on some of my example, but not all.  When originally posted, I didn't have the actual 5 digit number of our EFC in front of me and was not really interested in finding paperwork from 5 years ago so I didn't say it. But you're right. that's a huge range and could be helpful to understand. My original point is saying 5 digits was that it was not 4 digit number or less.   But if it would help to flesh out my example: EFC was around 13000 ish. (based on 2 adults married in same house, only 1 household member in college (child)  2 younger children not college age.   tuition at the specific college was about 30,000 ish a year full time undergrad.  dorm cost about 9000-10000 ish.  our adjusted gross income was in 90k range ish. and another number in EFC calc is the cash on hand. I don't remember that number. sorry. It was a more than the check box number on fafsa.  and I don't remember all of that either.   But part of that EFC calculation has to do with what is your bank account balance on the day you submit FAFSA.  There is some threshold number out there.  I don't know what it is and not going to login to fafsa account to see it either.  hopefully someone who knows can share that number. 

oh, by the way. one of the things I was told about that bank balance account number (and don't know how true this is), is that if you need to pay off some bills, do that just before you file fafsa so the balance might go lower than the magic number.

as to the rest of the issue where calming tea insists that I'm "low income" by financial aid standards, 8fill nailed it with this quote: " It is directly related to your EFC (expected family contribution) in comparison to institutional costs. "   Demonstrating Financial  Need is not the same as what calming tea is saying.  8fills has the info that we experienced with amounts of loans and how it is spread with subsidized and un-sub.

 

 

Thank you for this level of specificity. It does help to assess our relative position/savings/preparation. This is precisely the position we expect to be in, EFC at or near 15k/year. We are rich in experiences but not rolling in dough thanks to DHs occupation. I understand that many people are dealing with exorbitant costs but that is totally manageable for us.

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Good points above.  I do understand the difference, but I am having a hard time communicating what I am trying to say without also using actual numbers.  

The point is:

Save if you can- a lot

Don't assume you will just figure it out at the last minute (or even the last year or two)

Talk turkey with your kids about what you can afford 

Do your research

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2 minutes ago, Calming Tea said:

Good points above.  I do understand the difference, but I am having a hard time communicating what I am trying to say without also using actual numbers.  

The point is:

Save if you can- a lot

Don't assume you will just figure it out at the last minute (or even the last year or two)

Talk turkey with your kids about what you can afford 

Do your research

The only thing I would change is the "save if you can."  I would change that to "if you are going to be paying for college, start saving."  We choose not to pay and it certainly didn't condemn DD23 to $200k in debt.  BUT, that's because we did all the other things on the list.  Lots and lots of research, helped her plan ahead, discussed all the options she could afford, And, something else that isn't on the list but is important.....we talked big picture a lot.  We talked about the purpose of the post high school education, where it fits in terms of the whole rest of her life, etc.  

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5 hours ago, madteaparty said:

Just out of curiosity, because to many people these threads are just that, curiosities, the parents were not required to spend down their assets to meet their contribution?

 

Money in the bank is considered, invested money, stocks and things like that.  Technically the fafsa doesn't ask you to report how much equity you have in your house.

Which is, in my opinion yet another strange calculation.

THE CSS profile DOES ask you to report your equity and consider that in its calculation.  Those "meets needs" schools, IMO play a little game with how they say "we meet all financial need..." etc. 

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44 minutes ago, Calming Tea said:

 

Money in the bank is considered, invested money, stocks and things like that.  Technically the fafsa doesn't ask you to report how much equity you have in your house.

Which is, in my opinion yet another strange calculation.

THE CSS profile DOES ask you to report your equity and consider that in its calculation.  Those "meets needs" schools, IMO play a little game with how they say "we meet all financial need..." etc. 

So, “asset” in the quadruplet example above was al equity of only home then? 

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3 hours ago, madteaparty said:

So, “asset” in the quadruplet example above was al equity of only home then? 

I don't remember exactly. I think it was home equity and 401k. Some schools do calculate home equity in their calculations and add a certain percentage into the parental equation. Some don't. Wherever they attend, doesn't. Retirement investments are not calculated in, but retirement contributions are. They expect you to stop contributing to retirement plans and fund college. (For us that would mean no contributions from 2007 to 2032. )

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3 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I don't remember exactly. I think it was home equity and 401k. Some schools do calculate home equity in their calculations and add a certain percentage into the parental equation. Some don't. Wherever they attend, doesn't. Retirement investments are not calculated in, but retirement contributions are. They expect you to stop contributing to retirement plans and fund college. (For us that would mean no contributions from 2007 to 2032. )

that makes sense. Thank you for explaining. 

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On 7/20/2019 at 6:30 PM, Calming Tea said:

There are creative ways to make it happen, there are alternatives and you really never know what the heck the FAFSA will say. They don’t release their criteria. 

 

Actually, you can figure your EFC manually and know exactly how they figure it--how much percentage of your income, your student's income, your savings, student savings, what the thresholds are etc... I manually figure ours every year. Here's a link to the 19-20 EFC Formula. They put out a new one each year but the changes usually aren't too drastic if you want to forecast. You may have to do some research on how to answer some questions if you have special situations. 

10 hours ago, cbollin said:

But part of that EFC calculation has to do with what is your bank account balance on the day you submit FAFSA.  There is some threshold number out there.  I don't know what it is and not going to login to fafsa account to see it either.  hopefully someone who knows can share that number. 

oh, by the way. one of the things I was told about that bank balance account number (and don't know how true this is), is that if you need to pay off some bills, do that just before you file fafsa so the balance might go lower than the magic number.

 

Yes, this is true. Whether it's worthwhile may depend on the individual situation though. The threshold changes each year and is dependent on things like your age and how many kids you have, so it's not one solid number. The EFC Formula PDF file that I linked above has all of the tables. Parent savings/assets affect the EFC less than student savings. 20% of a student's savings is expected to go to college each year. For parents, a certain amount is protected based on age/kids, and then .12 of the remainder is added to their "available income." Finally, a percentage of that number goes to college (and the percentage varies depending on the family picture.) It usually ends up working out to about 3-5% of the "discretionary" savings/assets. It's probably going to make more of a difference to pay attention to the amount of money in the student's name, but a person might be near a threshold where parent savings could bump them into a higher or lower percentage bracket. For Pell Grant elligible students, lowering the EFC by $200 would often raise the grant by $200, so that may be helpful for some to consider. 

 

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It is very expensive to attend college.  I do think the prices vary wildly depending on which region the college is located.  My dd attends a top regional college and all in it will be absolute max of 50K and that's stretching it.  If she went to the state flagship she would be looking ata 70k all in.  

One thing that really is irritating is how the colleges treat the students like little children all the while talking out the other side of their mouth about how they're adults.  I really wish they would quit looking at the parents income if they truly believe they are adults.  They tell them where they have to live and where they have to eat and nanny them to death.  We actually do treat our kids like the young adults they are and give them respect and freedom they deserve and I think the colleges are full of total BS in that regard.  It's all about the $$$.

edited: my dd does qualify for the state gpa scholarship so she gets reduced tuition

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On 7/23/2019 at 4:27 PM, Mbelle said:

I

One thing that really is irritating is how the colleges treat the students like little children all the while talking out the other side of their mouth about how they're adults.  I really wish they would quit looking at the parents income if they truly believe they are adults.  They tell them where they have to live and where they have to eat and nanny them to death.  We actually do treat our kids like the young adults they are and give them respect and freedom they deserve and I think the colleges are full of total BS in that regard.  It's all about the $$$.

OMG I so totally agree here.  In the recent post about the college that raised tuition to $80k, it later mentioned income levels where tuition is covered and so on.  And we are actually under that income level.  And I thought well huh, that's an option to think about for my future college students.  And then I read that they *require* students to live on campus with the meal plan for TWO years.  Yeah, all about the money, cause I am sure an off campus apartment would be quite a bit cheaper than their room and board plans.

Living on campus was a disaster for my oldest and there was never any young adult more relieved to move off campus as soon as she could.  She tried the whole "college experience" with the on campus job, trying to get into campus life....she was just too independent, introverted, responsible, and mature to handle being told how many hours she was "allowed" to work, who she could have in her room for how long, and not to be able to cook for herself at all.  

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34 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Living on campus was a disaster for my oldest and there was never any young adult more relieved to move off campus as soon as she could.  She tried the whole "college experience" with the on campus job, trying to get into campus life....she was just too independent, introverted, responsible, and mature to handle being told how many hours she was "allowed" to work, who she could have in her room for how long, and not to be able to cook for herself at all.  

 

Ugh. That is so unfortunate. Aside from the limited work work-study hours (which was a fed. requirement), I lived in campus apartments for my first three years with three other roomies. Best. Experience. Ever. No one ever told us who we could have over and how long.

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These college costs are not sustainable.  And I for one would not encourage ANY one to go deeply in debt for an education. 

There are other options, such as going to work for a few years and saving up some tuition money or waiting until they are 26 or going into trades.  

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10 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

Ugh. That is so unfortunate. Aside from the limited work work-study hours (which was a fed. requirement), I lived in campus apartments for my first three years with three other roomies. Best. Experience. Ever. No one ever told us who we could have over and how long.

Oh yeah, visitor hours are common in dorms nowadays, at least in our experience.  (and "campus apartments" weren't really available to most students in our experience.  Of the schools we visited, they were for seniors or international students.)  And that's even before you get into coordinating who is using the room um........"privately" ........with your roommate.  Even with roommates in her apartment, everyone had their own bedroom for that sort of privacy.  (not that she needed that sort of privacy often, but her first roommate needed it...........a lot.

And the cooking thing was really a big deal for her.  The vast majority of the campus food was pretty crappy, and she *craved* homemade food rather than the fast casual/fast food type stuff that the campus offered.  Her first night in her apartment, she made herself pork roast and sauerkraut in the crockpot and was just SO SO happy.  

And even then, she had some pretty terrible roommates.  Like psycho crazy, she showed me texts, insane roommates.  But they were all on their own lease and moved out part way through, and she wasn't responsible for their damage.  

 

 

Currently, she's 23, living in her own 1br apartment about 2hrs away from us, and is really truly happiest on her own, responsible for all her own responsibilities.  

 

 

 

I never lived on campus at all, and don't really feel I missed out.  Though, for me, living on campus wasn't really an option as a single mom.  And actually, now that I think about it, my kid comes from a long line of people who never had that sort of college experience.  I wonder if she was trying to live it when she really hasn't had family experience that caters to that sort "need."  Our family has a very practical view of college.  

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I'm not sure if this has been mentioned further up (I apologize— I did not have the time to scroll through the entire two pages) but I have started hearing more about American students attending colleges overseas for degrees (instruction in English) and not just for one semester abroad. International students have long attended American universities, but now, a growing trend is Americans starting to attend international colleges. Obviously, this option is not for everybody, but I'm just throwing it out there because it may be helpful to somebody : ) .

Apparently some companies that assist American students in doing this have calculated the cost as about 1/3-1/2 of the USA cost of a college degree (undergrad or grad) even including costs for room, board and two-three trips back to visit in the US. Here is just one link with some info:

https://beyondthestates.com/why-college-abroad/nine-reasons-to-attend-college-in-europe/

Personally, I was concerned that an American student with an international college degree may find it difficult to procure an American-based job after college, but it might actually help. Here is what some are saying (from the above link):

"Students who studied abroad stand out from the crowd when seeking jobs after college. The very act of leaving their comfort zone to make a fresh start in a new place builds skills and confidence that will be carried throughout a student’s life. Silicon Valley billionaire investor, Chris Sacca, describes international study experience as a critical differentiating characteristic among candidates. According to former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, “The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me. I spent my entire career in the United States. The next head of [General Electric] will be somebody who spent time in Bombay, in Hong Kong, in Buenos Aires.”

In a study published in the Harvard Business Review, people with experience living abroad were better employees, because they are likely to create new businesses and products and to be promoted. According to The Erasmus Impact Study, internationally mobile students are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad and five years after graduation their unemployment rate is 23 percent lower."

Interesting.

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On 7/20/2019 at 3:27 PM, happysmileylady said:

OP, I am interested in what you consider "truly low income."  My oldest's scholarship WAS needs based (in part) but our income was pretty much smack in the middle.  

Community college and college here in Southern Indiana is affordable even if we had to pay for it...although most people in around here can get Pell grants and Merit grants covering it entirely.  I was able to not only get my schooling paid for, but received 1500 a semester back to cover books and gas.  Community College around here runs about 4- 5 grand a year if you paid out of pocket...add 2 grand for the local college...so affordable even for us who truly are low income.  Living in the Midwest must really be much cheaper than elsewhere....I hear that in regards to everything-our home only costed 75000...and is a really nice home with a large lot in a small town.  I think price is truly reflected by area.

Brenda

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On 7/31/2019 at 8:39 AM, homemommy83 said:

Community college and college here in Southern Indiana is affordable even if we had to pay for it...although most people in around here can get Pell grants and Merit grants covering it entirely.  I was able to not only get my schooling paid for, but received 1500 a semester back to cover books and gas.  Community College around here runs about 4- 5 grand a year if you paid out of pocket...add 2 grand for the local college...so affordable even for us who truly are low income.  Living in the Midwest must really be much cheaper than elsewhere....I hear that in regards to everything-our home only costed 75000...and is a really nice home with a large lot in a small town.  I think price is truly reflected by area.

Brenda


Southwest here. We're super lucky to have a high-quality/low-cost community college, too -- about $3000/year for tuition & fees for full time classes. BUT... the sticker shock of transferring to the very original-nothing-spectacular public university (also in our city) -- close to $7000/year for tuition & fees :: insert fainting emoji :: That cost has almost doubled in just the last 10 years (2009-2010 tuition & fees = $6,850/year.) -- and tripled in the last 15 years (2004-2005 tuition & fees = just under $4,100/year).

DS#1 is living at home currently to save costs while attending the local university's Mechanical Engineering program. By the time they add on the required fees, it's almost $7000 just for the upcoming fall semester. 😫 Costs for books and parking pass still have to be tacked on... Thank heavens he doesn't need to pay for a dorm & meal plan -- that now runs about $12,500/year at all of our state's public universities.

Here's a searchable database: The Chronicle of Higher Education -- when you click on the name of the school, it pulls up a bar graph that shows in-state/out-of-state tuition for each year from 1998 to 2018.

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8 minutes ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

Sorry...I haven't read all of these posts yet.  My boys are 7 and almost 2.  Is paying your way through college still an option these days?  (We live in Northwest Arkansas). We are not interested in our boys having a "college experience" in the traditional sense (academically yes...not socially, if you know what I mean.)  So we are fine with them living at home, and I'm sure they will be too.  Could they go to community college and then save up their own money from working to attend college at the local state university?   I'm thinking my son could easily get an AA degree before he finishes high school or soon after.  He could then take a year or two to work, and then use that money to pay for college.  Could he also take fewer classes at a time to save money, and take longer to finish, while working?  I don't want to incur any more debt and I don't want my son to either.   I went to a top 10 ranked school for undergrad...it wasn't worth it!  They assumed everyone would go to grad school so the undergrad classes were pretty impractical and didn't actually provide any skills.  I remember in 2004, kids graduating from this school having trouble finding jobs out of undergrad.  This was in 2003 and 2004.  At that kind of cost, this should never happen.  Quite a few of the graduates are super successful Silicon Valley professionals now, but they would have been anyway.   It was their personality, drive and intelligence - not where they went to school.  

 

Paying your way...sure...if you do CC first and save for 3-6 years before starting the final two (keep in mind, tuition will also be increasing as you save). No, you cannot easily pay-go, not even at the UA. UALR now requires on-campus housing for freshman BTW. The tuition/fees and housing are over 15K/year...in state.

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1 minute ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

I used to understand requiring freshmen to live on campus, but not in this day and age.  I checked the website and it says after age 21, they don't have to live on campus. So there is always waiting until 21 or getting an exemption to live at home.  In 12 years, I'm not sure what the world will be like or if going to college will even make sense.  Hopefully something works out for him, or he can get a scholarship to a small classical Christian college (if those are still legal.)  I would not want him to attend UofA in Fayetteville unless he was living at home.  He will probably want to study Mechanical Engineering or something similar.  This is why I want him to wait...my son is 2e, and there is no way he will be mature enough to go off to college at 18/19!  I will have no issues with him doing it at 21/22 though.  At that age, I would trust him to make good decisions for his future.  Oh vey...I'm going to push this to the back of my mind again!  

 

Sorry. DH and I were talking about our house in LR as a retirement option when he brought up the cost of UALR these days. I was STUNNED to say the least. I'd never pay that much to send one of mine there. FWIW, I do not see the option of a fully private, religious institution going away in my lifetime and if you're OK with DS saving/maturing for 5 years or so, sure, he can pay for himself.

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55 minutes ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

Sorry...I haven't read all of these posts yet.  My boys are 7 and almost 2.  Is paying your way through college still an option these days?  (We live in Northwest Arkansas). We are not interested in our boys having a "college experience" in the traditional sense (academically yes...not socially, if you know what I mean.)  So we are fine with them living at home, and I'm sure they will be too.  Could they go to community college and then save up their own money from working to attend college at the local state university?   I'm thinking my son could easily get an AA degree before he finishes high school or soon after.  He could then take a year or two to work, and then use that money to pay for college.  Could he also take fewer classes at a time to save money, and take longer to finish, while working?  I don't want to incur any more debt and I don't want my son to either.   I went to a top 10 ranked school for undergrad...it wasn't worth it!  They assumed everyone would go to grad school so the undergrad classes were pretty impractical and didn't actually provide any skills.  I remember in 2004, kids graduating from this school having trouble finding jobs out of undergrad.  This was in 2003 and 2004.  At that kind of cost, this should never happen.  Quite a few of the graduates are super successful Silicon Valley professionals now, but they would have been anyway.   It was their personality, drive and intelligence - not where they went to school.  

Where you go to school can matter in terms of connections formed; I've watched that play out in the lives of people I know who are Harvard, Stanford  etc. graduates. Getting jobs or getting funding for your startup because of connections to people with the resources to hand out jobs or invest capital.

You can have the same personality, drive, and intelligence without the connections and not have the same opportunities.

Plenty of opportunities out there though that don't depend on elite college education. We're not aiming for elite in my family though life does take unexpected turns at times and my children's lives are their own not mine to manage so I won't say it absolutely couldn't happen. We fall into the economic group that would put some of the schools with huge endowments and generous financial aid among the less expensive options.

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1 hour ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

I used to understand requiring freshmen to live on campus, but not in this day and age.  I checked the website and it says after age 21, they don't have to live on campus. So there is always waiting until 21 or getting an exemption to live at home.  In 12 years, I'm not sure what the world will be like or if going to college will even make sense.  Hopefully something works out for him, or he can get a scholarship to a small classical Christian college (if those are still legal.)  I would not want him to attend UofA in Fayetteville unless he was living at home.  He will probably want to study Mechanical Engineering or something similar.  This is why I want him to wait...my son is 2e, and there is no way he will be mature enough to go off to college at 18/19!  I will have no issues with him doing it at 21/22 though.  At that age, I would trust him to make good decisions for his future.  Oh vey...I'm going to push this to the back of my mind again!  

If your plan is to start at the CC, they may not have to live on campus (assuming the rules are still the same when you get to this point I mean!) Both of my kids started at the CC & are transferring to schools that have rules about Freshmen and Sophomores living on campus--but they'll start as juniors and can do what they want. (Now, too bad there isn't a school close enough for them to live at home and save more $$$ though!) 

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2 hours ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

...My boys are 7 and almost 2.  Is paying your way through college still an option these days?  (We live in Northwest Arkansas). We are not interested in our boys having a "college experience" in the traditional sense (academically yes...not socially, if you know what I mean.)  So we are fine with them living at home, and I'm sure they will be too.  Could they go to community college and then save up their own money from working to attend college at the local state university?   I'm thinking my son could easily get an AA degree before he finishes high school or soon after.  He could then take a year or two to work, and then use that money to pay for college.  Could he also take fewer classes at a time to save money, and take longer to finish, while working?  I don't want to incur any more debt and I don't want my son to either...


First, whatever the college $$$ situation is now, will very likely be extremely different in 10-15 years when your children are ready for college, so I would suggest NOT making any extreme financial decisions at this time. Do what you can to plan for the future, yes, but sometimes present needs will trump your ability to save as much as you might wish for college. Also, opportunities that are NOW available to students about to graduate high school or who are currently in college, will likely be very different LATER when it's time for your children to go to college.

All that said... yes, there are some options that families of college-age students are doing to reduce costs and/or find alternatives.

2 hours ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

... Could they go to community college and then save up their own money from working to attend college at the local state university? ...


"2+2" option 
Yes, that's a solid option you mentioned -- 2 years at a community college with an articulation agreement (guarantee to transfer certain credits and apply them toward a 4-year degree), and then 2 years at a university to finish off the Bachelor degree. My DS#1 is in the midst of this option and it's saving him a ton -- $3000/year at the community college vs. close to $14,000/year at the local university. However, be aware that it may be impossible to earn enough to do this. Currently, every year, our local university tuition goes up by about $1000/year -- and wages do NOT keep pace.
 

2 hours ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

...I'm thinking my son could easily get an AA degree before he finishes high school or soon after.  He could then take a year or two to work, and then use that money to pay for college.  Could he also take fewer classes at a time to save money, and take longer to finish, while working?  I don't want to incur any more debt and I don't want my son to either...


- take longer/work to pay as you go
Yes, as you suggested, a lot of students are having to take longer to complete a degree by going this route -- it is taking the typical student 5-6 years now to finish a 4-year degree. The downside of taking longer is that costs go up much faster than your wage at an entry level job can keep pace -- it may be cheaper in some cases to push through and finish as fast as possible to keep costs as low as possible -- which may mean taking on student debt. And if the student did take out a subsidized federal student loan (subsidized = a loan one where payments are deferred AND interest on the loan does NOT start accruing until 6 months after the student has stopped taking classes, regardless of whether the student has graduated or whether the student stopped to earn $$. That makes it almost impossible to go back to school and finish the degree until the loans are paid off -- which in turn, is extremely hard to do when all you're qualified for is an entry-level job.

Again, for the past 2 years, my DS#1 has living at home, working 25-30 hours/week, and taking full-time classes (and summer school) in an effort to save and also pay as much as he can to avoid debt. He managed the 2 years of community college, and 1 semester at the university going this route, but we are going to have to pick up the tab for the last 5 semesters of getting through this degree, because he just can't earn enough to pay for the university. He recently quit his job, and will be JUST doing school this next semester, and I am SO relieved -- he was really running his physical health into the ground trying to earn the money to do this on his own.

Another tricky thing about this option: the bulk of scholarships (and scholarships with the highest $$ amount and that are "renewable" (i.e., good for 4 years as long as you keep up the requirements) go to freshmen; there are far fewer transfer scholarships for transfer students (those who go to the community college after high school graduation), and they are usually for smaller amounts, and are usually 1-time awards (good for 1 year). So you really have to figure out what is in your best interest $$-wise -- larger freshman scholarship for 4 years but higher overall tuition, or, lower tuition for 2 years at the community college and transfer, and possible small transfer scholarship.


"College Motherlode"
You might like to read through the linked threads about Financial Aid and Paying for College on PAGE 3 of this big pinned thread at the top of the WTM College Board -- and especially read through the threads on lowering college costs or alternatives for paying for college:

How Financial Aid works
Understanding financial aid (great explanations and info) 
Can someone please walk me through how financial aid works in the USA
I think I need help with guidance counseling, I.e., I’m clueless (great intro info on financial aid + other topics) 

College Costs and Financial Aid
Help me understand how to pay for college
Flabbergasted by friends’ lack of awareness of college costs
Newbie Q[uestion] about college costs (and financial aid) 

Alternatives to fund college / reduce college costs
s/o Cautionary Tale/high college costs — a brainstorm $$ ideas thread!
How are YOU managing to pay for college? (lots of real-life creative ideas)
College breaking the piggy bank? (how are homeschoolers affording college?)

Scholarship search process
Where to find scholarships?
Scholarships
 

Some of the ideas in those thread include:
- be sure to put in your FAFSA application -- even if you don't qualify for federal grants (free $$), most universities require the FAFSA to be able to award scholarships
- family chooses to pay off their home before DC reach college age, and then use what would have been monthly mortgage payments to pay for college
- when searching for colleges, look for schools where your student's statistics place the student in the top 5-10% of all incoming freshmen, which increases odds of landing good merit aid (scholarships for good grades/high academics) -- see these 2 past threads:
   Finding something you can afford 
   Reasons to consider a less selective, less expensive college 
- students who test well -- look for schools that award "automatic scholarships" (scholarships for high ACT/SAT scores or high PSAT/National Merit scores) 
- students who test well can earn "credit by exam" while in high school through high scores on AP and CLEP tests (these credits apply toward required credits for the college degree, so it helps reduce overall time, and therefore cost of college)
- students who test well can earn a Bachelor's degree through a combination of CLEP tests and distance online classes (reduces time/cost of college)
- choose a university that accepts a lot of dual-enrollment credits (college courses taken while still in high school) from your community college, reducing time, and therefore cost, of school
- while working part time and going to school, consider working at a company that pays towards employee college tuition
- consider a SMART scholarship or company that offers a tuition reimbursement program -- after college graduation, you work for several years in exchange for the tuition $$ they awarded you
- some professions also require a Master's degree, so look for universities that offer special 5-year programs (double dips some of the Bachelor and Master degree courses), where at the end of the 5 years, the student comes out with BOTH a Bachelor's degree AND a Master's degree
- consider an overseas university -- some are up to 1/2 the cost of U.S. universities, and that includes cost of trips back and forth to home over breaks!

Edited by Lori D.
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9 hours ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

I used to understand requiring freshmen to live on campus, but not in this day and age... So there is always waiting until 21 or getting an exemption to live at home.  In 12 years, I'm not sure what the world will be like or if going to college will even make sense... I would not want him to attend UofA in Fayetteville unless he was living at home.  He will probably want to study Mechanical Engineering or something similar.  This is why I want him to wait...my son is 2e, and there is no way he will be mature enough to go off to college at 18/19!  I will have no issues with him doing it at 21/22 though.  At that age, I would trust him to make good decisions for his future...


Gently, as your 7yo becomes a 17yo, 18yo, 19yo, he will have matured. I think it is impossible to make this kind of "call" about what level of maturity a 1st/2nd grader will have -- in 10-12 years... 😉 Work with the child before you, and train him into maturity as fits for each age when he is at that age. Yes, it is possible as a 2e student, he may be more delayed in maturing emotionally and socially... But maybe not. He may make a very unexpected leap in the teen years. It does happen! (:D

Just so you know: UA in Fayetteville is a highly-rated option with research and internship opportunities for students going into Engineering, and currently offers automatic full-tuition scholarships for students with ACT/SAT test scores above a certain score. You might private message WTMer 8FillTheHeart, as one of her DSs earned an Engineering degree at that school  [ETA: see the correct info about 2 of her students in her post just below] -- on scholarship -- and living on campus. He did not lose his mind and turn wild by having done so.😉 (just gently teasing you, @nwahomeschoolmom)

Edited by Lori D.
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12 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Just so you know: UA in Fayetteville is a highly-rated option with research and internship opportunities for students going into Engineering, and currently offers automatic full-tuition scholarships for students with ACT/SAT test scores above a certain score. You might private message WTMer 8FillTheHeart, as one of her DSs earned an Engineering degree at that school -- on scholarship -- and living on campus. He did not lose his mind and turn wild by having done so.😉 (just gently teasing you, @nwahomeschoolmom)

 

Aslo, gently, most Arkansas students will never achieve that ACT/SAT score. The scholarship, like those at UA-Huntsville and others, is designed to attract students from outside the state with better academic preparation/credentials who might choose to stay in the state and establish a career. Fayetteville is not some wild and crazy college town with liberals running rampant. It may be liberal for Arkansas but it is not a heathen haven.

Edited by Sneezyone
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@nwahomeschoolmom I would say that a lot of stereotypes about college abound.  Plenty of very morally conservative students live on large college campuses.  Beyond that, it is next to impossible to know what college will look like in a decade.  As of 2019, top students can pursue scholarships.  Kids can live at home and commute.  They can pursue 2 yr degrees vs 4 yr degrees, etc.  I have had kids who have taken all of those paths.  No one took out loans and costs have been low.

A slight correction to Lori's post.  My chemE ds attended a public tech U, but not in Arkansas and not at a state starting with an A. My ds who is a grad student in physics attended UA (Alabama in Tuscaloosa) on full scholarship.  (You can't find a more morally conservative young man than he is.  UA didn't "corrupt" him.  🙂  )

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54 minutes ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

...My freshman dorm was pretty much a haven of moral depravity...


A lot of colleges have special dorms for students in the Honors programs, and those dorms tend to be filled with studious academically-minded and more mature students.

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On 7/21/2019 at 3:41 PM, Farrar said:

Since no one addressed the overcrowding thing... this is a huge issue in some states like California, and not at all a major issue in many other states. As well, since you've posted this on the elementary board... by the time most of these kids hit college, the overcrowding that was so intense the last year or two at many schools may well be down. Demographically, there are slightly fewer kids coming along in about five years or so. Plus a lot of the ways community colleges have changed things and schools have expanded and changed offerings... overcrowding could continue to be a big issue, but there's a good chance that it won't be, at least not on the level of the last couple of years. And not in a way that is likely to prevent a student from getting the classes they need.

It may or may not make a difference though. Many state schools want lots of foreign student students paying out of state tuition rates to help make up for decreased state spending. So the effects of US demographics may be muted.

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9 minutes ago, Frances said:

It may or may not make a difference though. Many state schools want lots of foreign student students paying out of state tuition rates to help make up for decreased state spending. So the effects of US demographics may be muted.

Maybe. Though they tend to do a lot more recruiting in other states. And I'm not the only one predicting this. I've been reading this for the last year. I just don't foresee that models that are so crowded that kids can't even get their credits to graduate are going to continue at large schools. I think that's been a fluke. It's not something the average family (possibly outside of California) needs to seriously consider.

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On 8/1/2019 at 3:19 PM, nwahomeschoolmom said:

Sorry...I haven't read all of these posts yet.  My boys are 7 and almost 2.  Is paying your way through college still an option these days?  (We live in Northwest Arkansas). We are not interested in our boys having a "college experience" in the traditional sense (academically yes...not socially, if you know what I mean.)  So we are fine with them living at home, and I'm sure they will be too.  Could they go to community college and then save up their own money from working to attend college at the local state university?   I'm thinking my son could easily get an AA degree before he finishes high school or soon after.  He could then take a year or two to work, and then use that money to pay for college.  Could he also take fewer classes at a time to save money, and take longer to finish, while working?  I don't want to incur any more debt and I don't want my son to either.   I went to a top 10 ranked school for undergrad...it wasn't worth it!  They assumed everyone would go to grad school so the undergrad classes were pretty impractical and didn't actually provide any skills.  I remember in 2004, kids graduating from this school having trouble finding jobs out of undergrad.  This was in 2003 and 2004.  At that kind of cost, this should never happen.  Quite a few of the graduates are super successful Silicon Valley professionals now, but they would have been anyway.   It was their personality, drive and intelligence - not where they went to school.  

I paid my way through a local public university in Arkansas. I worked about thirty hours a week year round, lived at home, and applied for every departmental scholarship that was posted while I was in school (usually about $500) to do it. I graduated college with zero debt, however, the university I attended has raised tuition so much that there is no way I could pay my way now. BTW, I attended the cheapest public university in the state, but it's still too expensive to pay your way through at this point. 

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