Author Topic: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(  (Read 19169 times)

onlykelsey

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2016, 01:03:14 PM »
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If money were no object, I probably would have gone to an Ivy League school. 

I'm confused by this.  The ivy league has need-blind, merit-based aid.  Unless your parents are quite upper-middle or upper class (so your expected family contribution is very high) and not sharing with you, why not just go to the ivy?

Abe

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2016, 01:24:15 PM »
Good job on thinking this through in a bit more detail than the average family. There's an expected return on investment from income that one can expect, and college tuition needs to be a financial decision rather than an emotional one. There are plenty of good colleges, but not a lot of good careers. Trying to figure that out is difficult to think through, but a life decision should be well thought out and realistic.

missmoneymachine

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2016, 02:02:01 PM »

So it is ok to go ahead and commit to a school and when you tell the financial aid office no to PLUS the student will be allowed to borrow more than the max $5500 for incoming freshman we were told?


No.  If you tell them no to the PLUS, the student will not be eligible to receive more than the max $5500.  The only way to receive more than the max is if you apply for the PLUS and are denied based on credit.  Then the student can receive a few thousand more (I forget the exact amount off the top of my head).  I am a recent college graduate and worked in the financial aid office for a summer.

missmoneymachine

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2016, 02:07:44 PM »
Also, I second another poster's opinion that you may have filled out the FAFSA incorrectly.  23k EFC is quite large unless you are making north of 100k

mm1970

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2016, 02:28:02 PM »

My parents were a bit better off financially than living paycheck to paycheck, but I never received any financial help from them other than a random $20 shoved in my pocket from my mom or a trip to the grocery store paid for.  Honestly, at this point in my life 4 years out of school, it's the best thing that they could've done.  I'm getting a grip on my finances that I needed to have, and I'm already planning for my retirement, something I likely would not have done without having had to closely monitor my finances.  Looking back, would I have done anything different?  I definitely would've tried working more to take less out in loans.  Would I have learned if my parents had taken out a PLUS loan?  To some extent, sure, but not as much.

Do I wish my parents would've been able to help me?  Sure, but would I do it for my future kids?  No.  This is coming from someone who got out of college with $50k in debt and is married to someone with just as much.  You will understand that your daughter is signing her life away to the educational loan companies when that master promissory note comes from the university, and your daughter might as well but not fully until she gets her loan repayment plan and her first paycheck from her job.

With you being 41 and having nothing put away for your own retirement especially I would not take out a PLUS loan.  In fact, if you do anything, go to Vanguard, open up an IRA, and set up an automatic withdrawal.  Start small and slowly increase it.

Thank you for the insight. It's my understanding that they will only allow a freshman (18yo with no credit history) have a student loan for $5500 the first year and the remaining amount must come from either a PLUS loan by the parents, scholarships, or grants.

What did your parents do? How did you take all of the loan risk? I feel like the government sites are trying to put parents in debt and make it look like that is the only way. I had school loans when I graduated college but my kids college is a tremendous amount more a year than my college. But that was over 20 years ago.

Please keep the info coming....feeling overwhelmed here, trying to understand all of this.


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My mom's estimated amount was $0
Mine was $200
My dad's was $1800, only because he refused to fill out the forms.
College was $16,000.

I took out a student loan, about $5000 or so that year, and got scholarships for the rest ($11,000).
I got a work-study job.
I worked summer jobs and even winter break (5 weeks!)
Then I joined ROTC.  After that I only had to borrow for room and board.
My mother never took out a PLUS loan.

It sounds like your kid cannot afford this college.

mm1970

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2016, 02:29:26 PM »

Depends on the degree but community college worked out great for me. 5 years was around 20k for tuition.

Not really an option I don't think...her major is going to be marine biology.


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My next door neighbor is a marine biologist, and has been for 18 years.  She's teaching at the local community college part time.

You absolutely can get a couple of years of your degree out of the way at CC.  Have to be smart about it though - make sure you find a CC where the units will transfer (here in CA, it's pretty easy to find).

mm1970

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2016, 02:36:11 PM »
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But there are no job prospects for a marine biologist unless you have a higher degree

While this might be MOSTLY true, do you think it's actually 100% true?  My neighbor has a degree in marine bio and she's been gainfully employed since she graduated in the 90's, with no PhD.  She does have a master's.

She's spent most of her time studying marine mammals.  She has had to be self-funding by winning Government grants for her research.  Most of that time working at a museum, but now running her own non-profit.

Maybe she's the exception that proves the rule?  It would be good to see statistics though - that kind of info would be useful to this future student - especially if you aren't looking at $23k x 4, instead it's $23k x 6.

mm1970

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2016, 02:45:22 PM »
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If money were no object, I probably would have gone to an Ivy League school. 

I'm confused by this.  The ivy league has need-blind, merit-based aid.  Unless your parents are quite upper-middle or upper class (so your expected family contribution is very high) and not sharing with you, why not just go to the ivy?
I assume that even an Ivy will expect you to take out a certain amount of loans for housing.  I was a poor kid at an expensive private school known for giving out a lot of aid, and I had to borrow a few thousand a year for room and board.  My husband went to an Ivy, and his parents had to pay a few thousand for room and board (and they were middle class)

Some colleges provide full scholarships - including room and board.  These days, that's a lot of money.  The college where my niece is looking at, it's almost $12,000 a year.  (And they've offered a full scholarship).   

So it can be the difference between borrowing several thousand per year and not.

onlykelsey

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2016, 02:53:40 PM »
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If money were no object, I probably would have gone to an Ivy League school. 

I'm confused by this.  The ivy league has need-blind, merit-based merit-blind, need-basedaid.  Unless your parents are quite upper-middle or upper class (so your expected family contribution is very high) and not sharing with you, why not just go to the ivy?
I assume that even an Ivy will expect you to take out a certain amount of loans for housing.  I was a poor kid at an expensive private school known for giving out a lot of aid, and I had to borrow a few thousand a year for room and board.  My husband went to an Ivy, and his parents had to pay a few thousand for room and board (and they were middle class)

Some colleges provide full scholarships - including room and board.  These days, that's a lot of money.  The college where my niece is looking at, it's almost $12,000 a year.  (And they've offered a full scholarship).   

So it can be the difference between borrowing several thousand per year and not.

I said the exact opposite of what I meant, haha.  Fixed above.  I'm 7 years out of an Ivy for my bachelor's, and maybe things have changed, but my understanding is that financial aid covers room and board, if you're considered "in need" enough.  My freshman year I incurred a total of ~1140 of debt, but I did have to take out small loans for a summer course.  Meals and board were calculated as part of the cost of attending.

robartsd

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2016, 03:25:34 PM »
I had lots of siblings in a single income family so EFC was zero for me. My parents made it clear that they were happy supporting their children with free room and board while pursuing college, but that they pretty much could not provide any cash. I got an AA at the local community college and could pay all college expenses from full-time work in the summer. I worked for a few years after getting my AA before deciding to go away to a State University. I got a tuition reduction and qualified for and took subsidized federal loans. Although I qualified for additional unsubsidized loans, I didn't want to risk paying interest on money I didn't need and the Financial Aid office assured that I could take out the loans later if needed, so I declined. I found that the estimated cost of attendance was much higher than I actually needed and that the subsidized loans, part-time work that did not interfere with school, and working while living with parents for summer would be more than adequate to pay for University. Remember that the estimated cost of attendance is based on the "consumer sucka" norm - mustachians can get away with spending way less (roommates, cook own food, bike, keep party expenses down, used/shared books). I'd recommend looking into starting out at community college. During the community college years, arrange your finances so that your EFC is as low as possible (put as much savings as possible in traditional retirement accounts - reducing your income and sheltering your assets from being considered available to pay for college).

bb11

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #60 on: March 21, 2016, 03:30:18 PM »
So many great bits of advice in this thread!

I'll add to the plethora of people recommending community college --> in-state public university. That's what I did and it worked out very well, plus saved a ton of money. Now I am probably getting a great master's degree in my desired field for free (see my journal in my sig for more info).

I don't know much about marine biology, but from the sounds of the comments a bachelor's in it won't help her get a job much. So why not keep undergrad as inexpensive as she can, and then if she's still interested in the field after a couple of years working she can go to grad school for a master's or Phd?

Cpa Cat

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #61 on: March 21, 2016, 03:37:53 PM »
Here's the plan I'd go with:

Take a year off between high school and college. She works full time and socks away some cash. Check with employment agencies - A lot of the time they have unskilled positions available for no fee to the employee.

You save what you can during that year, also.

Unless she gets scholarships to cover the difference, she goes to community college for her general education requirements and transfers them to her university of choice. Confirm with that university what community colleges they transfer from/partner with first - if she can do some of it while living at home, all the better. She continues to work part time.

She's not going to like it. No one who is 18 likes the idea of following the "Work-a-Year + Start at Community College Plan," because 18 year olds don't like doing things differently from their friends or delaying their exciting journey to following their dreams. Especially with an acceptance letter from the university in hand.

If she does take the year off + community college route, though, you're looking at (hypothetically):
She saves $10,000 from her job; hopefully you can also save $10,000.

Year 1 - $5,500 student loan + part time job takes care of community college costs.
Year 2 - $5,500 student loan + part time job takes care of community college costs.
Year 3 - $5,500 student loan, plus $20,000 combined savings covers university cost.
Year 4 - $5,500 student loan plus whatever savings you've scraped together in the intervening years + potentially a small Parent Plus loan to cover the rest.

Alternatively, if she drops to part-time at any point, she'll likely turn 24 and stop being your dependent for the last year, then she can get increased financial aid.

It sucks to disappoint your daughter, who is excited to run off to college (THIS college, right now). But you're the grown up - you have the perspective to know that it's not the end of the world if it takes her 5 years instead of 4 years.

RamonaQ

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2016, 03:50:48 PM »
Quote
If money were no object, I probably would have gone to an Ivy League school. 

I'm confused by this.  The ivy league has need-blind, merit-based merit-blind, need-basedaid.  Unless your parents are quite upper-middle or upper class (so your expected family contribution is very high) and not sharing with you, why not just go to the ivy?
I assume that even an Ivy will expect you to take out a certain amount of loans for housing.  I was a poor kid at an expensive private school known for giving out a lot of aid, and I had to borrow a few thousand a year for room and board.  My husband went to an Ivy, and his parents had to pay a few thousand for room and board (and they were middle class)

Some colleges provide full scholarships - including room and board.  These days, that's a lot of money.  The college where my niece is looking at, it's almost $12,000 a year.  (And they've offered a full scholarship).   

So it can be the difference between borrowing several thousand per year and not.

I said the exact opposite of what I meant, haha.  Fixed above.  I'm 7 years out of an Ivy for my bachelor's, and maybe things have changed, but my understanding is that financial aid covers room and board, if you're considered "in need" enough.  My freshman year I incurred a total of ~1140 of debt, but I did have to take out small loans for a summer course.  Meals and board were calculated as part of the cost of attending.

Keep in mind that I was applying to colleges about 22 years ago, so times may have changed.  I also didn't know much about my options as the internet wasn't really around, no one in my family had ever gone to college, and my high school wasn't that great.  But, costs I considered were:

1. Application fees weren't cheap, and I was paying, so that limited the schools I applied to.

2. Even with need-based aid, I assumed that my parents' expected contribution would be more than zero.  They were not in a position to give me any financial help at the time regardless of what the school expected.

3. I got enough merit scholarships from the state school I attended to more than cover the cost of tuition, room, and board, so I was able to use the excess for things like books, transportation, and spending money, which was a big plus.

4. I figured going to an Ivy (or really anywhere out of state) would result in extra transportation costs, especially if I wanted to come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  Heck, even visiting schools would have cost money I didn't have.

I'm sure I could have made an Ivy work if I really wanted to, but financial considerations made the state school much more attractive.  In the end, I'm happy with where I went, so it all worked out.

onlykelsey

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2016, 04:02:11 PM »
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Keep in mind that I was applying to colleges about 22 years ago, so times may have changed.  I also didn't know much about my options as the internet wasn't really around, no one in my family had ever gone to college, and my high school wasn't that great.  But, costs I considered were:

1. Application fees weren't cheap, and I was paying, so that limited the schools I applied to.

2. Even with need-based aid, I assumed that my parents' expected contribution would be more than zero.  They were not in a position to give me any financial help at the time regardless of what the school expected.

3. I got enough merit scholarships from the state school I attended to more than cover the cost of tuition, room, and board, so I was able to use the excess for things like books, transportation, and spending money, which was a big plus.

4. I figured going to an Ivy (or really anywhere out of state) would result in extra transportation costs, especially if I wanted to come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  Heck, even visiting schools would have cost money I didn't have.

I'm sure I could have made an Ivy work if I really wanted to, but financial considerations made the state school much more attractive.  In the end, I'm happy with where I went, so it all worked out.

I hear you on the visit costs. I was an orphan by the time I finished high school, and an awesome English teacher took me on her own dime with her young kids up to visit the school I eventually attended. It was the only school I visited so I went there, haha.  Clearly it was not a bad choice, but I'm amazed at how haphazard that very important choice was for me.  The internet definitely was around in 2004 but I honestly do not remember using it at all.  I remember piles of catalogs.  I imagine that's changed a lot.

RamonaQ

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2016, 04:13:07 PM »

I hear you on the visit costs. I was an orphan by the time I finished high school, and an awesome English teacher took me on her own dime with her young kids up to visit the school I eventually attended. It was the only school I visited so I went there, haha.  Clearly it was not a bad choice, but I'm amazed at how haphazard that very important choice was for me.  The internet definitely was around in 2004 but I honestly do not remember using it at all.  I remember piles of catalogs.  I imagine that's changed a lot.

That was really cool of your teacher.  I love to hear stories like that.

I know what you mean about the haphazardness of choices at that age.  I got to visit the campus of the university I ultimately attended when I was there for a high school state swim meet.   Their law school was all ivy-covered and looked like what I imagined a college campus to be and I loved it.  Therefore, it must be a good school. :-)

robartsd

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2016, 04:59:59 PM »
Clearly it was not a bad choice, but I'm amazed at how haphazard that very important choice was for me.
Where you go to school is often a lot less important than many people think at the time. My favorite quote from my "Intro to ___" class: "Don't let your schooling get in the way of your education." Your drive get something out of your time in college has a much bigger impact than which college you happen to be at.

Pebs

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2016, 05:05:01 PM »
There's some very good advice on this thread and also quite a bit of inaccurate information.  Go to the source for the information about federal student loans:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#how-much

A dependent student can get a total of $5,500 in federal direct loans their first year (this includes any subsidized and unsubsidized).  This increases to $6,500 the sophomore year and $7,500 the junior and senior years.

Accepting or declining the Parent Plus loans will NOT affect how much federal loans will be made available to the student.  As mentioned upthread, if a parent applies for the Parent Plus loan and is declined, then the student can borrow an additional $4,000 per year.

No bank is going to provide private loans to a young adult with little income and a thin credit history without a co-signer.  Years ago, these loans were easier to come by, which explains some of the anecdotes upthread.

Our EFC is about half of yours so you must make a pretty generous income or have substantial assets.  I'd take a hard look at these for funding a college education rather than taking on large loans. 

We have one who started college this year and she is attending the local community college.  Classes are small compared to a large state university and the instructors are dedicated teachers (not grad students and not professors who would rather be doing research).  The CC has established direct transfer agreements with 4-year state schools so we are expecting a seamless transition.  We are able to cover the cost of these first couple years at the inexpensive CC with no loans.  If DD has to take the direct student loans her junior and senior year, at least the total will be fairly low upon graduation.

I wish you and your daughter the best as you determine which path is the best for your family, both financially and education/career-wise.

Pebs

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2016, 05:12:18 PM »
One more tidbit that may be helpful.  If a student starts at a community college and the family can pay the cost out-of-pocket, the student can still take the federal direct student loans and bank them, to be used later at a more expensive 4-year school.  So, they could have an extra $12,000 in the bank to help cover the last 2 years.

Note that they would have to accept the loans during those first two years. If you don't take them then, you can't take extra in later years.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 05:14:37 PM by Pebs »

robartsd

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #68 on: March 21, 2016, 05:26:21 PM »
One more tidbit that may be helpful.  If a student starts at a community college and the family can pay the cost out-of-pocket, the student can still take the federal direct student loans and bank them, to be used later at a more expensive 4-year school.  So, they could have an extra $12,000 in the bank to help cover the last 2 years.

Note that they would have to accept the loans during those first two years. If you don't take them then, you can't take extra in later years.
That's a good point - especially worth considering if the loans are subsidized (not accruing interest while in school full-time).

mm1970

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #69 on: March 21, 2016, 06:54:18 PM »

I hear you on the visit costs. I was an orphan by the time I finished high school, and an awesome English teacher took me on her own dime with her young kids up to visit the school I eventually attended. It was the only school I visited so I went there, haha.  Clearly it was not a bad choice, but I'm amazed at how haphazard that very important choice was for me.  The internet definitely was around in 2004 but I honestly do not remember using it at all.  I remember piles of catalogs.  I imagine that's changed a lot.

That was really cool of your teacher.  I love to hear stories like that.

I know what you mean about the haphazardness of choices at that age.  I got to visit the campus of the university I ultimately attended when I was there for a high school state swim meet.   Their law school was all ivy-covered and looked like what I imagined a college campus to be and I loved it.  Therefore, it must be a good school. :-)
Yeah.  My private school pretty much provided great financial aid but required me to take out a loan for the max stafford (or whatever it was called) and THEN provided scholarships.  This was also many years ago.  Uh...28 years ago?

But haphazardness - I could only really afford to apply to two colleges: CMU and Penn State.  Both were within a few hours of home.  I couldn't afford out of state (I had some private in state scholarships).  I visited Penn State in a field trip in high school, and I got to spend 5 weeks at CMU because I won a slot in a summer program.  When I went to send in the Penn state application, my high school did it because they attached my grades.  But they forgot to send the $35 application fee.

Bonus for me - I did get a letter that they needed the fee, but it mysteriously dropped to $25.  Score!

JustTrying

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2016, 08:21:28 PM »
Okay, so I didn't read the entire thread, but I have to say: It seems like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself as a parent! I think you said something along the lines of, "I don't want to crush her dreams!" WHAT??? You cannot crush her dreams. They are her responsibility to bring to fruition. If she wants to make this career/education happen, she will.

I don't have any true answers to your original question. I'd just advise you to take yourself out of the equation. If you want to co-sign loans with her, go ahead. But don't assume that you HAVE to take out Plus loans. I certainly wouldn't take out loans for my child to attend college. She is an adult, this is her life and her choice and her responsibility. You don't actually have to solve this problem for her. (Though it probably would have been better if you made this clear to her earlier in her life...)

Villanelle

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #71 on: March 21, 2016, 09:56:59 PM »
If this is *her* dream and she really wants this, *she* should be the one researching loan companies.  It's one thing to offer to help her sort though the options once she finds them, but you aren't doing her any favors by doing this for her.  This is the time she starts becoming an adult.  Create situations where she can practice at that.  Not doing all the leg work for her would be a great place to start.

ender

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #72 on: March 22, 2016, 06:41:16 AM »
"So it is ok to go ahead and commit to a school and when you tell the financial aid office no to PLUS the student will be allowed to borrow more than the max $5500 for incoming freshman we were told?"

Do not commit to the school until you have a solid plan that does not jeopardize you or your daughter's financial future.  You can go ahead and have conversations with the financial aid office to try to get more assistance, but be realistic in what is reasonable for a 19 year old planning to major in a field that has limited employment opportunities.  Just because she can borrow $10,000 a year does not make it a reasonable decision.  That's another reason why inexpensive 2 year college, or signing up with military active duty, ROTC, or reserves can be a wise choice.  After your daughter has a couple years of college or work experience she and you will be in a much better position to judge how much debt she could manage given employment prospects.  Few 19 year olds understand what it will mean to have to pay back large loans.


+1

There are many people here who were not lucky enough to get any of this quoted perspective from their parents. Many people in their 20s and 30s still feel crippled by student loan debt, especially the non-mustachian folks out there. People who followed their dreams since they told they were special and would succeed at them and could do whatever they want, often by parents who were totally supportive, but who ultimately ran into the problem where life and the job market didn't meet their dreams.

Please, for the sake of your daughter (and yourself), at least consider that this route might be setting both of you up for significant heartache and pain with a bunch of debt and nothing other than broken dreams to show for it.

Maybe a decade or more of heartache and financial stress for both of you is worth a small chance of dreams coming true.


It sounds like you are 100% committed to this route regardless of what people here say but I would look into understanding why she wants to do this. Right now, it's just "she's wanted to do this forever." Well, great, but what has she wanted to do? Work with animals? Work on a boat? Work on a boat with animals? What did the marine biologists she's talked to say about their background? Is it possible to do similar work with a more useful fallback plan, ie maybe she can become a ship's engineer and work on a ship doing this work. Or maybe she can do something else which is closely related to marine biology but with better fallback plans. Or was it because she watched Free Willy as a kid and decided that was her calling (anecdotally this was me for quite a large portion of my childhood, starting about that age. I saw that movie and wanted to work with whales for quite a few years of my life).

What has she been doing for the past 10 years to convince you that she really wants to do this? Fields like this are not for the faint of heart - there will be people who don't get jobs who are incredibly motivated/talented. There is not any guarantee. Has she shown the will to do this?  Does she constantly ask you about going to a zoo or asking about going out on water? Does she read books on animal life for fun? Does she have an aquarium? Or is it a fantasy idea that she never follows through with any action or initiative?

If she's not doing these things, odds are that she will have trouble finding a job because there are plenty of other people who are doing those things. It is really important to understand that fleeting or even persistent dreams do not mean much unless action accompanies them.


When I was younger I also wanted to do music for a career. I love playing music and was involved in many orchestras and honor bands and other things. But I didn't naturally want to do that. I did not just have passion for doing that in a way which compelled me to practice. In professional music, you have to be willing to eat/breathe/sleep music if you want to "make it" because the number of jobs are minimal. What I realized is that I didn't have that drive. Sure I loved it, and I enjoyed it, and I would have loved being a professional in a great orchestra, but realistically I wasn't going to be putting in that effort since I had clearly not wanted/done so in my highschool and middle school years.

What I realized though? I naturally optimize everything. I love understanding things and making sense of complexity. Board games? Sign me up for games that require tons of analysis to play and have more rules than the tax code. Need me to make an Excel spreadsheet to simulate an entire online game to determine the best outcomes? Check. I love that sort of thing and did activities related to that in my life all the time for "free" consistently. I programmed tons of stuff on my TI-83. Now I am a software developer who gets to do those types of things for work fun. Looking back on my childhood it makes complete sense why - the types of things I do in my job now are the types of things I loved doing in my freetime.

But no one ever told me to think about this when considering what to do for college. The world encourages you to follow your dream. Some whimsical thing that for the overwhelming majority is not what you end up doing, because it's a mirage and idealized version of something.

What does she do for fun on a regular basis? What types of things? Hopefully you see everywhere in her life evidence that she wants to do marine biology. Hopefully the answers to all those questions above are emphatic "absolutely" yeses. Hopefully there is more to it than a dream.


The reason I am saying this is that my own life is a clear example of me misidentifying my "passion" and missing something blatantly obvious right in my face. I consider myself so blessed and lucky I chose to not pursue music as a career, even though it was my passion/dream when I was in high school, because it was clearly not my passion. The evidence of that was completely obvious had I been self-aware enough to see it.

teen persuasion

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Re: How not to go in debt for kids college-need HELP :(
« Reply #73 on: March 22, 2016, 08:38:39 AM »



Don't take loans out in our names or even consign-could use more info on this, in Ohio who is a good company to go thru for student loans that don't require parent consignment?



Talk to the Financial Aid Office at the college she will be attending.  None of my kids took out privet student loans, they were all through the school in various combos of federal subsidized, federal unsubsidized, school issues unsubsidized, plus various scholarship and work study programs.  How it worked for them is that once they are accepted into the school, the school will issue a financial aid package which will help determine which of several schools to select then once you've decided on which school and committed to that school she goes into her portal and accepts/denies the various forms of aid.  So how that worked was that for the most part my kids accepted subsidized loans (where the gov't covers the interest while student in still enrolled in school and 6 months after) and did not accept unsubsidized and made up the difference with earned income (and a couple thousand a year from Mom & Dad, we've had 3 graduate, 1 is a jr and the 2 youngest are in grade/middle school).  When needed they've accepted the unsubsidized loans but made interest payments from day one so that the amount didn't continue to grow while they were still in school. 

Sounds like you and your dd need to sit down with a Financial Aid counselor at one or more schools she's considering and really get down to the nitty gritty of how the university system works.  No question is too stupid and believe me they have heard it all before (every year in fact).  With our first we were clueless as neither dh nor I had a 4 year degree (we both had 2yr degrees paid for in cash in the early 80's, dh got his BS the same week #1 got hers) and really when we went to school student loans weren't really a thing.  By the time #4 was entering college we were old hands at the whole process and could help guide him through it. 

Every year, they suggest the parent plus loan but we say NO! and then the student is offered the sub/unsub package.

So it is ok to go ahead and commit to a school and when you tell the financial aid office no to PLUS the student will be allowed to borrow more than the max $5500 for incoming freshman we were told?


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No, don't commit to a school until you have your financial aid nailed down.

The $5500 number is for federal loans for freshman (it rises for upperclassmen) per year, not semester.  You can refuse any part of a financial aid package, but a school is not required to replace that aid with other aid.  My DD1's first choice college gapped her $16k, and she appealed.  The school merely suggested PLUS loans, which were not an option for us.  The school then just suggested that she would be happier at another school.  She was very happy at a private university much nearer to home, which offered full aid (yes, including federal loans), but staying in-state meant more state aid in addition to the university's greater scholarships and grants.

Does your child have other, competing school financial aid offers?  My DS2 successfully used competing school offers to get his first choice school to meet and beat another school's FA offer.