Author Topic: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships  (Read 6502 times)

thebentobuff

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My parents aren't helping me with college(well I live at home but I also pay them rent, so there's that) and I pay for all of my own bills except for health insurance(at the moment).
I work full-time as a machinist, attend university out of pocket part time, I'm 23 and make just a touch over 30,000 gross a year (US). I go to college part time and have filled out the fasfa on several occasions(each time with a particular parent getting into a HUGE rage over my needing to know their tax information, which is scary but besides the point) but my parents' combined total income is way too much to help me qualify for any need based assistance aside from scary loans. Any time I search for scholarships I come across these barriers. Students have to be shining examples of society or that their family has to be piss-poor. Needless to say, while I wasn't ever a troublesome kid, I didn't do much volunteering and again, my dad makes a lot of money(but chooses to buy "toys", but the minimalist in me must not judge!) so I can't even get in on those. I'm also white, so minority scholarships are out. Annnnndddd I'm arts major, so there goes any STEM degree scholarship options(and that's why I refuse to go into debt for my degree).

My google-fu is quite possibly the worst and that's really the only kinds of scholarships I keep coming across and I feel like I'm overlooking something huge. Aside from just saving money for classes, going to community college classes(and transferring them over right away to my university, I attend both simultaneously taking a class at each each semester) and paying out of pocket, what am I overlooking? Is there a keyword or a special kind of scholarship I should be looking at? When I turn 24 in November, will there be anything else that will open up to me as an option? I feel so frustrated, I was going to sign up for two classes at the University for the fall but they hit me with a $3,000 bill. I hunted through the artsys page and found a class at the community college that will transfer as a general elective in a topic I adore(history) that I hadn't taken yet with a teacher I adore. That class was about a third of the university class, so I'll drop one of those two at the University and drop the fall semester to about $2000. Imagine some sweaty brow wiping right there!

I feel like I'm doing everything right but also like I'm not. I've never drank, I've never tried drugs, I'm a minimalist who buys used wherever she can and is about to embark on a year long shopping ban but I feel like it'd honestly be easy sauce, just avoid the tamagotchi community and continue avoiding tech news so I don't look lustfully at new phones and digital pets. I really don't know what else I can cut back on. I keep trying to scale back going out to dinner and such with the boyfriend, and I've been trying to get my family to handle the holidays with us all picking a name out of a hat and only having to shop for one person. I have no say, just expectations with the boyfriend of 8 years' family, so I might just stop buying presents for my blood family altogether because I honestly don't feel as much guilt when I piss them off, for some reason. It seriously feels like I'm dropping at least 50-100 bucks on presents a month on people I love, when the very notion of receiving gifts myself repulses me(minimalist and I despise the clutter and the figuring out how to get rid of stuff without offending people.

Sorry for the slew of parenthesis, it's just one of those things that feels like it needs a lot of context.

Any advice you all have, I'd greatly appreciate and take anything you all suggest into careful consideration, I just want to be able to breathe easy when it comes to my tuition along with having a 6 month emergency fund(I recently burned through a lot of it) and saving at least something for retirement.

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 10:12:24 AM »
I would make an appointment with someone at the financial aid office at the University and detail your situation to them.

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 10:17:09 AM »
I would make an appointment with someone at the financial aid office at the University and detail your situation to them.

*Face palm* That's so obvious! I can't believe I never thought to do that! I'm literally laughing right now. You're super right, I was overlooking something huge! I'll make an appointment for sometime next week during my lunch break tomorrow and ask for that time off of work(my boss is pretty cool with giving me time off to take care of school stuff, so that works swimmingly, especially if it saves me a boatload of money).

Dollar Slice

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 10:19:14 AM »
When I turn 24 in November, will there be anything else that will open up to me as an option?

According to this page:
http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/IndependentStudentStatus.phtml

Turning 24 means you are allowed to file as an independent without putting your parents or their money on your scholarship applications. This should make a huge difference for you!

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 10:27:32 AM »
\When I turn 24 in November, will there be anything else that will open up to me as an option?

According to this page:
http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/IndependentStudentStatus.phtml

Turning 24 means you are allowed to file as an independent without putting your parents or their money on your scholarship applications. This should make a huge difference for you!
And I'd heard about something along those lines before, which is why I mentioned it in my post. That's super helpful, I'll be sure to bring that up when I go to the Financial Aid office! Thank you so much! I bet that even means I won't need my parents' information, meaning I'll be free of that hassle when I fill out the FASFA again! That will make that significantly easier to fill out. No screaming at me to be had! Whooooo!

Thank you both so much!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016, 10:51:02 AM »
What is the end goal for this arts degree? Do you have a job waiting for you once you obtain this degree, or know where to move to get a high paying job? If so, it would make sense to take out (not too terribly high) loans to fund your college courses.

Speaking as a person that has an arts degree and worked as a designer for my entire career... it's not a stable path, you're going to experience great difficulties finding a decent enough paying job, and the degree is likely going to be a waste of your time and energy (especially since if you have real talent, you don't need formal schooling or a degree to do well).

My experience with decent grants/scholarships for the arts is quite dated, but in my time, they were almost all performance/portfolio based. If you don't have a great portfolio of projects from high school through to current times, that does not bode well for your chances (artwork, music performances, whatever - they're looking for talent and ambition).

But do speak with the school's financial aid office as suggested. Also back in school, I had an assigned department advisor as well, if you do have something like this, they might be able to direct you to talent/merit grants and scholarships as well if they think you've a strong enough portfolio to have decent chances.

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2016, 11:04:50 AM »
Re arts: if you major in history and economics, that might get you somewhere in the business world.

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2016, 11:14:55 AM »
TL;DR, if you jump below to the bold, it sums it up. :)

It's technically an arts type degree at my University, but it's actually creative writing. I didn't really want to specify because I didn't think it was terribly relevant and I didn't feel like I should put that out there(but now it is relevant).

Sadly, no job lined up after, aside from continuing my machining job(It's not all bad, I get raises every year and I love cutting metal. I find it fun.), and the odds of landing one appear quite slim. I do plan to stick with machining for a bit after graduating, anyway. I've also been writing a novel during my summer break, hopefully it'll be good enough to get picked up, that'd be a pretty cool addition to my portfolio.

I do write every day and I see myself improving(some of my old stuff is absolutely horrendous and I threw out everything from highschool before because I thought I was going to do computer science. I ended up hating that field). I did just get my first short story published, so here's to many more publications!

But yeah, to sum it up, no, it doesn't make sense for me to take out a loan at all. But, I do have a teacher who offers me advice and hooks me up with lists of places that are open for publication submissions(my adviser just left the college to go to one closer to her husband) so I'll ask him about those scholarships when I see him next. I'm actually taking a class with him in the fall, so that's pretty perfect. And he believes in me enough to help me out despite my not even being one of his assigned students, so that's gotta account for something. Meanwhile I'll keep building my portfolio! Maybe I'll come out debt free and with a job in publishing! If not, there's always cutting metal. :)

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2016, 11:16:18 AM »
If you love cutting metal, what about mechanical engineering?

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2016, 11:21:28 AM »
Re arts: if you major in history and economics, that might get you somewhere in the business world.

I do adore learning about history but that's not my major. I've considered minoring in it, but that'd probably be too much fun for me. ;)
As for economics, I can't seem to get into it as a whole. I love it on the individual level(budgeting fiend!) but to be honest, investing scares the ever living daylights out of me.
There are a buttload of accounting classes I can take at my community college that count as electives to my university, so I imagine I might take a few of those classes to save myself a few grand. I wonder if there's an associates related to all those classes however. I could work on my BS and associates at the same time and have a third career field be open to me. Looks like I need to make another appointment, this time at my community college!

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2016, 11:25:14 AM »
If you love cutting metal, what about mechanical engineering?
I considered doing that but there's only one place within a hundred miles that offers that, and it's not recognized as a full engineering degree by the government. I was shocked when I'd learned that. I had gotten into the university, paid for classes and everything. That was nuts, I got a refund, however. I'd learned it before I'd started attending.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 11:26:58 AM by thebentobuff »

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2016, 12:16:44 PM »
Do you need to stay where you are for school?

waltworks

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2016, 12:42:56 PM »
I considered doing that but there's only one place within a hundred miles that offers that, and it's not recognized as a full engineering degree by the government.

Wait, where do you live? An engineering bachelors is something that basically every college/university of every type above community college offers...

Time to move, son.

-Walt

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2016, 12:46:00 PM »
Where do you live now? What were your SAT/ACT scores?

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2016, 01:04:00 PM »
Where do you live now? What were your SAT/ACT scores?
I'm on the Maryland Eastern Shore.
And my parents complained a lot about how expensive those tests were, so I only took the SAT. I barely got over average. I'm not a lot on the brains department, I'm afraid. I'm not afraid, however, to work my butt off, and that's what I've been doing for these past 6 years to pay for my education. Sadly, I still have another 2-3 years to go with this part time college student business.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 01:05:37 PM by thebentobuff »

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2016, 01:15:16 PM »
I considered doing that but there's only one place within a hundred miles that offers that, and it's not recognized as a full engineering degree by the government.

Wait, where do you live? An engineering bachelors is something that basically every college/university of every type above community college offers...

Time to move, son.

-Walt
Gal here, but the only real engineering degree option locally is an Electrical Engineering degree. Regardless, I enjoy machining but I don't think I want to be an engineer. I used to think I wanted that but after thinking about it for a good long while(I considered a lot of things while back at the community college) but I really don't want that to be the degree I get anymore. Writing has been a passion way longer for me than making things, to be honest.

Dee18

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2016, 04:55:20 PM »
Get a job at a university that provides free tuition to employees for undergrad degrees.  Many, many colleges and universities do this. My present and my former employer both provide this benefit. My current employer even allows employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate class times. Check out the Frugalwoods blog; she even managed to get a graduate degree free.  You may need to move to do this, but I am sure there are opportunities for someone with your skills. 
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 05:25:16 PM by Dee18 »

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2016, 06:06:13 PM »
Have you thought about the military?

Axecleaver

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2016, 06:28:11 PM »
The best way to improve your writing is to practice writing. Also do a lot of reading. College creative writing classes will help improve your technique, but not nearly as much as writing and being part of a review group to assess your work.

Source: English major who did lots of creative writing 25 years ago. Have published and sold technical books, working on some new projects now. Writing is responsible for 80% of my business success. Consider grant writing, RFP capture manager jobs, technical writer for careers.

thebentobuff

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2016, 09:18:01 PM »
The best way to improve your writing is to practice writing. Also do a lot of reading. College creative writing classes will help improve your technique, but not nearly as much as writing and being part of a review group to assess your work.

Source: English major who did lots of creative writing 25 years ago. Have published and sold technical books, working on some new projects now. Writing is responsible for 80% of my business success. Consider grant writing, RFP capture manager jobs, technical writer for careers.
Working on the reading and writing a lot more. I used to read and write a LOT back up to and through high school. It just came naturally. Then I decided that I "should be an engineer because of all the money," which is seldom the right reason to do anything unless you have other reasons behind it, IMO. When I was pursuing that I fell out of reading and writing and that was one of the worst spots in my life. Dare I admit that I hated my job for a spell? When I decided to try Nanowrimo, it was one of the hardest things I'd ever done in my life, but at the end of that month I'd won and felt so much better on the other side. It's utter garbage but even after a few semesters with those sorts of scenes you're talking about(workshop type-classes) I see how much my writing has improved.
I'd also set a goal of reading twelve books in 2016. I finished that goal really early this month and have been writing nearly every day. :)
I'll look into those career options, thanks for the pro-tip!

pbkmaine

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2016, 09:25:53 PM »
Axecleaver is onto something. With your background, technical writing might be a really good fit.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_writing

lhamo

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2016, 02:04:49 AM »
Also check out Mike Rowe works for scholarship opportunities in the trades.

lhamo

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2016, 02:51:35 AM »
2016 competition is already over, but check back for next year's competition:

http://profoundlydisconnected.com/scholarship/

Villanelle

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2016, 03:08:33 AM »
Call you local library, ask to speak to someone in the reference department, and see if someone would be willing to sit down with you and help you research scholarships.  There are tons and tons of small scholarships out there, and many go unclaimed. Even if it is $100 here and $500 there, that adds up.  And they are for random things that you might not think of on your own.  (Left handed?  Have asthma?  There are scholarships for these things.)  Your library and librarian may be a bust, but it's worth a try.  If the branch isn't super busy (and make sure you let them know you will come in whenever is convenient for them!), they might have time to really sit with you and research. 

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2016, 03:34:07 AM »
If your work is supportive of your schooling could you ask if they would create the thebentobuff scholarship?

Have you looked into what else you could (legally and morally) do to get yourself declared financially independent from your parents?

mozar

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2016, 10:30:40 AM »
I think you're doing well, my only suggestion is to move out. You won't be able to save as much but it will be worth it to not live with people who don't support you.

kite

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2016, 11:04:41 AM »
Digital pets & $100/ month on gifts???  Going out to eat with the BF of 8 years??

I'm a middle aged scold and going to sound like one if I say too much.  What you are doing community college wise is brilliant.   Yes, absolutely pay the least you can for classes that transfer to the University. 
Oh, I cannot help it...
My dad left home at 17, joining the Navy in WW II.  He finished his high school education in the service.  After the war, he did manual labor on a farm for 6 years to save the money for college. 
Likewise, I left at 17.  My folks helped only with the first year of college.  Without resources to finish, I too got a full time job, married at 20 and did the part time community college route.  The great thing about marriage, as far as FAFSA is concerned, was my parents' income was irrelevant.  Mine, with my husband, was about what yours is, and it was enough to buy a home for $100k.  Alas, our income made me ineligible for need based aid.  I did get a student loan though and finished a university degree eventually. 

Take a good long look at everything you are doing (work, school, boyfriend, living situation, spending patterns) and see if it is helping or hurting you achieve your ultimate goal.  You need to shelve any hurt feelings about your parent's financial priorities, as well as any notion that being white is somehow a disadvantage on the scholarship front.  Those are non starters.  Facing the struggle between wants & needs versus what your income provides is called being a grown up.  Welcome to the party, it lasts the rest of your life. 
As a fellow grown up, I'm going to point out that the family gift expectations of the BF of 8 years are  shit, shit, shit.  There are 2 possibilities for you two:  eternal Bliss or eventual decoupling.  If the latter, every bloody dime on gifts for them was a waste of your money.  If the former, you are needlessly setting expectations higher than can be maintained, ie... wasting money now and in perpetuity.  Dial those back to zero.  They love you for you and don't need gifts; or they are using you and neither need nor deserve gifts. 

teen persuasion

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2016, 03:06:22 PM »
Yeah, I'm going to have to echo Kite - money is tight because of whatever it is you are spending it on.  Figure out your priorities.  Honestly, we've been raising 5 kids and paid down student loans and a mortgage 15 years early, all on roughly $30k net for years.

If you want to see what turning 24 changes for you on the FAFSA, Google "EFC formulas 2016-17" and work thru the independent student section.  Since you are making roughly $30k and single w/o dependents, your EFC will still be pretty high, I believe.  Broadly, subtract taxes paid and roughly $10k allowance from your gross income.  Fifty percent of that, plus 20 percent of any savings is what you are expected to contribute.


ltt

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2016, 03:51:02 PM »
Echo the going and sitting down with your financial aid office, explain your situation, and see if you need your parents' info.  It was somewhat difficult for me to let our son see our tax/financial info, but I got over it, and told him he had our blessing to attend the school he wants to attend.  :)

Chrissy

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2016, 10:58:29 PM »
+1 to mozar.

Also, you are KICKASS.  A lady machinist at 23 year of age?  Going to school for your passion?  Without going into debt?  Yes, yes, and hell yes!  I'm old, but I kinda wanna be you when I grow up.  Let us know how the appointment goes with the counselor.

stashgrower

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Re: Money is Tight but generally ineligible for College Scholarships
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2016, 05:38:41 AM »
Fin aid office. Find a relevant job, show them you're great at your job, and see if they will help you pay for tuition.

+1 you rock!!

And I can relate to your situation (minus parental income), I've done everything good and I'm over the help line *because I'm frugal* :(