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#733 - 08/12/2005 08:42 AM financial aid for non-degree students
AltoRose Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/2004
Hi all,

There's so much great advice on this board...reading through all of these posts have really helped me out a lot. I have a question, however, about financial aid.

Here's my story: I'm 25, and I want to go back to school to become an elementary/middle school teacher. I have some college experience -- I attended for two years right out of high school, and then transferred to a different school in a different state when my family moved to the midwest. I had a really hard time adjusting to the change, and I was dealing with a lot of personal drama at the time, and didn't perform very well at my new school. After three semesters, I dropped out and moved back to the east coast.

I've been working at a magazine for three years, but I really want to go back to school to be a teacher. I applied to a local state school for fall 2005 admission, but because of my low GPA (and because I probably seemed flaky because this would be my second transfer), I was rejected. They did tell me, however, that I would be accepted if I took 12 credits through Continuing Ed and did well.

That would be fine, except that I really need financial aid ($300 per credit hour is way too steep for me to pay on my own). And as far as I know (please, someone correct me if I'm wrong), federal financial aid is only available to degree students.

Does anyone have any advice on finding ways to pay for classes without getting federal financial aid? The company I work for offers tuition reimbursement, but I don't want to go that route because a) they don't reimburse until the end of the semester, which doesn't really help me; and b) I need to stay with the company for three years after completing any classes that they pay for (otherwise I have to reimburse the company). Since I eventually want to go to school full-time (I can't complete the teacher education program by just doing evening classes), that's not the best option.

So...that's my situation. Any advice at all would be insanely helpful. Thanks so much!

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#734 - 08/12/2005 10:15 AM Re: financial aid for non-degree students
WildEEP Offline
Member

Registered: 05/07/2004
Its not about degree seeking - in fact student aid doesnt even base around that except for one question on the form which asks if you have already achieved an undergraduate degree. This is so that they arent funding your 4th bachelor degree..the government has its limits on its charity.

Its the difference between part time and full time students. You would be a part time student and yes you can still qualify for student aid. Since you are now 25 you only need to give your own pay instead of your parents.

The kicker of course is that they will not factor in ANY of your consumer debt. No house, no car, no rent, they just look at your overall income level versus the forumla they have for a part time or full time student.

Now paying the difference of what aid you get versus what it costs. Scholarships are still an option if you think you can write a good paper on any particular subject - it never hurts to try and all they can say is No, right?

But hey, lets be frank here shall we? The dream of going to school for free ran out somewhere 30someodd years ago and we all know that we are too poor to start forking over large amounts of cash in the thousands of dollars.

Welcome to the wonderful world of student loans. You're going to have them so its best if you get used to that idea right now. The awesome thing about student loans is that they'll give them to just about anyone. They are ultra low % based and have more flexibility for repayment than any other loan on the planet. Go talk to your bank, they'll be happy to explain whats involved. Do some rearch online to find better deals on fees and % rates and you'll have taken your first step toward your new future.

Now before anyone decides to fire up the flak cannons for using that nasty four letter word "D-E-B-T". Think of it like this..a new Car will run you 30,000 dollars, but its only garantueed to last you 5 years. A college education will run you the same price..but its garantueed to last you a lifetime.

What would your rather spend your money on?

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#735 - 08/12/2005 10:24 AM Re: financial aid for non-degree students
AltoRose Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/2004
Oh, I have no problem with student loans. I had them when I was in school before, and I'm working on paying them off as we speak. That's not a problem at all.

As far as the FAFSA and stuff goes, though, I was told by the financial aid staff at the university that I could only apply for federal aid if I was a matriculated, degree-seeking student. The grants and federal loans that come from filing the FAFSA aren't available to continuing ed students, or so they told me.

You mentioned getting student loans from the bank. I've never done this before (I always got them through Direct Loans), and I'm concerned because I have pretty lousy credit (another problem that followed me out of the rough couple of years I had). Are banks more forgiving when it comes to student loans?

Thanks so much for your advice; this is so helpful.

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#736 - 08/12/2005 10:50 AM Re: financial aid for non-degree students
WildEEP Offline
Member

Registered: 05/07/2004
Well the aid folks may indeed know more than I on the student aid, but I've read the FAFSA forms over and over and it specifically asks you how many credit hours you'll be taking. Maybe they wont reward you much, but the way I figure it is - Fill out the forms and see, you never know, those rules change yearly.

Another thing...Everyone has lousy credit. I was making excellent money in the Tech market right out of highschool. My health crashed due to an explosion of an internal organ and with it so did my bank account. One emergency surgury and months of recovery later - I'm still here, but my money isnt lol.

Student loans are given out like candy. The number one reason is that you cannot declare bankruptcy out them. They are attached to your very soul LOL.

Just about every lending institution you can think of has a student loan program of some sort. Just spend some time investigating and get the best deal you can for your position. Maybe it'll mean higher interest rates or more fees, but either way, you'll get it.

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#737 - 08/12/2005 10:56 AM Re: financial aid for non-degree students
WildEEP Offline
Member

Registered: 05/07/2004
Oh and something else occured to me in the big money picture.

Don't forget taxes! Rememer that every dime you pay a learning institution is tax deductable. You can get a nice big return come the beginning of the year.

Just something to consider when considering repayment options.

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