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Financial Aid for college

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Financial Aid for college

Post  daytonaman1 on Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:35 am

Does anyone have knowledge of how the Financial Aid process works? My fiance and I have been accepted to online college courses. In the acceptance letter's we received, it states that the required text books are not covered by financial aid.
We have both filled out the FAFSA, both qualify, her EFC= 00000, my EFC= 00196 ?!?

According to The 2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines, $14,710.00 is what shows for 2 people in the household. My fiance is receiving Unemployment compensation of $246.00 bi weekly before taxes, after taxes $222.00, the total yearly after taxes is $5772.00, How far below is that considered?
I do not qualify for Unemployment for reasons I have stated in another area in this forum.
We are living in a motel room, after rent and basics, there is no money left. We have been approved for SNAP, because we do not have a child under 19, cash assistance has not been approved, nor has it been denied.

Any ideas on how to actually go to school, and survive?

daytonaman1

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Join date : 2011-06-07
Location : Daytona Beach Shores, FL

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Re: Financial Aid for college

Post  nancym on Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:21 pm

daytonaman1 wrote:Does anyone have knowledge of how the Financial Aid process works? My fiance and I have been accepted to online college courses. In the acceptance letter's we received, it states that the required text books are not covered by financial aid.
We have both filled out the FAFSA, both qualify, her EFC= 00000, my EFC= 00196 ?!?
...
Any ideas on how to actually go to school, and survive?

You won't have any trouble qualifying for financial aid of some kind; almost anyone who isn't wealthy or supported by wealthy parents can qualify for a student loan. And if you don't have a BA degree, you may be able to get a Pell Grant, which doesn't have to be paid back. And right now federal student loans are dirt cheap, no guarantee how long that will last with all this economic upheaval lately.

I went back to school to upgrade my computer skills last year and will be finishing this year. It was probably the only way I could survive that time. I now have a little more income from freelance work to help supplement the loans, so I'm keeping up my skills in the workplace as I'm adding new skills with courses in Digital Tech/Multimedia at Broward College.

The trick with financial aid is not to get hooked into one of these ultra-expensive online or regular colleges that use a lot of tricks to get you into a program with aid money up front and a vague promise of employment, but then you can end up in worse shape than when you started, not only unemployed, but deep in debt---and school loans are not usually discardable in bankruptcy. I know this first-hand because I once worked for a commercial school; they would drag in people who really weren't suited for a particular career and then saddle them with all kinds of debt--some even dropped out early but still owed money beyond the federal loans because of the terms of the sign-up agreement. There are even efforts to curb this kind of activity with legislation, but I'm not sure any has passed. (There's an entire Frontline program on the subject.)

Before you commit to anything, please, please, please check if you have WIA funding available to you in your area --Volusia County, right? It can be a royal hassle to get to the right people to get the info, but if they have funds for WIA, there is generally a long list of approved institutions, anywhere from a short course to a full BA degree. Not all institutions will handle federal student loans (sounds odd, but some small tech colleges don't have the staff to administer that sort of thing).

I found this list online, not sure if it's your exact area, but you can research with whoever your nearest One-Stop center is:
http://www.onestops.com/Jobseekers/Approved%20Training%20Vendors.pdf
http://www.onestops.com/Jobseekers/jobseekers_services.html

See my posts under the "Training for the unemployed" thread here for more info about how WIA grants work. There's a lot of paperwork and deadlines, but they paid for ALL of my tuition and books too. I used the loans plus a little money from freelance to survive the other living expenses. If you have low or no rent or are sharing, you can manage it.

If transportation is a problem, you might be surprised just how many classes are online from regular community colleges, costing a fraction of what one of the commercial online schools is charging. Some are good programs, some not, but that goes for the commercial schools as well. About a third of my own classes were online, a third not, and another third were "blended"--i.e., some class attendance required, the rest online assignments. For computer stuff, as soon as I could afford it, I signed up for Lynda.com in order to supplement my classroom training. As you probably know, there are other online classes like that, both free and subscription.

Good luck. The financial aid process CAN be a hassle, but they've made the FAFSA easier, and if you meet all the paperwork deadlines and get some help from advisors, it can be worth it.
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nancym

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