Loans-University-Working-Independence > HALP

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Sakura, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Hey Iwakuan ;~;

    I need some help again. The stuff below is going to be super personal, but I feel that telling my college classmates always rendered more or less the same advice and I do want to think of other options. And I have only a handful of people in school whom I trust with such personal information.

    Please don't read the following if you are only going to pity me or judge me. I'd rather not be treated either way.

    Recently, my mom pulled out financially. It was during my finals week and almost cost me my exams. She refused to pay for my summer classes (she is wealthy and it was our agreement that she would pay for this school, I wanted to go elsewhere. but I tried to make the most of it, and I love my school now), basically throwing awry my internship and summer classes and also my next semester class schedule.

    That aside, she's now on/off about paying. Dad is retired doesn't have that kind of money. On taxes, she's been putting me as her dependent for years, but she refuses to pay. Come September, she might cough up the money after days and days of verbal and sometimes, physical abuse.

    I'm really really tired of it. I don't want her money if it means that I'm bargaining with a monster. I'm tired of the guilt trips and the "I gave you money for college." as if that money was her life support (which it isn't. she's very rich and owns many properties in other states).

    FAFSA and financial aid isn't giving me much. The school's tuition is around 20,000$ a semester. It's crazy expensive. I get about 6500$ in scholarship a semester. I have about $12000 in savings. I am not eligible for federal grants because of my mom's income. The cheapest dorm option is 5,000$ a semester.

    So here's the problem. I used to work 12 hours a week. It gets me around ~150$ a week. I spent about $500 on laundry, grocery, amenities. If I try and find an apartment instead of the hostel, the local area of the school +/- 30 minutes train ride it's around $2000 for a one-bedroom or $1200 for a studio. If you split it, I guess it's possible. I'm currently hunting down roommates. I can get a better paying job, too. I'm thinking of maybe studying part-time (less than 12 credits) that's $1192 or something per credit, but they don't give financial aid, so no scholarship.

    Ah.. There's also this. On emergency basis my dad attempted to transfer me to McGill University in Montreal, his alma matter. I wasn't able to get in. They told us it was really really really late to submit an application and that we shouldn't get our hopes up. Then, two weeks later they told us that they don't have a seat for me because to be honest, my GPA isn't outstanding and they don't see any reason to accept me on a late-special-third-year-transfer basis. They suggested I should apply on time for a transfer next year. Which is just. hard to believe. And I'm super upset. I just put my hopes on my dad being able to talk to his alma matter because he said it like he could, but I guess dad can't do everything right?

    These last few months have been absolutely grueling. Living alone in Brooklyn was hard. Groceries and cooking and taking of my own expenses was hard. But entering a world of loans and debt that I know nothing about and my dad can't help me either. Just feels really hopeless and I want to be strong and look for my options seriously.

    Also, I have an allergic condition for the last six months. Chronic urticaria. No idea what causes it. Doctor gave me three stages of medicine. One for every morning. It's very low-dosage. Sometimes it doesn't work. In that case, I'm supposed to wait six hours and take stage two. And worst case scenario, before I sleep take stage 3 which is the same medicine they give people before surgery otherwise I'm covered in hives and all swollen itchy and unable to sit still. Apparently stress makes it worse. I think I'm going to explode.

    Well the bright side is that I'm still positive? I don't mind working, living alone and studying part-time. Maybe also considering taking a semester off and just working my butt off. I guess it's time I grew up and realized that if I'm going to want something, I'm going to have to work for it myself.

    Anyways. I seriously need advice. I don't know what I'm doing, what I should do. About taking loans, I know only the basics. Is there a way for me to be financially independent legally, etc. I have tons of questions and no one to talk to. So I've turned to you guys as always.

    Please help me ;~;
    #1 Sakura, Jun 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  2. I have several options, some ideas may be better than others and also depends on how far along you are with your education.

    I really don't know how you would do this in New York, since I live in California and never went through the process, but you could get legally emancipated. I think in New York you have to be 21 to be independent. A dear friend of mine had to get legally emancipated and he's the same age as me. His mother refused to take care of him, kicked him out of the house and is now currently living with his grandmother. Basically he did it so he wouldn't have to report his mother's income when it came to financial aid. However in your case, I'm not sure how well it will work. On a life time basis, the government can only give you so much to support your education. You can check the status of your Pell Grant on the FAFSA website I think, so you can figure out how much you are entitled to.

    As for student loans... =/ The general opinion about them is to not take it. Perhaps a decade ago when the economy wasn't in such bad shape I would say go for it. But July 1st is when they're debating on whether to double student loan interest rate, or keep them the same. Some are already 7% so that's kinda scary... It really depends on several things: how far along are you with your degree/are you going to graduate soon, is the degree you're getting going to get you a good job to pay back your loans, and whether you can in good conscience be in debt. Even I'm asking myself that question about loans, so know that you're not alone in this predicament.

    Worse comes to worst - You can always work for a little bit to pay things off. Definitely look for that roommate option though. Also look into seeing if you can live in a house with roommates because that tends to be cheaper. Then again New York is expensive so I don't know if that would be the best option. Perhaps try to live with other family members within the area?

    Is there any way you could transfer to a less expensive school that gives you the same degree? I mean, you could work 20-30 hours, take school part time and live in a dorm or on your own that way. $20,000 is crazy expensive for just a semester of schooling. =/

    I'm sorry you're suffering from an allergic condition. =/

    ... Well wait. It sounds familiar. *Googles* Okay that's because I watched a documentary about this a week ago. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It's about an Australian who has the same condition, but he was also overweight and last I heard you've been exercising. Anyways, the documentary chronicles how he lost weight and is trying to get rid of his condition by juicing. I won't elaborate too much about it, but if you are curious about how he shed those pounds and stopped taking medication, do watch it. It's on Netflix and you can get a free trial for a month.

    I really hope everything works out for you. You're a very smart, bright girl who deserves to be happy.
  3. Zen, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me advice ;~;

    Unfortunately, I'm 20 years old and won't be 21 until March. That means my fall semester is going to be a sure headache. I'll look it up though! Something else might be possible

    The latest transfer failed because of missed deadlines. Didn't think my mom wasn't going to pay for it like that and throw everything into chaos. I told the school my situation, but it's hard to say how much they can help. It's crazy insane expensive, but it's an Ivy League-type school. My mother insisted for me to go here and now she doesn't want to pay anymore >_<". They say that once we graduate, if we're connected, our average salaries will be 60,000 a year. Apparently it's a really good salary so most kids are up to 40k in loans. But I just don't know if I can, you know?

    Thanks for being on the boat with me on that ;~;

    <3 You almost made me cry.
    I'm going to check out the movie! Yeah, I've been pretty active lately and lost a lot of weight in the past six months. I'll check it out, maybe there's something that can help me get rid of the medication. The drowsiness is killer.

    Thank you so much for you help and so fast. I am so touched!
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  4. I can't really speak for the state of Universities and Colleges in the USA, but I can offer a bit of advice in general about dealing with this manner of shenanigans. Life has a tendency to throw curve-balls at you when you're away off at Uni, but they can be handled.

    First thing first, roommates. Get some, because they are awesome on multiple levels. For one, its kind of nice having someone else kicking around in the place you're staying in, someone to joke around with and arse about when you're not studying or what-have-you. Secondly, they really help to keep the costs down: no longer are you paying for all those amenities by yourself, you'll now have two or three people to split them with. Thirdly, it can be helpful having more than one person in an apartment if something should go wrong: people come from many different backgrounds with many different life skills, and on several occassions I've found that its my flatmates who knew exactly how to solve an issue we were having with our flat, and not me.

    Zen's advice about student loans is most wise and bears repeating. I'd be very, very wary about going down that route. Dunno how it works in the US compared to over here, but I've seen guys walk away from education with boat-loads of debt that they'll be struggling to pay off for a long time and you don't want to be in that situation as well. Does your University have a hardship fund at all? Because that may be worth considering if you do; those sort of funds will take into account your actual situation rather than just looking at your folks' income and going "lol nope".

    Your transfer idea is also definitely an option if that's the route you'd like to go down. Honestly, the main reason your previous application probably fell through is because of it being so later on in the academic year; Unis are always nervous about that sort of thing. But if you were to apply again, before the academic year kicks off again, I'd wager they'll be singing a very different tune. You're an extremely smart person, after all, there's no reason why they wouldn't want you if that's where you want to go.

    Other than that, there's always lots of little things you can do to keep costs down. Going for the cheaper options food-wise, walking to places you can walk to rather than taking public transport and all that. It won't seem like you're saving much just on its own, but in the long-term it can add up and help you out. Afraid I can't offer much by way of advice on the allergies thing; all I can say is that it sucks and I hope you get better soon.

    Keep your chin up and have a good think about your options on this one, because its a very important decision. Getting advice off folks is a smart move, but don't let anyone make the call for you: it's your education, your life and your decision, after all, and no-one will be able to make it as well as you can.

    Best of luck with everything, Sakura.
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  5. I don't know about your school but mine offers some non federal options to help students. Recently they opened a food pantry on campus, something like that may help you cut down on other costs. They also offer a NON federal emergency loan of up to about $400 . Because it's from the school they don't charge you interest. Also, maybe you could use your dad's info on the FAFSA? Then maybe your overall award would go up. Good luck don't know if this was much help...
  6. I am sure you have tried this option already, but the least burdensome and most immediate solution (though perhaps not the least stressful), is to get your mom to pay.

    Have an upfront and frank discussion with her that you know it's a lot of money and that you appreciate her paying for as much as she already has (I don't know your personal relationship with your mom, but saying "I love you" helps - especially if you mean it). Generally speaking, parents want to see their children succeed. Again I don't know the exact circumstances of your mom deciding to pull her support for you financially, but have a discussion with her, CALMLY (even if maybe she's not or you're not) and see if you can address the issue that way. See if maybe there is some way for you to make it up to her. Explain that you are looking around at all kinds of options but, on your own, you just don't see a way to make ends meet. If your mom still turns you away, then I would consider detaching yourself and becoming emancipated. Even if the age requirement is 21, they may be willing to make a special exception.

    Speak with an academic advisor or counselor at your university and see if anything can be done or if they have any special insight that maybe we've missed. Cut costs wherever you can, walk, conserve, reuse, as much as you can. Fortunately NY has some of the country's cleanest tap water so you can easily save some that way. Feels weird drinking from the tap sometimes though haha.

    Worst case, you'll have to take some time off to work full time or just become a part time student if you can afford to do both. Worst worst worst case, take the loans and study YOUR ASS OFF. Finish as quickly as possible and see if you can get a job lined up for when you graduate. Then pay off as much of the loans as you can afford to as quickly as you can.

    Keep the Montreal school in mind and consider still applying there during the normal transfer period. Cost of living there will be much lower than in NY.

    EDIT: Whereabouts in NY are you? At NYU? Columbia? I have some friends who are still in undergrad there who I think I can reach out to and see if they are looking for roommates or if they can help some other way.
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  7. I'm sorry. That's not a very nice situation. Just work your hardest and that's all you can do. You must become educated. The entire point of forcing students to pay for education is to divide the country into different socio-economic classes. Break the cycle!