Student Loans, When Your Parents Say No but the Tuition Says Yes

by Danielle
(Arizona, United States)

The transition between schools is always a challenging one. You become anxious and nervous, and everyone’s first thought always seems to be getting lost in the new scenery, but when you transition from high school to college the biggest thought seems to be about providing financially for that higher education. How will I pay for my classes? How do I decide what resources are the best when determining how to pay for my classes? These types of questions bombard students’ minds but where are the answers found? Simply through the tales of others and the advice that comes from those who have gone through those experiences.

My parents never had the opportunity to go to college but strive for the success of my siblings and I and for us to attend college and have good lives for ourselves. Unfortunately, my parents cannot afford to put three children through college. My parents have helped in certain areas when it comes to college but the rest is up to us, including paying for it in the financial sense. The only problem is tuition, books, gas, can all be a little too much for someone who only works part time jobs. It would be an understatement to say my freshman year of college was a little more than I had anticipated.

My first semester, I worked two part time jobs, three at one point, and also took 16 credits. I had no lab classes yet, so it wasn’t too bad. My second semester was definitely more stressful. I worked about 40-50 hours a week while taking 14 credits and one of those classes required much more time involvement than I was able to give. I had not received any scholarships but that was on my own account because I failed to fill out any except for the occasional four or five. I was busy my senior year of high school and I figured, what are the odds of me being the winner of a scholarship anyways? I was wrong in many ways.

Scholarships, grants and loans can really help someone who is motivated to go through the challenge of college. My parents had told me that loans are bad because it causes so much debt after
college and to steer clear of them. My parents believe that if I work hard at my jobs than I’ll be able to go to college without having to pursue any loans. My second semester of college I took out a small amount loan to help with the rest of my tuition that FAFSA didn’t cover. Without the loan I would not have been able to take those classes that second semester.

After my first year of college, I realized I needed to reconsider the way I saw college. I started to use a scholarship generator and realized how fast and easy it can be to apply for scholarships. Not all are easy but if all it takes is five minutes for five different scholarships, than that is one step closer for my name to be picked. As for the other scholarships that require essays, I figured I am good at writing and if I want to have the education I desire, than I would need to make the time for those essays. In the meantime, the loans will help me to get to that higher education that I desire.

Many people are against loans, for instance my parents, because of the debt that follows with it. In my eyes, nothing that is ever worth it ever comes easy. The things in life that we desire and want most, comes as a challenge with obstacles. I could have dropped out of college that second semester of my freshman year and could have completely changed my life goals, but my passion and determination was too proud to consider that option. So I chose a small amount loan which helped me take the classes I needed and continue my college career. I understand that with loans comes debt, but I also understand that the higher education I am working towards will be prosperous and worth the challenge that it will take to get there, and that is what matters most.

Thank you Danielle for sharing Student Loans, When Your Parents Say No but the Tuition Says Yes. While I agree that loans may be needed to fill in the gap, if you combine that with hard work I believe you will succeed. Best of luck to you.

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Loans are not your friend!


Are you the first high school graduate that went to college in your family? Did you come from a minority family that can’t afford to pay for you to go to college? Not only can they not pay for college, but they never went to college themselves so they can’t even give you advice on tips and best practices for you to use when it comes to paying for college. Or are you someone that just needs advice on how to pay for college? You’ve come to the right place, because I’m here to help!
When I graduated from high school the only thing I was told was that I needed to go to college. I knew how to apply but I never knew what it would take to be a successful college student. My parents never told me that while I was in high school if I got good grades I would get money from the government that goes toward my college tuition. If I had known that, I would’ve worked a lot harder to get those A’s!

The hardest part about going to college is paying for it, especially when you are unaware of all the free money that’s out there for you! Student loans are not the answer! I am 30,000 in debt from student loans (not including interest) because I didn’t have anyone to tell me that if I got good grades in high school I would get free money every year for it. I went to district schools with low income families where the teachers didn’t care about students, because to them we weren’t going to succeed anyway. None of my teachers or family told me to apply for every scholarship out there that I could find.

I don’t think it would be easy for anyone to go through a 4 year university without taking out any loans, but I do believe if you’re smart about the loans you choose to take out then you won’t have to use much. For example, if you are a few hundred dollars short for a class on your financial aid, don’t take out a loan to cover that because it’ll only double by the time you pay it. If you can afford it you should go ahead and pay it with cash or set up payment arrangements with your schools financial aid office.

If you’re a student that is still in high school, know that you will get a certain amount of money for every A and B that you get until you graduate, so work a little harder and strive for the honor roll. Also if your school offers college credit courses TAKE THEM! There is nothing better than getting to take a free college course now when you’re going to have to pay for it if you take it later.

If you’re already in college and you’re having a hard time paying your bills or feel you just need extra money, don’t result to student loans. I can assure you that you will regret it. Get a part time job if you can and try to manage with that income.

If you follow these tips, you are already a few steps ahead of other people. Now all you have to do is keep these tips in mind when schools are offering to give you student loans. Remember, loans are NOT you friend! Grants and scholarships are! Good luck.

Thanks Jessica for sharing Loans are not your friend! I agree that loans should be a last resort when paying for college, and scholarships and grants will be a better choice. Good grades are always required! Good luck to you.

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Loans: The Necessary Evil

by John
(New Boston, MI)

College is an expensive endeavor no matter what age, ethnicity, or tax bracket you happen to be in. The staggering price tag of today's education can be a very intimidating thing. Luckily there is many solutions to this issue and they are available for everyone.

I personally am a 23 year old male who is looking at going back to school. I went to college straight out of high school at the age of 18 but had to drop out a year and a half into my program due to some personal reasons. This left me with about $37,000 of student loan debt. Mixed between federal loans and my good old buddy Sallie Mae. My parents are not wealthy people so I have been on my own from the start. They helped me the best they could and co-signed on all my loans with me back then. Now that I'm looking at going back to school 5 years later, I am still left with $27,000 in loans from my previous go around which really kills me in the financial aid department.

To mention that over the last 5 years I have had a very difficult time keeping up with the 12% interest rate. This time around I'm going for the "pay for school out of pocket" approach. So far it's just as difficult. Due to a recent divorce and terrible marriage, I'm also working to pay off many other debts along with a terrible credit score. I have a lot going against me when it comes to getting loans for school.

So here is my advice for all of you. My first time around is when I should have been doing this method. I had a part time job that would've paid a good portion of my expenses alongside my loans. I encourage all college students to find a way to start paying off your loans while you're still in school. If you're going the Sallie Mae route then your loans are in deferment up until 6 months after you stop going to school. Pay those as quickly as possible before they start accruing interest. If you have parents or other people who are willing to help you then I would avoid Sallie Mae all together. Go the private route i.e. banks, credit unions, grandma etc. You'll get a much better interest rate for sure and they tend to work with you better.

I was unemployed and on unemployment for a while and it was hell trying to get Sallie Mae to put my loans on hardship deferment. I honestly wouldn't wish Sallie Mae loans on my worst enemy. Now with that being said, if you do have to go the Sallie Mae route, pay them off as quickly as possible. What's the best way to do that you may as? Sallie Mae will break your loans down into subsidized and unsubsidized loans. You will end up with multiple loans through out your college career if you're going this route. Now, the main difference between subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans is that the federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans during periods of authorized deferment, such as the in-school and economic hardship deferments, while the interest remains the responsibility of the borrower on an unsubsidized loan. In other words, do all that you can to avoid unsubsidized loans. If you can't though, use that part time job I was talking about to pay them off before your subsidized loans come out of deferment.

Also, be sure to review your loan amounts. You may end up, like me, with some rather oddly small loans. As in a $350 or $400 loan next to a $2000.00 loan. Pay off the small ones as soon as possible and make the minimum payments on the big ones. That will stop the principal on the $2000.00 dollar loan from going up on you while that $400 loan disappears forever. This brings the total principal down much faster.

With all this being said, the biggest piece of advice I can give to you is keep your head up. The most frustrating part of college is not the test and endless papers you have to write. It's the piling debt that you know you'll be facing when you graduate. As long as you keep your head up and keep a good attitude that everything is going to be alright in the end then trust me it will be. If you break down and give up then you end up only paying of $10,000 in loans in 5 years like me. Now I'm taking my own advice and going back to school and doing everything the hard way; but you won't see me complaining. Now get out there and give them hell!

Thanks John for sharing Loans: The Necessary Evil. It sounds like you learned some hard lessons. $37,000 of loan debt for the first year and half of college is very difficult to overcome. A community college might have been a better choice, or did you make full use of all the options available through FAFSA? Thanks for sharing so others can learn from your experience. Best of luck to you.

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