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How can a poor family possibly afford collage

I'm a 17 year old poor Caucasian male who comes from a poor family. I'm trying to go to college but I didn't start think about it till this summer and don't really have the money for it. #college #broke #poor #help #computerscience

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Hannah’s Answer

here are a few considerations and things you can do. before i go further, i should say i'm not a financial advisor or professional advise on these topics - they're just ideas!

- look at public schools (ex.: state schools) versus private schools. in my experience, they usually have more options for financial aid and can be cheaper
- look at schools in florida (i see that's your state). in-school tuition rates are cheaper than out-of-state,
- check out FAFSA and financial aid. this is money awarded to you/your family based on your family's earnings.
- consider going to a community college. people say that your first two years of college are spent on general courses that could be taken elsewhere and be transferred to another school for the last 2 years. you could cut down other costs like room/board by living at home.
- search online for scholarships
- before deciding on a school, look to see if they offer work-study, which is usually a tuition reduction program by you working for the school (ex.: at the library) in exchange for a lower tuition
- get a part time job or internship that pays but make sure it doesn't interfere with your study time
- take out loans. make sure you really look at the terms of the loans though. if you need someone's help with understanding the loan and its interest and payback terms, you prob could post back on here or on reddit for more opinions.
- look into federal education grants (pell grant?) for add'l assistance
- take a gap year; apply and see if you can defer for a month while you work somewhere and save $
- don't apply this year and apply next year. you should def check this though because i know a bunch of people who did gap years or took a break between college and hs but idk when they applied.

i know you didn't ask for this part of my answer but make sure you consider costs of books, travel to campus (ex.: gas, flight, etc.), food, etc.
tiktok should have some hashtags about #collegehacks or something like that. i think i saw some tiktoks about getting textbook pdfs for free on some site or something like that.

edit: forgot to mention that going to college with low funds is NOT IMPOSSIBLE. i didn't come from a rich family but my family was able to send both me and my sister to college full time by using fafsa, grants, etc. we also went to an in-state public school to keep the cost of it down a lot. my sister lived at home and i lived in a dorm but i had to work all of college so that i could ease some of the financial pressure from my family. it is not impossible so please don't make this the only reason not to go. a college degree is extremely useful.

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Angela D.’s Answer

Very important question! I echo Hannah, but in a different order. Absolutely the first thing you need to do with your parents is complete the online FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Please see below for what you’ll need, including a list of 10 schools you wish to attend. The online portal will open on 10/1/2020 (two weeks from now) and you should complete it ASAP. The schools you are applying to will have deadlines as well and may need supporting materials, such as confirmation of your GPA, etc.

Going the community college route for your first two years is quite doable, especially if you’re motivated. I did that, transferred, and not only graduated from the University of California, Irvine magna cum laude, but went on to receive a fellowship to attain my Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My son completed his first two years at a community college and then double majored in biology and genetics at the University of California, Davis and is currently in his final year of residency to become a rural medical doctor. My daughter also received her A.A. degree from a community college. I’m sharing this because we’re two different generations, yet we were successful taking this route. FAFSA was crucial to all three of us. Be prudent about cobbling together scholarships, work study, loans, and part time work outside the college/university.

There are also cost saving strategies just on books alone, such as sharing them with fellow students on a schedule, borrowing books from the college/department/local libraries, used books, online versions to borrow or buy, etc. Living at home can be helpful as long as you’re able to study effectively and get to and from campus without a long commute. With the exception of pizza deals (!), it’s also less expensive and more healthy to make/pack your own meals. That’s where dorm living can be a drawback, as some require the purchase of a meal plan and often you cannot live there year round as the college/university re-purposes the facilities for conferences, retreats, etc. during breaks, summer, etc.

Guidance counselors are also crucial, both at the high school and college levels. Please meet with them regularly and keep on top of course taking sequences, deadlines, goals, etc. They team tag with the Registrar and Financial Aid offices.

Wishing you the very best in your endeavors…stay motivated with your goals in sight…they are achievable! Best, Dr. B


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Bryce’s Answer

Hi Damen,

There are so many ways to get assistance to help you attend college even though it may not seem possible. The first way is to apply for federal financial aid through FAFSA. This should provide a decent amount of assistance and is based on your family income. Federal fincial aid in most cases will not provide enough to cover all of the expenses of college though, so you will also have to look at opportunities provided by the school you are attending. Most schools offer a bunch of scholarship/grant opportunities as well as provide work study programs as well. Lastly, look at things the community or public offer. There are so many scholarships and grants out there from communities or businesses, in which most people know nothing about. Find as many scholarships as you can and apply for them. I hope this helps you in your future and I hope you find the right college for you!

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Ted’s Answer

You're lucky that the price of college is coming down -- or at least, certain schools are figuring out ways of offering a 4-year degree for a fraction of what it used to cost. Competency-based education (CBE) enables learners to learn at their own pace, pay as they go, and take classes from home to save money. This makes it possible to balance the cost and keep your time flexible so you can work while you go to school.


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Bryan’s Answer

I had no financial support from my parents and was paying out of state tuition when I first started college. I had to take 3-4 part time jobs, student loans, and taking community college classes (that can be transferred into my university).