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I was accepted to a university that was my first choice on my list, but it is also the most expensive, should I accepted anyway and worry about cost later?

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The university I was accepted to has a very good criminology department. Most colleges the first 2 years you take the basics than in the last 2 you do your major. But with this college, they start you out immediately with your major. My problem is they were also the most expensive one on my list. I am being raised by my grandmother who does not have the money to help with the cost. Yes, I qualified for financial aid. Haven't been awarded any scholarship yet. I'm worried I will never be able to afford to pay to go to this college, even though I really want to, torn on what to do and how to go about it. #money #solution #college #financial-planning #financial-aid

Yes you should because it’s important to you value is more important and costly then cost! Lathan Sancho
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8 answers

Charles’s Answer

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Victoria,

Congratulations on being accepted to your first choice of a college. Unfortunately finances always come into play. You can get student loans that you'll start paying once you graduate. I'm not sure what the starting salary for a Criminology Major (depending on what you do professionally) makes, but you'll also have rent, car, insurance, utilities, food, etc to pay for as well. So you don't want to get into too much debt coming out of college. With that said, perhaps you could look at other good Criminology Major schools to see if their costs are considerably lower, but still ranked high.


I would also hit any and all scholarship sites and apply for any and all to help pay for school. You could look into Cappex and Niche. Other sites that I have heard students use is ScholarshipZone, Scholarships and StudentScholarships. Another easy to use Scholarship site that has the amount, due date, etc. and easy to find is Scholarships360.


You will also need at least one stellar essay to copy & paste or turn in when submitting for these scholarships. I would suggest spending some time on a possible daily basis applying for any and all that you qualify for. There are so many scholarships that don't get applied for. Plus don't doubt your self worth - if you don't apply, you definitely will not get it.

 

One last thing that I heard from my coworker is that his daughter's school, through her counselor, was able to get a list of scholarships she would qualify for. Some kind of program her high school counselor had access to so she could give her a print out or send electronically all the scholarships she would qualify for, but was up to her to reach out and actually apply for the scholarships. Good Luck!

Charles recommends the following next steps:

  • Look for other colleges that are ranked high in Criminology but have a lower cost
  • Apply for as many scholarships as possible
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Welson’s Answer

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Hi Victoria,

I second Charles’ answer to your question. It’s best to avoid student loan because of the many economic and personal financial factors that turn it into a long-term burden to your financial health.

If after college your debt level keeps growing at a higher rate (6% in most cases) than your savings/investment level (2% in many cases), you will have to wait for a long time (8 to 20 years) after college to be financially fit. That could mean having to wait until you’re 35 or older to own your first home or start a family, if you so desire. Hence the saying, “Those who understand compound interest get it, those who don’t pay for it.” You want to be in the former category.

With that said, most employers won’t care where you obtain your criminology degree, if you gain valuable work experience before they hire you.

So I’d say, go for a more cost-efficient tuition even if you don’t consider the school your top choice, as long as it allows you to land a great internship and potentially a strategic entry level job in your future field. Once you gain experience, your work ethic and reputation should speak for themselves, and in the long run, with a low-to-zero debt burden you’ll start growing wealth sooner rather than later. Remember: compound interest.

Welson recommends the following next steps:

  • Ascertain how much in scholarship or grant you can obtain.
  • If at all you have to have debts, evaluate how long it would take to pay it off upon graduation.
  • Prioritize the school resulting in the least debt burden.
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Sherri’s Answer

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Hi Victoria, congratulations on your acceptance. You may look into asking the University about their transfer of credit policy is. Perhaps you could start at a community college and receive an associate degree and transfer into the university with your general electives completed. It is up to the University’s transfer policy and they should be able to assist.

The necessary steps would be to:

  1. Find a lower cost college that offers an associates degree if your major.
  2. Check with the University you want to really attend about transfer credit policies.
  3. Review the information to see what would be the best options for you.
  4. Continue to look for scholarships.

Best Wishes,


Sherri


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Jodie’s Answer

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Hi Victoria!
Congrats on getting in to your dream school, and GOOD JOB trying to make a responsible decision financially.
The BEST way to finish school is with zero loans! Just like you wouldn't start out buying a Jaguar when you have no money, you don't want $50-$80,000 (or more) in student loans.

Definitely see what the school can offer you for scholarships, or jobs, or grants. Also like Charles said apply for TONS of scholarships. Like, 5 a day. No joke- apply for as many as you can find. Every $500 or $200 or $1000 helps. And it will add up. Do not discount any amount. Get them all! :) Treat scholarship applications as a job right now.

I would recommend applying for some cheaper school options as well, and once you determine how much money you can drum up in scholarships you can decide which school you can afford.

Start applying for scholarships TODAY!

Jodie recommends the following next steps:

  • Here's a blog post on how to pay for college debt-free. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/pay-for-college-without-student-loans
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Ern’s Answer

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Hi Victoria:
I am glad to learn you have been accepted to your university of your choice, Congrats . I think one way to get for more financial aid would be to try to ask the school for further options of support, say being an Research Assistant (RA) or Teaching Assistant (TA). Criminology is a very specific area; it might be beneficial to do a bit of research on how effective the career center from your university is when it comes to landing their students with jobs. Many of my students attend expensive colleges and it’s difficult for them to find a job afterwards, which is one of the way you measure the return of your education after you graduate. It would also be beneficial to get an internship to make sure you pick the right major.

Personally speaking I did not go to an ivy league school and was able to achieve my goals, although it took a lot more on my side such as networking, working at low paying jobs straight out of college and continue to study at the same time. Networking can also make a big difference over time and it can start as soon as you begin your academic career.

Usually an example can help put things in perspective if we add some numbers, say your major is going to cost you $30,000 over the next couple of years plus the interest accruing for the time being, then hopefully your job salary will be somewhere close to 1.5 of your debt, which would have to be. $45,000. However, like Charles’s stated, you need to worry of utilities, car, rent, insurance, food, etc, which are fixed costs since you cannot avoid them. In this model it might be necessary that your future job will cover 2.0 of your debt, say $60,000.

An alternative solution to going to your university of your choice and not worry so much of the burden of debt would be to temporarily go back to one’s parents’ home. It will give you time to focus on the job (without worrying about debt) and potentially help you get rid of debt quicker as you save money on rent, food,etc . Some of my students have used this model and it made a huge difference in both being debt-free and finding what job is best for them.

To sum up, everyone has a different opinion of whether signing on debt is worth the education. There are always different paths to achieve our goal, and although education is an invaluable human capital that we should be eager to earn, we must also take under account the benefit vs the cost.

(P.S.: maybe finish your Bachelor’s degree debt free and when you are ready to earn your Master’s degree in the field you truly want to grow, then debt is likely to play a low factor in your decision).

Suerte;
E.S.

Ern recommends the following next steps:

  • Look for additional source of fundings
  • Compare benefits for costs of debt/free education vs debt education
  • Examine how effective the career department is in your University
  • Is coming back home an option?
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Jodie’s Answer

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Hi Victoria!
Congrats on getting in to your dream school, and GOOD JOB trying to make a responsible decision financially.
The BEST way to finish school is with zero loans!
Just like you wouldn't start out buying a Jaguar when you have no money, you don't want $50-$80,000 in student loans.
Definitely see what the school can offer you for scholarships, or jobs. Also like Charles said apply for TONS of scholarships. Like, 5 a day. No joke- apply for as many as you can find.

Jodie recommends the following next steps:

  • Here's a blog post on how to pay for college debt-free.
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Faith’s Answer

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Hello Victoria,

I am currently a senior in college majoring in Finance. I was brought up in a household where my mom made very little money (living off of disability checks). The best advice I can give you is for you to go to a community college where you can take your basic classes. I understand this school offers you the opportunity to jump right into your major classes, however the basics are important as well. Before you start taking classes at the community school you need to look up "Transfer Equivalency." This is to ensure that your credits will transfer to the other university. If they don't you will have to retake all of your classes which equals more money. Due to the fact that your grandmother makes little money, you will be able to recieve Pell grant which is free money from the government. If you choose to go to a community college, your tuition would be covered with the pell grant.

The typical university expenses:

Tuition (varies on how many credit hours you take a semester)

Meal plan and housing

Textbooks ( Expect to spend anywhere from $100-$500, a semester) NO JOKE!!

School Fees (Athletic fee, residual fee, parking fees, etc)

Faith recommends the following next steps:

  • Apply for Fasfa try to keep a high GPA to qualify for grants and scholarships
  • Work a part time job during the summer and while in school. Budget your money wisely and save for textbooks
  • If you have to take out loans (hopefully not) take out Subsidized loans- they do not accrue interest while in school.
  • Make small payments even if it is $10 towards loans less you will have to worry about when you graduate.
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Robert’s Answer

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Victoria,

Did you know that you can start applying for financial aid in October? Since you are being raised by your grandmother and I am assuming her income is fairly low (<$60k), you may be eligible/qualify for more financial aid and possibly receive a Pell Grant. This grant will help pay for your education and you are not required to pay the amount back. I would suggest going through the process of apply for financial aid and make sure you ‘have all your ducks in a row’. That way you can be fully prepared for October 1st to apply for financial aid.

When it comes to apply and worry about the cost later; that depend on the income trajectory of the profession. Will it start out at a fairly low/median amount, such as $35k to $50k? If so, I would not take out more loans than that starting salary. If I use myself as an example, I was raised by my mother and her income was low enough for me to qualify for the Pell Grant, but I did not know there was such a thing. I waited to do my financial aid at the end of the school year and qualified for the normal direct student loans. I went to an expense, private university and did not worry about the costs. I graduated undergrad with over $100k in student loans. I was working at a dead end job and was making my payments, but needed a change. I went back to that same university and got my master’s degree. I have more debt and am lucky to have found a career that has provided me a good income to cover my education expenses. If you will be on a scheduled pay table, such as government workers and teachers, I would be very cautious of the amount of loans needed to cover your education.

To conclude this extremely long response. You should do a deep dive into your profession. Really understand how everything works, such as pay, promotion, hours, benefits, and perks. If the career you are seeking is more of a 9-5 job, see if you can make money on the side doing something you’re passionate about. You can do this during college, before you are even graduate. One thing a friend of mine did during college was go to the University book store and see what clothes were offered. He found they did not offer the business school t-shirt and he made one. The school paid him and basically covered a full year of tuition. You have time in college to do everything possible to save/pay down your loans. Next, make sure you are prepared to apply for financial aid, again, on October 1st. Have tax returns, social security numbers, everything ready! You will really have to weigh your options and even going to a community college for the first two years to get the basic courses out of the way and then going to your school of choice (even though you have classes for you major in the first year) is a viable option. One thing to do is to talk to that school of choice and see what credits will transfer and get them to write it down/print it out. Make them accountable on their word.

If you would like to discuss further or have additional questions, feel free to reach out!

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