Anyone know anything about financial aid options?

Basically:

  1. Non-traditional student.
  2. State college (community doesn’t have desired major. Who doesn’t have a bio major??)
  3. Bad credit record.
  4. No job at this point this year. Half year employment last year.
  5. One student loan in re-payment. No student loans defaulted (currently).
  6. Probably no co-signor, maybe.
  7. Non-veteran.
  8. Non-disabled.
  9. No children.
  10. Got Pell grant over 10 years ago. Possibly another grant. Can’t remember.

So, I’m having a really hard time figuring out how to come up with about $6k per year in financial aid. Loans, grants, scholarships - doesn’t matter.

Anyone here able to guide me in the right direction?

Have you filled out a FAFSA? Have you talked to your financial aid office?

You should be able to get Stafford Loans, they are issued without regard to credit ratings.

There is someone on the Dope who is/was a college financial aid counsellor, but I can’t remember who! Damnit!

The user Translucent Daydream is a financial aid counselor.

Thank you both.

I actually think I figured out a way to do this without getting further into unnecessary debt.

I was letting the fact that the community college didn’t have a Biology major deter me. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t start out there and then transfer. I’m kind of embarrassed that it took me so long to figure that out.

If I figured this correctly, my worker’s comp settlement could pay for about a year and half of community college, including books. I have 3 classes to transfer so I’d only need enough to cover about 3 classes and I’d have time to figure out the next 2 years at state college.

I need to confirm some things with the community college but if they’ll take my 3 courses (the state college requires 12 credits to transfer but I think the community college is 9), I should be able to do it without having to retake 2 English courses and American History (I hope I don’t have to repeat that one).

Your posts indicate that you may be more likely to take advice from the SDMB than you should. This site is a marvelous source of information, education, guidance, and edifcation. But your best bet is to go face to face with someone who can evaluate your specific situation and someone that you can ask questions of as they arise. That’s what the financial advisers are for in college. That’s their job - to see if they can get you into the school somehow; meaning - see if there’s a way to extract tuition from you, or a valuable proxy, such as your spectacular presence, itself. (Can you dunk?) Get thee to a counselor and lay it all out there.

CC - Thank you for your concern. Not to worry. I was looking for fast information because I was being forced into a Girl’s Night Out to fix Congodwarf’s education problem. I wanted proof that I was doing my own part in the process. I wasn’t expecting to figure it out on the drive there. My friends were impressed with what I came up with so we ended up only spending about 5 minutes discussing it. The fact that I don’t actually need $6k per year helped.

I am actually calling the college as soon as I post this.

Feel free to close this thread if you like.

Obviously this is a highly individualized question, but the promise of easily transferring credit from a community college to a better institution often doesn’t live up to the hype. Also, the quality of education and opportunities in research may be significantly better at an actual university compared to a community college. $6,000/year really doesn’t sound expensive for a university degree. I would fully explore the options offered by the financial aid experts at that institution before, “settling,” on courses at the local community college.

Also, fully explore the probability of getting full credit for your work at a community college, etc.

Many states are offering grants for folks who are unemployed to return to school. You can probably learn about this through the website for your state’s unemployment office. To qualify in my state, you need to sign up with the state before you enroll in classes to get the money.

I’d have to talk to the Unemployment people about this. I am not eligible for unemployment in MA (to my knowledge). But, if they’d give me financial help for college, I’d very much appreciate it.

I’ll add this to my list of things to check out on Monday.
threemae: Thanks for the input. I did some checking today (I visited the CC campus). Apparently they consider 4 courses to be full time. When I went to state college 12 years ago, full time was 6 courses. If the state college tuition is still for 12 courses per year, it is actually only about $1000 more expensive than the CC (also at 12 per year) so it would kind of be pointless to go to the CC first just to save $1000. The only problem would be the requirement of at least 12 credits for transfer and I only have 9.

They also told me that I have to find out what classes I could take that would be transferable to the state college. For some reason, I thought the advisor would be able to tell me this but apparently not.

So, on Monday, I’m going to call the state college to ask them some questions. Basically, if their $6500/year tuition is for 12 courses, and whether or not taking 1 three credit course at the CC this summer will allow me to make a total of 12 credits to transfer. I really don’t want to lose those 9 credits. Not only do I really hate the idea of taking the classes again (they were boring), the college they came from was extremely expensive and I’d hate to have wasted all that money. I’ve never tried to transfer credits before so I’m not sure how it works.

Also, I haven’t been to the CC campus in 12 years and it has changed so much since I was last there. I have a lot of warm fuzzy feelings about the place because I practically grew up there (my mom graduated when I was 8). It doesn’t look or feel anything like it used to and I felt kind of sad being there. If I’m going to have negative feelings about a campus, I might as well go back to the same state college that I didn’t like the first time around.
I do have one new question though. I decided to fill out the FAFSA just for the hell of it. Just because I will have the money for my tuition doesn’t mean I have to use it all. I’m stuck on the first page though.

The question is -

Have you lived in Massachusetts for at least 5 years?

It seems like such a simple question but it’s really not. I have actually lived in MA for 27.5 of my 30 years. But, I was gone for 2 years and I’ve only been back since September. Does this count as a yes for 5 years? Or, do they mean the 5 most recent years?

It doesn’t have an explanation? Or a worksheet or a FAQ on the fafsa.ed.gov website, explaining how to answer that question? I’m stumped, my personal, non expert opinion is to answer “no” I would read that as “the last 5 consecutive years”-- it will probably prompt further questions to determine if you are eligible for in-state status, since what you pay in tuition or expect to pay figures into your need for aid.

That is absolutely a unqualified wild-ass guess though.

I read the explanation for the question over and over and I still wasn’t sure so I just put yes. If they question it, I’ll be happy to explain why I said yes.