Post # 1
I’m going to try, and keep this short as possible. I attended college in high school, and one semester afterwards. It had been over six years, and I re-enrolled in school, and received my associates of arts in December. Then I transferred to a local private college that is around 20 minutes from my home to pursue my dream career of fashion merchandising.
Now here is the problem. It is very expensive at $822 a credit hour. I don’t make much money right now so I don’t have a lot in my savings account. Right now I am all paid up, and had a tiny bit left over from my aid package. Next year, because I am independent, I will be losing a little of my pell grant. I am also on scholarship, and have to maintain 15 credit hours a semester, and a 3.0. In total I have a $3000 scholarship, qualify for $3100 in pell grant, and $12,500 in federal loans. My total just for classes will be $24660, and I’m coming up 6060 short. There is no way I can pay for my current school without private loans, but I have bad credit.
There is another school that is an hour away from me. It is a lot cheaper at $425 a credit hour. It is a college town, and jobs are hard to come by. I will have to relocate with my FI. I love love love my job right now, but don’t make a lot of money. I hope to have a future with my current company though. FI would have to get another job, and I don’t know if he will make as much money. I need an outside perspective. Would you relocate for the cheaper college? I don’t want to get myself into too much debt, and screw us in the long run. Any advice is appreciated.
Post # 3
@loch_ness: Well is there anyway you could afford your current school at all? The way you presented it, it seems like there is no way you could come up with the money so there’s no choice but to transfer. Would you lose momentum by transferring? (Does the other school require different classes to graduate?)
I had to quit my job when my fiance and I moved 35 min from my job. That doesn’t seem like much but I’m in nursing school and I already drive over 300 mi a week with school so to make that trip twice a week for my two short shifts, it wasn’t worth it. (Plus I couldn’t focus on school very well)
In the end, I would probably relocate because I am terrified of paying off loans for the rest of my life.
Post # 4
Talk to Your financial apropellor. Cry if you have too… Usually they will help, or they. An helP you set up a payment plan. I talked with my school and told them myproblems ( kinda he same as yours) and that money was theloony reason I was considering transferring and they all pushed me through for a Perkins loan and also let me pay them what I can. Since the Other a school is an hour Away you would be spending just as much of not more in gas…
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Post # 5
I would have to take less credit hours, and wait even longer to graduate. My FI was talking about working even more but I don’t want to make him kill himself for my education. I was also going to try, and save a ton of money this summer. I’m just so torn if I should ruin the opportunity with my current job, and relocate. He is also making good money at his job.
Post # 6
I can cry
I mean in all seriousness just thinking about this situation makes me want to cry. I did an obscene amount of math to make sure this didn’t happen, and now it did.
Post # 7
Congrats on getting back in school to persue your dream career! I am in college as well and am having a hard time deciding where to tranfer to next year, so I feel the pressure you’re facing!
It sounds to me like you and your fiance are happy living where you are now. If you both have jobs, and you love your job, it seems like you guys are in a great place right where you are. From how I see it, yes the college you are considering transferring to may be cheaper in tuition costs, but between the cost of relocating and being out of work until you both find new jobs, the difference in tuition costs might be much smaller than it seems. You also have to consider the stresses of credits maybe not transferring, and if moving, beng at a new school, and finding a new job might distract you from doing your best in your classes.
I am in the same position – I can’t transfer from my community college until I buck up and take out a private loan, so I understand being reluctant to get in to debt so soon.
How much longer would you have to be in school until you graduate? A big student loan is definetly not ideal, but if you are your fiance are happy where you are now, I can see how that would really help getting through these next few tough years!
Hope that helps – good luck!!
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
First of all, private colleges often have more discretion when it comes to allocating financial aid. The advice to go see someone in the Financial Aid office is good.
If the aid package doesn’t change, I would drop to part time for a semester or two to sock away some money. If you transfer at all, transfer to a public school locally. The cost of moving might negate the credit hour savings.
Post # 9
If I take less credit hours I will have to be in school for 2.5 more years instead of two years after this semester. My scholarship will be prorated as well. During the 2013-2014 school year I will most likely be able to get my full pell grant back because I am not making much money. But, I don’t want to hold my breath.
@mink The problem is there are no local public schools that offer my major other than the one that is one hour away. That’s why I feel like I either have to move, or stay here.
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
@loch_ness: Here’s the thing about your major: it’s so specific that it can only be applied in one, specific area. Study marketing. Study management. You can apply those principles in the fashion or retail world. If you ever decide to switch fields, they will be far more helpful than a highly specific degree.
“Fashion Merchandising” is not a science in and of itself. It is the application of business principles in a particular industry. You don’t have to have a degree in fashion merchandising to work in fashion merchandising.
I work at a university and I have to have this conversation with high school seniors fairly regularly. Some colleges have created these niche degree programs to rope students in. Right now, there are schools who have tried to capture the “CSI” tide with fun sounding programs. When it comes down to it, the professors are science folks who are applying the pure theory in a specific way.
Ask your professors in the department what their degrees are in. That might be eye opening.
Post # 11
@mink I looked into studying other programs as well. I found that most companies perfer the niche program to the broad ones. Have you had students go into the fashion industry? Like buyers, retail managers, stylists, etc? All of my teachers at my current school went to FIT for fashion merchandising. FIT is the top school in the country for fashion, and all of them had worked in the industry in different fields. If you think I can get into my field without this degree I will look into changing majors, and maybe getting an MBA later on with the money I would be saving. I was thinking of going to go into marketing previously. At least I have the summer to get some research done.
Post # 12
- Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Ask the people at the company where you work what they prefer since you hope to advance there.
Post # 14
I may have skimmed a bit too much, but why do you need to relocate? You said it’s only an hour from you, and that’s not too bad. I used to teach and go to school 40min – an hour (or more if there was snow or traffic) each way, an anhour and 15 min on a good day from my old house. It’s not ideal, but it’s totally do-able. It depends on teh person though. In my experience, housing closer to campuses tends to be more expensive.
Can you talk to the financial aid people where you go to school now? Maybe there are some scholarships that you could apply for.
Which school would you be happier at? Which school do you think has more to offer you? Also, how many of your credits will transfer to the further away school?
Post # 15
Definitely find some time to talk to your FA counselor at your school. I work with initial FA awards, and am somewhat surprised that your Pell/High need eligibility would go down because you are becoming independent. Most often, need goes up when that happens. As mentioned, private colleges typically have institutional grant money, or can help students find ways to “fill the gap.” Most schools want high rentention, and because privates have extra staffing resources, most will take the time to meet with students.
As for your major, I understand your concern about potentially switching to a general business major as well. With our Fashion Merchandising here, a lot of the pros are that students are able to help with the yearly fashion show we host, we have a large network of alums that help students find internships specific to the fashion industry, and professors have specific experience in the fashion field.
It could certainly be done with a general business major, but you would have to be able to take a lot of initative to find your own internships and build connections and get experience in the field. Professors may not have the same helpful insight, and at a public college you usually have to be far, far more of a self-advocate, simply because they do not have the staffing resources a private does. That’s why privates are more expensive.
Good luck! And just a note, I graduated from a public college and loved it and would do it all over again, but work at a private now and have had the opportunity to compare both systems.
Post # 16
Another college counselor/advisor here…
Just because the school is cheaper doesn’t mean that you will receive equal amounts of financial aid. My suggestion would be to apply to every single scholarship you can find. EVERY ONE. It’s a lot of work, but it helps.
My second advice echoes Mink’s advice. You are in a niche field, and no matter what anyone tells you, that’s not helpful. It will be super difficult to find a career in it, and if you want to make a career change down the road (which 80% of adults do), it will be impossible without going back to school.
The best thing you can do is broaden yourself. If you cannot come up with the money, look for programs in marketing or business. Fashion is an extremely hard industry to break in to, and anyone in the field can tell you that the positions are limited. If you are living in a seculded area or if your school does not provide you with internship opportunities, it will be even more of a challenge.