(Closed) Incoming College Freshman – 10k loan first year?

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 3
358 posts
Helper bee

That sounds like alot of money.  My biggest advice would be to take all the general education classes at a community college in town that will be way less expensive and will still transfer for your degree.  

Post # 4
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I would recommend bartending or working in a bar – tips tips tips!  A friend of mine had a sweet gig as a nanny/mothers helper for a single mom who worked night shift – basically she just had to be there when the kids were sleeping, so then she could study and stuff.  If you could find a job like that it would be amazing.  Another friend worked at a coffee shop on campus so she had free coffee and could just go to work from class and be around other students.  I had a job also doing fund raising for the university I was at, basically I just had to make calls and answer phones while I studied.  Look on campus for opportunities.

Its pretty manageable to work part time if you use your time well if you only have 15 hours per week of class.

Pay off those loans as fast as you can – you could maybe use your grant for the first semester, save up and then pay with your earnings from the first semester for second semester tuition and take out less loan money.  Live frugally, don’t go overboard with spending even though its tempting.  Apply for any other scholarships you see coming up.  Give up driving if you can – use public transit.  Being vegetarian is cheaper than eating meat.

Its also pretty hard to study in a dorm, so you have to be very self-disciplined.  Find a spot on campus in the library or something to do your homework, its much easier when people aren’t knocking on the door wanting to party.  

Good luck!  Any questions, lemme know!  

Post # 5
959 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@ash064: Agreed in taking your necessary college courses at a community college and then transfer.

When I went to college I barely recieved any financial aid due to my parents’ combined income. My parents paid the remaining sum of my tuition for my first semester. It was a small amount but I felt terrible of having them pay for it. I spent my first semester stalking the scholarships available at my school and made sure I had a high enough GPA to attain one. I had no problem getting a scholarship which payed my tuition my first two years. Afterwards, I spent some time getting at my school’s financial aid office and learned about the grants my school had. Basically, these grants were free money which the school had and would give to students in need. I applied for grants every semester to cover my books and never had to repay a cent back since it was free money. Outside of the scholarships and grants from my school, I applied to scholarships from Fastweb.com and recieved a few scholarship money from there as well. 

My biggest expense aside from tuition were my books since I was a commuter student. I leanred to sell my books on used book sites or back to my school and I would purchase used book from students or even rent my books at Chegg.com. My sister in-law rents all her books from there for her nursing program. 

Post # 6
2457 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@ash064:  +1

@bella128: +1

Take it from someone who has $75k in loans – go to a junior college first. True, you don’t get the “dorm experience,” but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. (I worked a lot in school, so I was never around the dorm – which means I missed all the activities. They force you to get a meal plan, which I never got to use since I could never be on campus. What a waste!) It’s much more worth it to spend less money on your education in the beginning – especially when it will be the same education you’d get at the bigger school. 

Take out as little as you can in loans, if you can. I’ll be paying mine for the next 15-20 years. I spend more than $800/month JUST in loans. I’m lucky that I can afford it, because I have a good job, but nearly everyone else that I graduated with has had to defer or default on their loans because they can’t pay them.

I don’t say this to scare you, so I’m sorry if that’s how it’s coming across, I’m just giving you advice I wish I’d gotten before I went to college. ๐Ÿ™‚

As for working while in school, yes! Part-time is definitely doable. I worked 40+ hours a week in college, with a full classload (which I don’t recommend) but that’s how I paid my bills! Part-time work is a fantastic idea, and I think you should definitely do it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it really helps to round people out, in general, and more students should do it. ๐Ÿ™‚



Post # 7
3276 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Take lots of summer classes!! I’m graduating U of I in a science major a year early because of summer classes and saving 40k! I wouldn’t work more than 20 hours if you want decent grades (3.5+ gpa), and most loans won’t have you pay it back until after graduating so that’s good. My best friends are bartenders at Mizzou making tonsss of cash and have straight As in the nursing program, so I suggest that!

Post # 8
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I would not work your first semester.  College can be a huge adjustment, and you need to figure out how difficult it will be for you to balance everything.  

Post # 9
3092 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Check locally for scholarships…like Elks Club kind of thing…I can’t remember who I got scholarships from but a bunch of local organizations…Women’s Club or something.

Post # 10
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Live in the dorms if you can, especially your first year – it will help SO much with the social aspect of college. Luckily, Missouri is a mad cheap place to live (compared to say NYU or UC Berkeley, etc etc) so even once you live off campus, it shouldn’t require a ton of extra loans. Definitely try and pay a little on your loans if you can during the year. Are they subsidized? If not, I would try and at least pay interest while in school!

Post # 11
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’ll also echo the take your gen eds at a community college; spend your first two years there, live at home, and keep working. I took 12-15 credits a semester and worked 30+ hours a week all through college. It’s fine. 

THEN transfer. Get whatever grants and scholarships you can; my uni had a transfer scholarship (not much, but anything helps). I never lived in dorms (gross), and did live farther away from campus in a nicer area, so I had gas and stuff to worry about, but my uni has lots of nice and some less than perfect apartments to live within walking distance, plus a bus system. 

Post # 12
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

Well, the one thing I have to warn you is that once you hit Junior year, the tuition cost increases quite a bit.  I had to take out loans for school and the loan for my senior year was nearly double what I had to take out my freshman year-just something to take into consideration.


Post # 13
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@gonzzz:  That is an expensive State school!  To give you some perspective, University of Florida is well under $10K for in-state tuition.

The best thing I ever did was graduate from undergrad with zero loans.  10K may not seem like a big deal now but trust me, if somehting happens and you lose your scholarship, you will need to take out $20K loans to cover tuition.

I agree with PPs that you might want to do your Gen-Eds at a local community college and then transfer to Mizzou after you obtain your AA.  It’s cheaper and you most likely wouldn’t have to take out loans.

As for social advice, join a few clubs or a sorority if that’s your thing.  Clubs have GPA requirements so they usually have test banks and know how to use university resources for tutoring.  Being part of a club also encourages you to be on campus and to participate in campus activities like Homecoming.  Finally, they offer you an immediate resource to tap into for lifelong friendships and major buddies to take classes with.

Post # 14
3230 posts
Sugar bee

@gonzzz:  I honestly feel like a community college is not the same as a university education when comparing my education for the first two years to my older sister’s. It is a good idea though if your big concern is finances.

Here’s my story: I went to a mid-sized state university, I did not accept every single student loan offered to me, I lived on campus, did not go out that often (maybe once a week), did not go on fancy spring break trips, worked 10-20 hours a week, ate based on my on campus meal plan, drank water (buying drinks in the cafeteria at $1.50 a piece or more eats away at your meal plan), did not resort to vending machines, applied for a ton of scholarships while in college for the next year, moved back home for my final semester which was my student teaching to save money on campus housing (a total drag but worth it), and studied hard. I had an overall great college experience though with lots of friends and fun. I came out with $2k in student loans which were paid off within a few months after landing a job teaching high school. I lived at home my first year as well after college to pay everything off including an unfortunate credit card balance of a bit over $1k and saving for a car.

I am now 27 years old. I have changed careers twice already (darn economy). My brand new car (a 2009 Corolla bought in 2008) is paid off, I have no student loans, I have $0 credit card debt, various retirement accounts, and I currently only have around $3k in savings due to paying for this wedding. In about 2 years, my FH and I want to buy a house so that will be our big joint debt. He has around $1.5k in credit card debt to pay off and a $290/month car loan each month.

I don’t regret any decisions I made. Yes, I could have taken out more loans and had much, much more fun in college, but I didn’t miss out on anything. Although I would love to have more money saved and a higher wage (I had to take a severe paycut to move where my FH found a job), I am very comfortable with my current financial situation.

Post # 15
4495 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@MRSsrm85:  +1. I agree that CC courses are not nearly the same as at a university. I think doing your first two years at a CC is fine, but if you decide to do that I would do some research in regard to your intended major. For instance, I was pre-med all throughout college (I went to a university the whole time, but took some CC classes during the summer) and med schools look down upon taking ANY of your science courses at a CC. Many times they require you to retake that course at a university and then reapply the next year. It is very rare that they will accept those courses to fill the prereq requirements. I took my precalc course at a CC and when I took Calc 1 at my university I did not feel well prepared at all. Although I think it would have been fine to take unrelated courses at the CC (history, english etc). This issue might not even apply to your major, but its something I would definitely look into if you go that route.

That being said, I am sure you are not interested in going to a CC despite the financial benefits of it. Mizzou is a huge, fun school so its understandable that you are super excited. I went to The University of Texas, so I understand the appeal of going right into that powerhouse school environment. If you are set on doing all 4  years there I would definitely get a job and apply to every scholarship you see. Seriously, I got a few bigs ones but I got a TON of little ones – only because I think a lot of people didn’t even apply to them. I got little ones here and there for stupid 3 page essays I wrote, but hey they paid for my books. I also got lots of money in grants through the FAFSA. I was an out of state student and left school with about $65k in loans. It sucks, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way and now I have a great job and am comfortably paying off my education.

Also, if you become a dorm RA after your first year you typically get free board for the entire year! Thats how it worked at my school anyway. Totally worth it if you’re willing to live in the dorms for all 4 years.

Post # 16
839 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@gonzzz:  first of all, M-I-Z!! A fellow Missouri girl, here! 


It all depends on when your classes are. to work 20 hours a week, you’ll need to take all your classes back to back in the morning. Don’t spread them out with a lot of breaks in between. It will suck, but it’s doable.

I would also agree with PPs that taking your gen Ed’s at a CC will save you a ton of money, and they are pretty likely to transfer to Mizzou. 

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