(Closed) How did you survive financially during college?

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 44
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I graduated last year, but I went through high water to pay for school. I had student loans, two jobs, and grants (until my mom got married and they disappeared), living with crappy roommates, and bargaining with my landlord. Now that I’m going back to school part-time to finish up some prereqs, and my FH is in school as well, we just budget. We both work full time, but if I get accepted into a nursing program, I’ll be unemployed. So it will be back to loans and grants for me!

If you can, apply for an EBT card (equivalent to food stamps). It might not sound appealing, but in California, they can give you around $500 a month for food. Every little penny helps!

Post # 45
Member
1408 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I went to school full time-taking at least 15 hours a semester…tried to take 6 hours during both summer 1 and 2 (12hrs for the whole summer), and when I had some extra time I took correspondence courses (which were very similar to online classes…you do them in your own time and they were cheaper than regular classes) through my college. It got me out of school in 3.5 years for a 5 year program.

I lived off of my paycheck from working as a server during the evening and relied on school loans, grants, and scholarships to pay for my classes/books. I’m owe about $20,000 in school loans now, but since I’m now able to get a decent job I’m hoping to have that paid off within the next 2-3 years.

Post # 46
Member
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Student loans, on campus jobs, and living in cheap housing/ apartment.

I was lucky too because my parents paid my cell phone bill, insurance, etc., but I did it all on my own, with no stipend from them or anything. 

Post # 47
Member
12 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I waitressed 4-5 days per week and rented super cheap (sometimes crappy) apartments with friends/roommates.  My rent was never above $300 and those various apartments were sometimes hard to find. But where there’s a will there’s a way!  I also worked on campus, which didn’t pay much but was really convenient to schedule work around classes.  The best advice I have is find a waitressing job at a fancy restaurant or a somewhat trendy place that’s really busy.  The perks of waitressing are you usually eat free or inexpensively. 

Also I had loans and grants for school so I didn’t have to pay anything until 6 months after graduation. 

Post # 48
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Scholarships (mostly) and loans for tuition, room and board (lived on campus all 4 years, which is the norm for the school I went to).  My first year, my mom would give me a little spending money once in a while, but then I started tutoring and eventually worked for one of the school newspapers for extra spending money.  Oh, and I had internships every summer, so I was able to save a lot of money from that and use it for any shopping/going out money.

Luckily I had a lot of money from scholarships, so my loan amounts were not as huge as they could have been (and they’re all paid off now!).

Post # 49
Member
550 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Undergrad: 60% scholarships, 20% loans, 10% my parents, 10% me
My parents had a rule that after our financial aid, they would pay half, and we were each responsible for paying half. Because I didn’t want to work during the school year, I worked my butt off during the summers. I waitressed about 60 hours a week at a restaurant in my hometown, making about $5000 a summer.  I was extremely fortunate, and my uncle gave me spending money so that I wouldn’t have to have a parttime job during the school year, because it was his biggest regret from his college years (he attended the same school).  I would love to be able to pay that forward someday. 

Grad school: 20% savings (worked fulltime 1 year before grad school), 5% scholarships, 70% loans, 5% working parttime
During grad school, I worked a hodgepodge of part-time jobs (teaching assistant, research assistant, filing in the admissions office, then finally a paid internship in my field).  Basically, I made barely enough to pay for my rent and food.  I took out loans to pay for almost all of my tuition, plus I was living in a very expensive city.  If I could do it again, I would have attended a public school where I could get in-state tuition, instead of an out of state private school.  My field does not exactly provide a luxurious lifestyle, so I will be paying these loans off for a very long time :

If you don’t already fill out the FAFSA every year, DO IT.  I met someone in grad school who never did, and I couldn’t believe it.  Many schools require you to in order to qualify for grants and scholarships.  I would also recommend going in and talking to the financial aid office at your school.  It might be more affordable for you to attend full-time, because you will be eligible for more federal financial aid (such as the Stafford loans).  The financial aid office might also know of scholarships that you will be eligible to apply for. 

Post # 50
Member
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

My company paid 100% of my tuition, so I worked full time and went to school full time to finish my undergrad (2 years) and grad school full time in one year (2-3 classes each 8 week semester).  It was HARD, but I’m so glad I did it…and now I have no student loans.

Post # 51
Member
3230 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

My tuition was covered by loans, books by scholarships, and my room & board was covered by my parents & myself.

Post # 52
Member
601 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I lived at home and managed to find a full-time job where I was able to study – so I was also able to go to school full time. I had a few student loans, but since I lived at home I was able to pay off the bulk of my tuition as I went. It was defnitely a hectic/sleepless time but I’m certainly glad I did it.

Post # 54
Member
7038 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

1. I had a full ride paying for my tuition, books, fees, etc.

2. I worked 20-30 hours a week in a chem lab setting up experiments (made decent money and it added to my resume!)

3. Had high-paying internships during the summer that included housing. Yay NSF!

4. Lived in a really cheap area of the country back then. My rent in TX was $296 for my half of a 1000 sq ft 2-bedroom apartment. God I miss the cheap rent!

Post # 55
Member
7038 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@Tswife4ever: How much they will give you and when you have to pay them back depends on the type of loan. Public vs private, subsidized vs not, etc. The government loans are based on a strict financial need assessment. Private loans (through a bank) are easier to get, but also have a limit. They also tend to have *much* higher interest rates, which can be a real killer! Most student loans let you defer payment until 6 months after you graduate if you are in school full time, but you will probably want to make at least interest payments if possible to keep them from rolling into your balance and creating an even bigger payoff nightmare for you.

Post # 57
Member
550 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@Tswife4ever: I’m going to suggest again that you visit your school’s financial aid office.  They will be able to go over in detail what options are available to you, and explain the application process.  As someone else said, the repayment process for different loans varies, as well as how much you are eligible to take out.  A counselor at your school’s financial aid office will have all of the details for different forms of financial aid that your school offers.  (Sorry, can you tell I used to work in college admissions? I spent a lot of time on the phone telling applicants to call the financial aid office!)

Post # 58
Member
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

One piece of advise that I have for you is to know yourself when making decisions!!! I too worked a TON during school and got decent grades…3.5+.  If I hadn’t worked so much, I probably would have managed a higher GPA…but it wasn’t that important to me.  5 years of sacrifice later and I have a BS, MS and a full-time job 😀

However, hubby tried to match me step for step (not because he wanted but because we needed to work that much to survive).  He is dyslexic and REALLY struggles with school.  Four years later he is one class short of his AA.  However, he did get his certificate for his field and now has a job.  Looking back, I wish that I would have encouraged him to take classes part-time or found a way for us to survive without him working so much. 

Just know that what may work for some of us (taking loans and working a ton) doesn’t work for all of us.  Now that you have an idea of what it may take to graduate more quickly, make the decision that works best for you! 

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