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JLeslie's avatar

Did you apply for student loans just because you could?

Asked by JLeslie (46155 points ) October 19th, 2011

Or, if your parents had you apply even though they could have probably afforded your education outright.

I am just curious how many people prefer to get a loan, just because it simply is available to them, and why the person who does it prefers this course of action.

I thought of the question because we are talking about forgiving student loans on another Q, and the answers have wandered a little talking about tuition costs, and how some state schools are still rather reasonable.

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13 Answers

phaedryx's avatar

No, my parents didn’t pay for anything. They couldn’t have afforded it.

I got through college on a combination of scholarships, student loans and part-time jobs.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I got a loan because there’s no other way to pay for it. My parents have money, but refuse to pay for it, so I had to wait until I was 24 to stop putting them on my FAFSA and qualify for loans.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I was under the impression that no one could get a loan “just because”, since you have to prove financial need of loans in order to get them.

syz's avatar

Nope. I had a partial scholarship and I worked 2–3 part time jobs during my entire 5+ year college career. I graduated with no debt.

mrrich724's avatar

I paid for my education in student loans. I valued being able to get the “college experience” and focus on enjoying the education, and just doing things like relaxing at the reservation on weekends and go kayaking instead of going to work. To me, getting my education was the work part of it (passing classes).

Not sure where the concept came from to me, but I knew I’d be spending a significant portion of my life after college doing the 9 – 5, so I was in no rush to join the workforce at the expense of other opportunities you can only get in college. My junior and senior year I worked a few hours a week at the HR department of my university for the resume experience, as that’s good to have going out into the real world upon graduation. And through college I did other stuff (rolling burritos) but never for more than a couple months at a time.

My grandma paid my cellphone bill b/c she wanted a way to be in touch with me, and I didn’t value the cell phone at the time, so if she didn’t I wouldn’t have bothered to pay a cell bill, but I paid for my food, housing, gas, etc through student loans.

And to this day, even with my automatic deductions every month for the loan, I think it was wholly worth it.

I also used grants and scholarships to help, but a majority of my expenses were loans b/c my parents were considered to be too-high earners for me to deserve more scholarship. . . but my dad was actually my step-dad who didn’t value education b/c he didn’t have one, so he wasn’t going to help pay, and my mom passed away during my freshman year, so it was on me!

muppetish's avatar

My entire undergraduate career was completely paid for through Cal Grant and financial aid from my school. So I graduated with zero dollars in debt. Now that the tuiton for the CSU campuses has been jacked up, I have to pay $220 a quarter out of my own pocket, but the rest is still covered through financial aid. There is no point in me taking out a loan I know I will not be able to pay back. My parents certainly cannot afford to contribute (we’re in serious debt at home) and I am only willing to work part-time since I am a full-time student.

I have been informed that if a school isn’t willing to pay the majority of your tuition as a Phd student (and hire you part-time as a student teacher) then it is not worth doing. I’m prepared to need a loan for doctoral study if necessary, but I hope that this can be avoided as well.

That said, I have also lived at home and commute by bus. I know most people would go crazy having to do that, but it saved me a ton of money. I still have a good chunk of my financial aid in my bank account in case of emergency.

mrrich724's avatar

@muppetish you bring up a good point about commuting by bus. I wouldn’t have considered it then, but after living in LA for two years, where bus was pretty much necessary if you wanted to get anywhere without going ABSOLUTELY NUTS, I look back and wished I did the bus thing alot more in college. It’s not so bad and it would have saved me lots of cash, AND hassle from fighting with other students over the legendary (and rare) “student parking spot.” LOL

Also, it depends what your PhD is in that the “worth it” aspect comes in to play. Some PhD’s commit you to a life of destitution, while some get you 500k a year!

tedd's avatar

I applied for them because my parents had literally no money to offer me. I attempted to maintain a part time job (at UPS, they had tuition assistance) and go to classes for one quarter, and it saw my grades plummet. My mom made enough money that I didn’t qualify for much in the way of government assistance, other than loans that capped out at around $2500 a year (not enough for one quarter).

Student loans via private banks was the only option I had if I wanted an education.

lonelydragon's avatar

Like @Aethelflaed, I can’t imagine anyone applying for loans “just because I can”. First, applicants have to prove financial need. Second, being saddled with 10 + years of debt isn’t something that most people would take lightly.

I had grants, scholarships, student assistantships, and pretty much any other kind of “ship” that would help me get through school. But even those didn’t completely cover the cost, hence the need for a loan.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks for all the stories.

I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my wording. I have no idea how the student loan process works, or how to qualify.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. I needed it. Plus, I worked 30 hours a week and I was still a poor, struggling student.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@JLeslie You fill out the FAFSA, in which you put your financial information on it (tax returns, if you have dependents, if you have to pay alimony, etc) as well as your parent’s info if you’re under 24, and spouse’s financial info if you’re married. The government then decides what your EFC (estimated family contribution) should be based upon that info, and then whatever portion of your tuition is not covered by your EFC you can get (public) loans for. Private loans don’t take into account EFC as much, however, either way you can only take out in loans, both public and private, the COA (cost of attendance). So, for example, if my school says that the total COA (tuition, fees, transportation, living expenses, room and board, etc) is $18k a semester, and I get $10k in federal loans, then I can only get an additional $8k in private loans.

I know a lot of students that don’t get enough financial aid, because of how much money their parents make. One woman’s parents are expected to give 1/7th of their annual income to her tuition. Many parents technically earn a lot, but then have to give almost all of it to paying off debt (often medical bills), but that isn’t counted in, so even though they really only bring home (for example) 20k, they’re expected to contribute like they were bringing home 150k.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelflaed So financial aid means loan? Is that right? Not to be confused with a scholarship or grant. Just trying to get the lingo down.

So, it seems to me the government assumes parents will help pay for their children’s education. While some parents don’t take on that responsibility even when they can.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@JLeslie Oh, sorry. Financial aid means loans, grants, and scholarships combined. But loans and scholarships often only take up a small percentage of the cost, so it often equates to loans to certain degree.

Yes, the government assumes parents will pay for a student’s education. There are a couple ways around it, but it involves either being married, or having documented (by police/child services – not therapists) cases of severe abuse. I think maybe being in the military is another work-around, but I can’t quite remember.

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