I recently received an email from a single mom who is stressed out about how she is going to afford college. I wanted to share her email and solicit suggestions from you. I have my own ideas, but I’ll hold onto them for the next post.
I always love to read the suggestions from my readers so if you have any thoughts, please share your ideas in the comment box below. Thanks. Lynn O’Shaughnessy
I am a 57 year old single parent with an annual salary of $51,000, $35,0000 in savings, $37,0000 in a 529 plan and $2,500 in annual 401k contributions.
After researching where we might land with our Expected Family Contribution and financial aid, it appears that my past savings diligence will work against chances for decent EFC and grant aid dollars for my daughter’s education.
Staying in California for College
We live in the Bay Area and my daughter wants to attend college in CA only. So far she has held a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and has been active on the track and dance teams for 3 years.
Although not entirely decided, she’s voiced interest in teaching at the elementary or secondary level so we are currently concentrating on a few of the Cal State universities (Sonoma, San Diego, Northridge, Long Beach), University of California, iRiverside and University of La Verne where they offer teacher credentialing programs.
I’m looking at cost of attendance between $22,000-52,000. Further, pursuing a degree and a teaching credential could stretch college to 5-6 years putting total COA somewhere between $110,000-260,000+. I’m gasping.
A $7,500 Expected Family Contribution
I’m looking at an EFC around $7,500+ and already envision financial award letters that will primarily consist of loans and out-of-pocket payouts. I don’t want myself or my daughter to go into debt that will take a decade or two to overcome. We can pursue scholarships, but it seems most aid and awards are attained a year at a time leaving an expense guessing game for the years that follow.
I’m struggling with how we could possibly admit to 4 or 6 year college enrollment with just a 1-year aid package in front of us. With California education budgets as they are, doesn’t it just make dollar-wise sense to start at community college first? It’s like a hole is dug before we’ve broken any ground.
Your thoughts are appreciated.