I was notified late that I have a spot for nursing school this Fall. I just filed my FAFSA May 1, 2005, and I haven't heard from my school yet. It will literally be a week or 2 before school starts before I know if I can go. I can't get a cal grant (I'm in CA), because I have a B.A. SO, any and all financial aid I get will be in the form of a fee waiver at my school and loans.
I also have 6 kids, 4 of whom attend private schools, 1 who is in free gov't preschool, and the baby who costs me SO MUCH in childcare. I don't think I'll be able to handle work and be a mom to them too at least the first semester. I am going to take any and all loans I can and beg for mercy at their schools. Subsidized, unsubsidized, and alternative. Then I plan on having a steady loan payment for years and years. Luckily, we have no other debt right now, but I'm not even sure the amount of money I need will be available to me in loans. If figure the first year I may need up to $10,000. Next year I will have a head start and hopefully get some scholarship money.
Subsidized student loans are not dependent on your credit rating. I think that may be true also for unsubsidized ones that are part of your financial aid package. Alternative loans are normal bank loans and if, like me, your credit ain't so good, you need a cosigner. The nice thing about student loans is they have low interest rates and you can make low monthly payments. If you get a job with a sign-on bonus or loan forgiveness program, you can take a big chunk out of your post-graduation debt there too. I think it's worth it for me, because my financial future isn't too rosy unless I do something drastic. But for others it may not be worth it.