School loan question

  1. I am applying to an accelerated BSN program and need some advice. I am a single homeowner and would be quitting my full-time job to go back to school full-time. Is it better to get a HELOC or go through financial aid at the school to cover living expenses (mortgage and other bills) while I am unemployed for 14 months. I'm curious what other prospective students are doing who are in my situation.
    Thanks!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Kwality
    If you qualify for financial aid, that's a good route because it's grant money that doesn't have to be paid back.
  4. by   Angels'
    Welcome to the AllNurses Forum

    A pre-nursing student,
    Angels’
  5. by   dawn1971
    We are in VERY similar situations! I own my own home, too, am getting my BSN through an accelerated program and quit my job. Since the summer of 2004, I have racked up close to $57,000 in school loans (this amount goes through May 2006, and then I will have 1 more year. I plan to get a part time job soon to offset the cost, but wanted to wait until I could work as a student nurse) and will probably wind up at $70,000, when all is said and done. Please keep in mind that I (as well as my two kids) live off child support and these student loans! Okay... this is what I have learned. First, fill out your FAFSA as soon as you can and apply for aid through your school. DO NOT just take the amount they give/loan you. Certain things can be added to your budget (the school sets your budget), such as mileage, a computer, copies, childcare, ect. They say I am eligible for about $25,000 a year based on these as well as other school expenses (My tuition runs about $5,500 a year). They can not even come close to touching my budget. Because I already have a degree, I am not eligible for Pell grants, they can only give me so much in Stafford and Perkins loans, so I take out private/alternative loans. Most people reccomend to take out these loans PRIOR to quitting you job because 1. it will be easier to get a loan (some places won't loan you money without income or co-signer) 2. you will probably get a lower interest rate 3. Depending on the type of loan, you could get more money than your budget 4. Your credit must be good if you are unemployed!!!

    Sadly, I quit my job prior to applying for aid, but my child support counted as a little bit of income. This limited the amount of places that would loan to me, and I probably got a SLIGHTLY higher interest rate (although I did my homework and it was probably only a 1/4-1/2%). Lastly you have to continually shop around for alternative loans, because their standards change all the time! Someone who gave me my first alternative loan wouldn't give me another 9 months later because I was unemployed, although I was unemployed at the time of the original loan!!!!! One more bit of advice, do a search on this site for financial aid or student loans in past forums. Good luck!
  6. by   Jessy_RN
    Great advice above. Best wishes to you!
  7. by   smile123
    Quote from dawn1971
    We are in VERY similar situations! I own my own home, too, am getting my BSN through an accelerated program and quit my job. Since the summer of 2004, I have racked up close to $57,000 in school loans (this amount goes through May 2006, and then I will have 1 more year. I plan to get a part time job soon to offset the cost, but wanted to wait until I could work as a student nurse) and will probably wind up at $70,000, when all is said and done. Please keep in mind that I (as well as my two kids) live off child support and these student loans! Okay... this is what I have learned. First, fill out your FAFSA as soon as you can and apply for aid through your school. DO NOT just take the amount they give/loan you. Certain things can be added to your budget (the school sets your budget), such as mileage, a computer, copies, childcare, ect. They say I am eligible for about $25,000 a year based on these as well as other school expenses (My tuition runs about $5,500 a year). They can not even come close to touching my budget. Because I already have a degree, I am not eligible for Pell grants, they can only give me so much in Stafford and Perkins loans, so I take out private/alternative loans. Most people reccomend to take out these loans PRIOR to quitting you job because 1. it will be easier to get a loan (some places won't loan you money without income or co-signer) 2. you will probably get a lower interest rate 3. Depending on the type of loan, you could get more money than your budget 4. Your credit must be good if you are unemployed!!!

    Sadly, I quit my job prior to applying for aid, but my child support counted as a little bit of income. This limited the amount of places that would loan to me, and I probably got a SLIGHTLY higher interest rate (although I did my homework and it was probably only a 1/4-1/2%). Lastly you have to continually shop around for alternative loans, because their standards change all the time! Someone who gave me my first alternative loan wouldn't give me another 9 months later because I was unemployed, although I was unemployed at the time of the original loan!!!!! One more bit of advice, do a search on this site for financial aid or student loans in past forums. Good luck!
    Dawn is indeed correct. If you can apply for bank loans (Citibank, etc) BEFORE you quit your job, that will be helpful. They don't care that you are going to leave your job afterwards, you just have to show you have income of at least $25K/year at the time of the bank loan. (I didn't know this and had already quit my job, so I couldn't apply for a bank loan.)

    I took out a HELOC on my house; then I didn't have to worry about whether I could get other loans. You can write off the interest on your taxes. I did fill out the Fafsa form, knowing that with my present income (I was working fulltime at a great paying job) would not "qualify" me, but the school wanted it. Then I was able to get a govt loan (non-subsidized).

    So now I have a HELOC and a govt loan (for the accel'd programs, I was considered a "junior" instead of a grad student with respect to loans) so that was good. Take out the HELOC; you can use just what you need at a time.

    Also check out scholarships on fastweb.com. Good luck!

    Smile123
  8. by   rchamp59
    Any thoughts on the following will be greatly appreciated. So I am filling out merit and need based scholarship applications which ask for total expenses, and then:
    Expected loans:
    Expected grants:
    Expected family contribution:
    I have no idea what to say here. Do I put down the maximum government loans I think I will/wish to qualify for? The same for grants? Whatever is left over I will find a way to pay for (not a dependent student), so is the family contribution the remainder? But will that make it look like I have NO need for a scholarship? I am not talking about falsifying these applications, but it seems there must be a "strategy" here that I am unaware of. Any thoughts from current/past students will be greatly appreciated, : )

    Thank you, and good luck to everyone!
  9. by   kukukajoo
    Get as much help as you can!! There is some great assistance out there!

    What is a HELOC?

    You may even want to consider refinancing your home through a program like USDA-Rural Development if you qualify- to save on monthly expenses. They have the most awesome program! It took me some time but it is so worth it!

    I locked in at 5.375% just closing Dec 22. The kicker is that because my income is down die to full time schooling I qualify for a subsidy and my payments while I am in college will be at 1%!! I almost rolled in my current student loans into the mortgage! My rate will jump when my income jumps but will never go higher that 5.375 and if I cant repay- they have some program you can use so you wont get forclosed on. Without this I would not have a decent home and probably would not be able to do nursing school so it really was a dream come true for me.

    This program allowed me to take equity out of my old house to get good furniture and replace items I lost in flooding right before moving. I sold a dinasoar that was 150 yrs old and drafty and broken and stressful as things were constantly breaking and now have a townhouse with no maintenance and peace of mind and time to study and now I stress about my grades and not having a decent place to live. Not to mention right after we closed on the old place it flooded out real bad! I would have never been able to pay to fix everything that got wrecked and would still be homeless probably from it. Bad enough half my stuff was in the basement in anticipation of moving (was renting back from buyer until I bought a place).
  10. by   RedSox33RN
    Quote from kukukajoo
    Get as much help as you can!! There is some great assistance out there!

    What is a HELOC?
    A Home Equity Line of Credit
  11. by   prinsessa
    Just wondering how you add things to your budget for financial aid. I am eligible, but my family contribution is over $3,000. And my school costs less than that a year. Is there a way to get financial aid to pay for part of my school?
  12. by   Nursey Face
    one good piece of info when filling out the fafsa: when you fill it out, you use your prior year's income tax info, but usually, you will not be working as much, or at all, when you actually start school. the fafsa doesn't allow for this difference. What i learned is that you first fill out the fafsa and then fill out an appeal form, which you can get from your financial aid office. you fill out how much income you will be making (if anything), and they will review it and potentially adjust your FAFSA accordingly so your contribution will be much lower, OR you will then be eligible for grants and such.

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