Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Saved $44,000 in One Day!

Yeah, I'm bragging. This is flat out crazy.
DJ was accepted to a few different colleges. He has expensive tastes especially in colleges. He has known all along that we will help him, his grandparents will help him but he is on the hook for a lot of it. It is a gift to get to go to college and you have to work for it. No one owes you a thing. We help because we care but this is his problem not ours.
The same has gone for Anna. We have helped her. I have complained IMMENSELY. But she is shouldering a chunk of the bill and debt. We can't do it all. That said, I will go out of my way to search and double check EVERYTHING for them. I even told DJ that I am going to be running 3 separate households when he starts school. I should start charging!
Anywho, the other colleges that accepted him offered him massive amounts of scholarship/grant money. MASSIVE. But he wasn't interested in the schools for one reason or another.
The one that he picked didn't offer him anything. I kept pushing for him to go to a different school but he wasn't having it. The business program is top notch at the school that he chose and that was what he wanted. Sigh.
When Anna started college, the school sent all of the paperwork to us and we could sign on to the college website and look for whatever we needed. The college that DJ chose only gives the info online and to the student. The student then has to decide if they want family members to have access and then set up a proxy account for them. I'm not even going to get into how stupid this is. The parents, in the majority of the cases, are the ones paying, why make it more difficult to get your money? Fine, it's their system so so be it.
DJ set up accounts for me and his grandfather and I started poking around. Come check out the campus, sponsor this or that emails and nothing on scholarship/grant money. DJ has been a very good student, very good. I thought that he would get something. And did I mention that this was an out of state school. Cue, the guttural groan.
Somewhere along the lines, information was entered wrong(Anna's FAFSA info was messed up too and I think it was because we went from one student in college to two) and that seems to be the reason DJ was offered nothing. I found that he was eligible for$11,000 a year in scholarship/grant money. And that isn't including the money that he got from federal.
So please send out a good vibe or a prayer that it all works out. But if everything goes through it will be cheaper for him to go there than an instate college. And it will only be $4000 more for him to go to that college then it would be for an  IN resident. He is also searching out more scholarship money.
Getting your kids through college is a practice in time and patience. You must also turn into a detective. There are just so many services that I should be charging for.
Sonya Ann


Jennifer said...

Well, there's your condo in Las Vegas! Don't gamble away the proceeds!

slugmama said...

So annoying that each schools has it's own quirks/ways of doing things!
Even the 14 state schools here.....each of my kids will have spent at least 1 year in a diff. state school in PA but each one did shit different.
You dealt with one and thought, "oh, it's going to be a piece of CAKE!" when you have to deal with the second and third.
Just Incredible!

So glad you are a math boob and DJ will have to take on less debt to get through this now.

Congratulations Sam Spade!

Cheapchick said...

I love your attitude that it is their responsibility too -please keep us updated on how the scholarships and grants work out. Due to hubby's divorce he was 100% responsible for setting aside money for the last 14 years for the 3 kids. They were told a couple years ago that there is exactly $20,000 each for schooling (keep in mind Canadian schools are way cheaper than USA ones). Once that was gone they were responsible for loans/costs. If someone didn't go to school later in life they can pull that money out after all 4 kids are through. Part of that money is grant money the Canadian Government put in (about 30%) so there are specific rules when and if it can be pulled out. Telling them exactly what they will be responsible for is extremely important - they are spending these dollars way more responsibly than some of their friends with fluffy degrees they don't have a hope in Hell of getting a job with (arts degree in canada = unemployment). Canada is still one of the few places on earth, especially Alberta, where you can get a really decent job without a degree. My eldest stepson kept trying to get in to be a police or fireman but he is young and they are very limited on the number of spots. He got offered a very good job working for a company that supplies to the oilfield. He hasn't abandoned his dream but is making decent money in the mean time which allowed him to move out and be independent.

Hawaii Planner said...

That is some seriously awesome money news. Kudos to you for putting in the time to verify!!!

Sonya Ann said...

Jennifer-You are brilliant! Really!

Sonya Ann said...

sluggy-It is kind of scary to think that we would have had to pay that(or him)if I hadn't spent hours going through the site. I wonder how many people have not looked and paid it.
Thank you for thinking I am a boob.

Sonya Ann said...

Cheapchick-Wow, that sucks that he is responsible for all of the college money. That isn't fair at all!
The real trick to coming up with the money is breaking the problem into pieces. I always talk with the kids about eating an elephant.
Scholarships, grants, jobs, savings, and the grandparents are helping. And it does help that I am cheap as hell.
The first year there aren't a lot of scholarships but after that there are tons. He isn't going to work his first year but he said that he will research scholarships. You need to apply in January for most of them, at least here you do. So I'm hoping that he can "find" some more money that way.
I'll keep you posted!

Sonya Ann said...

Hawaii Planner-Thank you!!!

Jane said...

Thank the Lord you are a nosy, not not nosy, INTERESTED parent and took a good look around that website!!! Hope it all works out!!!

Donna Freedman said...

Re eating an elephant: For his first book (about going to college without going into debt), Zac Bissonnette did the math for an "average" college bill at that time (just under $40k) and found that it works out to $190 per week.
Eat. That. Elephant.
He also suggested that you ask the college about paying by the month. Just about all of them *can* do it, even if they don't *want* to do it.
In other words, if there's a cash-flow problem don't pay for the entire semester (quarter?) at once. Pay as much as you can and send the rest later.
Oh, and if friends/family ask what he wants as a graduation gift, ask them to hold off until school starts, and then send a check in his name to the college.
(Specifying, of course, that it be applied against current/future bills, not that it's a donation in his honor!)
He is lucky to have you, pal. And he better remember this when he's picking out your nursing home. ;-)

Sonya Ann said...

Jane-What would he do without me? I'm sure that he would like to know when I am nagging him. LOL

Val said...

You are GOOD!!! I didn't nag enough at Maddy and she's paying next to full price. But the college she settled on was a lot cheaper than others anyway. Oh well. It'll get paid off eventually!

Sonya Ann said...

Donna Freedman-Everyone knows to write the check to me. LOL
I've been the evil mom ever since they were little and saved every penny that I could get my hands on. And when they want to go to say England or needed a chunk of cash-they had it. They were thankful for it when they needed it but not when I was taking it.
Friends of ours are going to make monthly payments to the college that their son is going to. I guess some colleges offer that now.
It is just going to be really tight until we start getting the $2500 tax return.
I had a slight panic attack last night. Den brought up the fact that we have to take a trip to see his grandpa, the trip to Ball state and he wants to go on a fishing trip, and we booked tickets to Vegas. One bite at a time. sigh.

Nancy said...

Good job Sonya Ann!

Slugmama - we could not figure out the system in PA (state schools, state related, etc., all w/ridiculous prices), and why there was no financial aid for an A student with a household income of $36,000 for 3 and no health ins. DD went to a school in Florida, who offered lots of financial aid.

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas said...

Well done, Mama! Impressive.

Sonya Ann said...

Val-There isnt much in the way of scholarships for freshman but after that there is a ton of money. I would have her start looking for next year. ASAP. I'm just not sure when you need to apply for the following year. I do know that if you go to financial aid on campus they will be able to tell her where to start looking and when. Ball state has a link on their website. :)

Sonya Ann said...

Nancy-Thank you much!

Sonya Ann said...

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas-Well hello there!
And thank you so much!!!!

Frances said...

SonyaAnn, you are a good mama and DJ will appreciate it some day if he does not appreciate it every day now.

I remember when Samantha was deciding where to go to school. Her first choice was whoever offered her the best financial package. That's my girl!

Sonya Ann said...

Frances-Samantha sounds like a WONDERFUL child! Seems she got it from the get go.