Saving for college, loans, scholarships or paying it yourself..

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Saving for college, loans, scholarships or paying it yourself..
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 12:49pm

Hi all,

New to the board, but don't let my name scare you :smileywink: it's from a video game. I'm definitely a female and proud mom of 5. My oldest is finishing his second year of college. earning his associate's in Dec. and transferring to the university in Jan. He completed a semester interning at Disney World last year as a PhotoPass photographer, a job in which he absolutely loved and he thoroughly enjoyed being in Florida.

I'm happy that he is pursuing his degree in cinema/photography, but two years at the university will cost more than 15k. He drags his feet applying for loans and financial aid. High School was a breeze for him, he made straight A's and made the Vice President's List for academics at the local college, but he just doesn' t get motivated to use these to his advantage. Anyone else have a bright, yet disinterested son or daughter in college?

He is smart, mature but very quiet and doesn't always tell us what's going on. He has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He is in a serious relationship with a girl and we love her to death but we're afraid he won't better himself and put all his time, effort and money into this relationship. To survive out there he needs a degree. We want to help him as much as we can, he's living at home and working two jobs, but...getting him to actually apply his knowledge to benefit him is frustrating. He just isn't motivated :smileysad: Not sure how I can get the boy to open up....he's always been way too quiet and serious.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005

Obviously, I can't get the full story at all from one post, but are you sure that your son wants to, or is ready to, finish college? It is certainly a great sign that he did so well academically in HS and in his first few years at the local college, but it does worry me a bit when you say, "he has no idea what he wants to do with his life." I completely agree that he needs a degree, and he sounds hardworking, but I wonder if part of the "dragging his feet" is because he isn't sure about his future career path. Because he's a quiet, responsible kid, he may feel guilty about the amount of money it will cost to transfer to a 4-year college when he really doesn't know what he wants to do. After all, he DOES sound motivated in some ways - working two jobs and getting good grades in school while you do it is quite an accomplishment! Have you asked him about what he'd like to do with a cinema/photography degree? Has he talked about the future? My dd19 is entering her senior year of college and I know she has really wrestled with getting her degree in something she loves versus the stressof getting a job. She has one sibling with a science degree and younger siblings who are likely to be future engineering/math/science majors and she was torn for quite a while between "do what I love" and "get a job that guarantees future employment," which paralyzed her a bit in decision making. This may be totally off base with regard to your son (and colored by my own experience) and it may just be teenager lack of planning! In that case, I'd plan a few Saturdays where you say, "hey bud, we're sitting down together to look at scholarships. And nope, I don't care if you're not interested, unless you are planning to pay!" :smileyhappy:

Good luck - it's scary to think of sending 4 more to college! I am almost done with 2nd and have two more to go and so far, the plan for numbers 3 and 4 is heavily dependent on lottery (even worse plan since I don't play :smileywink:)!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I'm confused--how is he supposed to apply for financial aid when the parents have to fill out the FAFSA?  I don't know any colleges that give out financial aid w/o this form.  I was the one who filled it out for my DD because 1) she certainly didn't have the info about my income & assets while I could easily get her info and 2) filling it out was harder than doing my taxes.  Have you done the FAFSA & sent it into the univ?  I'm sure there are other scholarships that he could apply to individually as well but the FAFSA is the one that determines Stafford loans/Pell grants, etc.  I would also agree that if he doesn't seem that motivated to do anything, then maybe it's because he doesn't really want to go to the univ.  Im not sure that it's totally necessary to have a college degree to be a photographer--it depends on what he wants to do.  I doubt that every person doing wedding photos or baby photos has a college degree.  Now doing cinematography might be different.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

Welcome to the board. I hope that we can help you.

Can you clarify some points please? Your son has applied to and been accepted as a 3rd year transfer student at a local university?I'm guessing that its a public U by the price. Did he need to declare a major, and if so what did he declare? Was he required by the U to submit a FAFSA as part of the process? How are his grades in his college classes? (community college?) 

I have a very bright dd who did a few semesters at CC but was just passing time there and the grades reflected that. So we stopped paying. It took her several years to figure out what she wanted to do/study and even longer to commit to working hard at it.

If your ds has no idea what he wants to do then maybe spending a year or two working in the real world will help him to narrow it down....even if he doesn't figure out what he wants to do, he might figure out what he doesn't want to do and decide that he needs a degree so he can get better jobs. That said, I don't completely agree that he needs a degree to survive. If he has a skill or trade he might be able to earn as much or more than with a BA. He can learn a trade at a technical school and often at CC's. But it really depends on what he wants to do in the future.

An important part of the equation is what you are willing/able to pay towards his university expenses, and if you have made that clear to him. Maybe he figures that you will pick up the tab so he doesn't need to hustle up a scholarship etc. As far as loans, will his major allow him to get a job that pays enough to repay any loans that he takes? I do recommend having him pay at least some portion of his school expenses so he feels more ownership of his education; but you and he also need to weigh the ecomonic realities. 

I think that you need to sit down with him and insist on some answers...or at least insist that he figure some things out and report back to you in a few weeks with those answers. And if he doesn't know what to do, what to study, or is not motivated and on a clear path then it may be a waste of $15K. Bottom line is if you're going to be paying that kind of money then you get to demand that he talk to you.


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Is the CC a good one? The reason I ask is I know around here that a while back they really beefed up the CC and it's now on par with university classes - prior to that it was pretty slow/easy. Maybe he's not been challenged at the CC and maybe going to a U would do the trick? Again, as the others say, it depends on motivation (and honestly consider yourself fortunate at the cost you listed; our state Us are way more than 8k/year).

We have ds20 (also going into jr year) paying for books and fun money and gas, so he has motivation to do well and has a part in his education. It's not much compared to the price of his (private) tuition but it seems to be enough - and he's doing way better than he did in HS, which he hated.

Good luck - this is a great board - ask away, you're sure to get some great advice!