Feb. 14th, 2016

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FAFSA changed some things around this year - one thing in particular which will not be helping me. They're asking for the totals of all bank accounts now. When I was younger and applying for aid yearly because I was working on my A.A., it never went that far - it asked for assets, like stock holdings or real estate, but not bank accounts. So, this is how this feels to me: basically, I did the right thing for four years, saving every penny I could, only to have that now work against me. Wonderful.

My EFC still isn't as bad as what my parents had yearly (the government expected them to fork over about $24,000/year, when that was about half of their after tax income.) But it's bad enough to prevent me from receiving any federal pell grants, and until my bank accounts are exhausted, that will continue to be the case. About $13,000/year, or half of what it costs to attend a public university, is my expected contribution. It's doable, but my savings will be exhausted about the time I finish a bachelors, and the other half that isn't covered will be debt. I filled out my PHEAA state grant forms today and will send them in tomorrow...but I'm not expecting any miracles there. Not once did I receive their grants, while I saw numerous other people get them no problem.

I'm peeved about this - every dealing I've had with the government in the past month has had an awful outcome. The healthcare tax penalty, the fact that there's no private insurers willing to insure me through the marketplace (and I'm stuck waiting for something from state medicare) and the fact that I had to pay an extra $70 to file my taxes because I received a 401k distribution (3 extra numerical details = an entirely different tax form apparently.)

This whole bank account thing with FAFSA really bugs me because it makes me feel like the government wants someone my age, or someone who has saved to attend college by working (instead of going into debt) to go into debt essentially just as much as someone who just graduated high school with no savings whatsoever. It works out the same, if you think about it - if their parents aren't middle class, they will get pell grants every semester, and they will likely get further state grants...working out to be around $10,000/year in free money. Whereas someone who has saved enough won't get any of that. Makes absolutely zero fucking sense to me. Well, let me restate that - it makes perfect sense, because the college system currently isn't designed to be easily accessible or affordable - it's designed to make a certain sector of our society a lot of money with zero risk.

So will I be going back? I'm really starting to think that's a negative. If I get grants through PHEAA I may, but I'm still very uncertain about my level of desire for sitting in classrooms again.


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