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Supporting family on FinAid

Discussion in 'Financial Aid' started by wrentana, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. wrentana

    wrentana Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I'm an MS-I starting in July and have just recieved my award letter for financial aid. I have a 4 month old child and my wife and I both want her to be able to stay home during this first year to be with the little guy.

    With the stafford & alternative loan eligibility they've calculated for me I don't see how we'll be able to do it. Even living on rice & beans it just doesn't seem feasible. Any advice on how to increase my eligibility for alternative loans? Other ideas?
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  3. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Resident [Any Field]
    They won't offer more in aid than they have calculated as their annual budget. If you need more you can get it on your own. There are many alternative lenders, or you can see if the lender they have chosen for the alternative loan they have already offered you will offer you an additional loan.
  4. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I can count over a dozen other women (and one man last year) who "stayed home" with the kids and made it work. The trick is to pare down your monthly expenses as much as possible and stick with fixed expenses (if possible) For example, we live in on-campus housing so we only have one car, zero commuting expenses and electric/phone are part of our rent. I'm still a little shocked that it worked, but we made it through MS1 with little-to-no additional loans or income. This year I am still "home" with the kids, although I work three nights per week, essentially to pay off our car loan and credit card bills. If you have little or no consumer debt, you should be able to make it. However:

    Get your child (and hopefully your wife, too) onto a state medical assistance program and sign up for WIC (monthly certificates for free milk, juice, etc..., as well as formula if your wife is/begins bottle-feeding). This may not be possible until you start school and your income drops, but look into the qualifications in your state.

    You and/or your wife should consider a part-time job in the evening (if you will be living near the hospital, this is a great place to look) nothing major, just one or two nights per week. You should be able to handle one night per week with your MS1 schedule (especially if you find a job where you can study!), and you will get quality one-on-one time with your child while your wife gets a "break" once or twice per week. This income will be a big help, not to mention you will most likely qualify for the "Earned Income Credit" on your taxes.

    You should also get an extended summer break after MS1 when you can work.

    Remember that, unless your wife is able to step easily into a $50,000+ job, working can be MORE expensive for you. Day care costs, health insurance costs and your reduced qualfication for financial aid in subsequent years, can make full-time work very uneconomical and more stressful on your marriage. I have two graduate degrees and six years of professional experience as a teacher, but full-time childcare alone would cost us more than $1200.00/month. Add in the cost of employee-sponsored health coverage, commuting expenses, clothes, etc.. and I wouldn't be "making" anything. We simply CAN'T AFFORD FOR ME TO WORK FULL-TIME. Money may be tight, but I'm less stressed than I was as a full-time working mom, and we have ALOT more family time than we did prior to medical school. Scan previous posts on the spouses/partners forum.

    Good Luck! :D
  5. lovemydrhubby

    lovemydrhubby Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2004
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    K's Mom! hello- while I was not specifically looking for answers to this question, I found your response very helpful and informative! Thanks so much for sharing your family's experience.

    I work full time currently and like you, I often say to myself this is barely worth it as all my income goes to expenses and daycare! ugg. Anyway we're moving into campus housing (our # finally came up!) in a few months and will be able to get rid of many commuting/car/house expenses so this should help alot.

    I second her idea for getting a small job a few nights a week or even on one day in the weekend to bring in some supplementary income. we have not tried living off loans/financial aid yet- but with our new baby on the way, I have a strong desire to be a SAHM for longer than "maternity leave" and we are trying to make this work. WIC is also a good idea! Be thrify, use coupons, cut out expenses- you'd be amazed at how much you CAN cut back on when you try and lay it all out.

    To the original poster- good luck in school and to your family! I know you can make it work

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