Unique Financial Aid Crisis

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2+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2020
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I had to take a leave of absence this past year for some medical problems that came up. I was unable to work except via Zoom, which didn't really cover my bases financially. The long and short of it is that I wound up living off of my tuition for fall of 2021 and there really was no other way I could've afford my medical expenses and cost of living otherwise, given that I was incapacitated for much of my leave. I was able to extend my payback window until now, but the chickens have come home to roost and I need to pony up the cash.

I qualified for federal loans up to my total cost of attendance for the 2022/23 academic year, but I still have a sizable 20-30k of tuition that I'll owe on top of that. My financial aid office basically told me that my options were to find a private *personal* loan, as private *student* loans couldn't exceed the total cost of attendance.

I would really appreciate any guidance on my best options for coming up with a fairly huge amount of cash as quickly as possible. Anything helps. I have mediocre credit, but have a good co-signer.

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I'm confused why loans won't cover your 22/23 tuition. Is it because you used the funds for 21/22? Did they expect you to return those funds? I'm just not clear. Usually the school keeps all your tuition funds and gives you your living expenses--is that what you meant you spent all of? Because that seems like it would be expected and I don't see why they'd hold that against you. If they gave you your tuition money, that would be weird, but I could see then why there's an issue.

Meet with your financial aid director. Often you can get a budget increase for medical issues. The director of financial aid is the one to talk to--don't talk with anyone else. Request a meeting with the director (if you haven't already spoken with them).

If they can justify a budget increase in any way, you can get additional federal and/or private loans up to that additional amount.

Try and avoid a personal loans--the rates are ridiculous. The rates aren't even comparable with student loans, and you probably start repayment while you're still in school. Ask about institutional loans. Your school has an incentive to help you graduate. If your financial aid office isn't helpful (many aren't), ask to speak with one of the deans.
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