T Nation

What Should I Do?

I am at a University right now. This costs money. My parent could pay for it easily and never feel anything. But she won’t. She could help me get a loan. But she won’t. She could apply for a loan and reject it so I could apply for one. But she won’t.

I am facing the prospects of having to leave school. I cannot find a part time job let alone a full time job in my area. I am not even allowed to come home this summer to live with my parents.

I know from experience that working at the types of jobs available to me will not even allow me to make enough money to support myself let alone go to school even part time.

I am very frustrated and I do not know what to do. I am not able to get any financial aid because my parent makes too much money. I will be considered a dependent of hers until I am 24 even though she provides 0 support. I have spoken with the head of finacial aid and corresponded with the president of our university’s office. There is nothing anyone can do. I cannot join the military for various reasons even.

What should I do. I have a place to stay tentatively for this spring and perhaps the summer. But I cannot find a job. I am still resentful that financial aid cannot and is not even willing to try and help me.

I have an administrator here at the university who is influential and trying to help me. he told me I needed to contact a lawyer and have a consultation with him/her first to determine the specifics of the laws this university is holding to.

I cannot afford a lawyer. Is there anyone here who is a lawyer who would be willing to pm me their phone number and would be willing to speak with this administrator regarding the situation just over the phone and speak with me first?

he thinks he might be able to get the aid office to listen but he said I need to find out exactly where I stand and what the precedents are. I have done a lot of research on my own and it doesn’t look good. But he said to get the advice of a real lawyer before I proceed with him.

Thank you very much.

Wow, Tiffy. That’s a terrible predicament. I remember reading before about your situation with your parent, but I had no idea just how difficult it was. I’m in Australia and when I was at University a friend of mine had a similar situation (although nowhere near as extreme). He was told that if he legally disowned/divorced? his parents then he could apply for financial assitance without their incomes being taken into account. It makes sense I guess that if your parents aren’t willing to contribute anything financially then why should their incomes be taken into account when determining your situation? Apparently this was a pretty drastic step and he didn’t end up going through with it. I wonder if in the US there is a similar step that can be taken to legally separate yourslef from your parent and if this would help your situation?
Other than that all I can offer is my sincere sympathy and best wishes.

I could actually do such a thing but there are certain criteria I would have to meet. There are guidelines as to what does NOT constitute a dependency override and one of them is the unwillingness of parents to help with your education. So I cannot even do that.

Tiffy that is quite the situation you’re in.

Your parents don’t exactly appear to be to supportive of you and your goals. An education is the greatest investment you can make and the fact that your parents wont assist you financially during this period is kind of suprising. What courses are you enrolled in?

You could try to find someone to sponsor you. Scout out future employers and try to see if they would be interested. You could do work experience and enter into an agreement to work for a pre-determined period upon graduation. To do this you really have to sell yourself (ie:have your entire career path planned).

That’s a tough situation Tiffy and I hope you are able to find a fitting solution.

That’s a tough situation Tiffy. Am really sorry to hear this is happening.

Have you thought about the US Military? I am a Canuck so I don’t know about the options the US has in terms of education but I am sure there must be something. I think here in Canada they will put you through college as long as you serve a pre-determined number of years after your education.

I really hope you get this sorted out Tiffy.

-Dave

[quote]tiffy wrote:
I could actually do such a thing but there are certain criteria I would have to meet. There are guidelines as to what does NOT constitute a dependency override and one of them is the unwillingness of parents to help with your education. So I cannot even do that.[/quote]

Maybe you could submit another reason for a dependency override? No matter what it is? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Are you over 18? If so, and you are not living at home, can’t you apply for financial aid based on only your income? If that is not the case the get a place of your own, with roomates if needed to keep the rent expense to a minimum and start doing your own taxes and do not let your parents claim you.

If you are not enrolled as a full time student, and you are over 18, your parents cannot claim you as a dependent.

Getting through college is not a race. Get a full time job, hold it for a year, then re-enroll in school. Your parents will have lost any claim to you and you would more than qualify for financial aid.

I hope things get better for you. Over time you will look back and see that this period of your life was one that sharpened you and made you stronger.

Damn, this is a tough one. Rainjack gave some good advice – you can leave and come back, though that can be pretty hard too if you aren’t earning enough money.

What support, if any, is your parent providing now? I mean, are they helping with food, accomodation, letting you live at home, anything? If nothing, then a quick tip to the IRS would be in order… :wink:

A long time back when I went to university, there were “jobs” that the university could hire students to do. This was a form of financial aid, though not a handout, so much easier to come by.

One thing to consider, if you are forced to work, then try to keep your foot in the door. You may be able to continue your studies with correspondence courses for a year or two while you save up to get back in.

I was working midnights when I was at university, and it didn’t work too well as you can imagine. Anyway, I quit when a suitable real job showed up and finished over the next few years by correspondence as I only needed electives by that time.

If you want it Tiffy, don’t get too worried about the now. All you have to do is keep working towards this goal and you can make it happen. Don’t give up. Don’t let go. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t accomplish with your life.

We don’t all get to follow the same path, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there – and when you do, dammit you will have something to feel good about for the rest of your life. That’s how I feel and it’s been a long time.

Anyway, just wanted to offer some support and try to help you see that you can get there even if you don’t get to do it the regular way. Whatever you do, set your goals and just keep working towards them, always, and things will work out in the long run.

Tiffy, that’s a shitty situation that you’re in. I know because not more than five years ago, I was in the same boat. My parents didn’t want to pay for shit, and wouldn’t sign off on my shit either.

They wanted me to stick around and take over the family farm, a farm that hadn’t generated a dime in 20 years. I didn’t qualify for finacial aid because my family had too much equity in land and farm equipment.

VROOM is right on the money about college jobs. I don’t know what college you’re trying to attend, but most all universites have programs to keep students employed either on or off campus. Get involved with your college and they will hook you up.

Furthermore… Check into STUDENT LOANS, I borrowed money from student loans all the way through school. Yea it sucks to come out of college in debt, but I wouldn’t have the awsome career I have today without those student loans, and they’ll give money to ANYBODY, regardless of financial standing.

Last thing…Stick to you guns! Like I said, I was in your shoes once. Don’t give in to outside pressue, if you want to go to school, FUCKING DO IT… you wont regret it! My parents didn’t want me to go, and a lot of my friends tried to talk me out of going to class as well, they wanted me to “Hang out and party”. Well now they’re all fucking bums who are working dead end positions.

An education is an investment that can never be taken away from you.

[quote]tiffy wrote:
I am at a University right now.

I am facing the prospects of having to leave school. I cannot find a part time job let alone a full time job in my area. I am not even allowed to come home this summer to live with my parents.

I know from experience that working at the types of jobs available to me will not even allow me to make enough money to support myself let alone go to school even part time.

I cannot join the military for various reasons even.

What should I do. I have a place to stay tentatively for this spring and perhaps the summer. But I cannot find a job.
[/quote]
I think it is admirable that you are determined to stay in school, but depending on what you find out, you may need to become more flexible with regard to: 1) your time frame for accomplishing what you are trying to do, and 2) your willingness to “think outside the box” with regard to employment opportunities and attending school simultaneously.

How are you currently paying for school? Scholarship? Work Study?
Parent(s)? I mean, it appears you are going to lose your current source of funding, but you really haven’t stated why.

It looks like whether you continue with school or not, you are going to have to find work since you won’t be allowed back home, right?

How old are you, and what type of experience are you basing your belief that you won’t be able to afford school working part time? Yes, it will be hard as hell, but it’s not impossible (although truthfully, there will be times it feels that way). Sometimes life isn’t fair or easy, but that’s when you need to be able to adapt to the hand you are dealt.

Are there less expensive colleges or universities in your area? Can you take night courses? You mention the military is not an option, but is Americorp or the Peace Corp? Is there a FedEX operation nearby (they seem to hire part-timers - up to 25 hours/week max - on a continuous basis)? Is it possible to apply for seasonal tax positions either with your State Tax Agency or in the private sector (Jackson Hewitt, H.R. Block, etc…)? Are you currently signed up with a temporary placement agency?

Perhaps you’ve considered all of this, but just in case…

Tiffy, some excellent suggestions have been made as far as scholarships, work-study and student loans. Some others for you: look at companies providing contract services on campus, such as food service. It may be too late for this semester but you maybe able to line something up for the spring. Also if you like working with kids, look at becoming a part time nanny in exchange for room and board and maybe some spending money. Combined with scholarships etc. this should allow you to attend school atr least part time. Also is it possible to stay with relatives, even if it means changing schools. While you would still need to pay for school, this could at least pay for school. Also maybe you can get your roommates to agree to a reduction/elimination of your part of the rent if you agree to do the cleaning and any yard work. In short, rather than trying to find one way to fix the problem it maybe helpful to look at multiple ways to fix part of the problem.
Check with that helpful administrator to see if he knows any alumni that are lawyers. They may give you a reduced rate since you are going to the same schoool they did, or you maybe able to work out a barter pay system.
Whatever you do do not give up something will work out. It may take hard work and sacrifices but if it is important enough to you you can do it, even if it means working two jobs and living in a dump.

Many large companies extend tuition benefits to their empoyees, so you might look into that. I started my college career when I was reading meters for an electric company. I took classes at night. I was also making pretty good money doing it, about 10 bucks an hour ( this was over 10 years ago). My point is that you may look at some larger companies that pay good money and great benefits for jobs that do not require training or experience.
Good luck to you!

Two things.
There is one way a young woman can make a lot of money- stripping. I’m not trying to be flippant or offensive, just presenting an option. Lots of college students do it.
If that’s not your cup of tea, how about taking a full year or two off from your studies and try to save as much money as possible? When I did that, I returned to college with a car, a new computer and some money in the bank, but also was older and more mature and therefore a better student. At your age a year or two won’t hurt even though now you think it will be a big deal.