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Financial Aid Grant, Loan, and Scholarship Issues with U.S Colleges
When it comes to finding Financial Aid such as Grants and Scholarships in the U.S, it's like pulling a sword jammed 3 feet into a block of concrete. I'm a rising sophomore at George Mason University. While compared to many other colleges, it is considered a pretty low cost college, for us it is still difficult to pay off with a family of 4, an income of 30,000 dollars per year, 2 houses one of which we bought before one of my family members lost his job. Now we're stuck with 500,000 dollars in house payments, and not enough money to pay for college. My sister is a high school senior and when she gets to college, it'll become even harder.
In this article, I'll cover my opinions on what to watch out for.
Issue 1 - Fafsa
Fafsa is a federal student loan and grant provider. It supposedly offers Pell grants to low income students along with other grants that depend on where you live. It also offers loans like the Stafford Subsidized and unsubsidized loans, PLUS loan, and a few others.
Last semester with my family's horrible income as you read in the first paragraph, we got 3000 dollars for the year from the commonwealth award. We were offers the Stafford subsidized and unsibsidized loan and the Plus loan but we were determined not to take out loans until it is absolutely necessary....which is now.
Now going into my sophomore year at GMU, I recieved my award package on June 26. I was very optomistic that we were going to get more help than we did last year.
We got no help at all. We were not offer ANY grants, and 10,500 dollars in loans which in itself is a scam. If we aren't able to pay for college now, what hope do we have that 6 months after I graduate I'll be able to pay it off then especially in this horrible economy. Even all of the cashier jobs are full at Walmart, Kroger, Farm Fresh, Food Lion, etc. No, I expect that unless I get really lucky, I'll be left with over 100k in loans and an interest that will keep it high. That's not the point though.
The point is how could I NOT qualify for the Pell grant or the commonwealth grant this year. It's absurd! In addition, my friends also remarked on a decreased award amount this year. What's even more absurd is that I tried to contact my school via phone but every time I call, I'm left hearing the same boring dial-tone and when I try to email them, they don't respond!
Issue 2: Finding Outside Scholarships
There are many scholarship databases and offers perhaps thousands. Personally, I've been using FastWeb.com and ScholarshipExperts.com and I've applied to hundreds many of which are simply drawings from a lot of over 100,000 people which makes my chance of getting a scholarship near impossible. Others require immense collaboration with peers to create artwork or products for a mere 500 dollars. Then there are the very limiting and sexist/racist scholarships that are self-explanatory.
There are very few scholarships that accommodate a person's scientific ability which is what created much of the very societies we live in. It's no surprise. We live in a world dominated by popularity. People do don't work hard at all but happens to have paid to be included in a "special" group like a fraternity gets the benefits along with those who entertain others by participating in sports.
In my college, I've seen lazy bums forge their parent's information or even lie to get financial aid. There are people who are puking everywhere every week and spear poop over the toilet seats getting a heck ton of government grants and scholarship funds.
Why can't I?
I want no more than to dedicate my life to help others. I want to find the cure to cancer and aging, but constantly, I am bogged down by the weight of not being able to afford to do anything.
Issue 3: Student Loans
This year, my tuition will add up to over 20,000 dollars and 10,000 dollars in government loans, of which only lunatics would accept 6000 of it. The only decent loan I see out of the bunch is the Stafford subsized loan which does not need to be paid back until after college and during college, interest is paid by the government.
Of course, that means I have to look for private bank loans which have much higher interest costs up to 12%.
I've always said that loans are a bad idea. If you can pay 10,000 dollars right now, why procrastinate and pay an extra 8000 dollars interest in addition to the 10,000. It is a sinister thing for the government and banks to leech on those who are already desperate.
Look at the European countries! The government covers the entire cost! They don't have to pay a penny out of their pockets. https://www.studyineurope.eu/tuition-fees
Why is it the U.S is not #30 in science? It's because we are becoming a backwards society bent on legalized styles of capital thievery.
Wake Up! The great country we know is dying, but most of us aren't willing to admit the problem. If we don't admit the problem, we have no hope of solving it.
Issue 4: A 4.0 GPA Doesn't Mean S#$# when It comes to Financial Aid
I worked hard to get a 4.0 GPA last year. The money wasn't my aim. I love to master everything I learn so that it can be useful when I'm researching aging and cancer, but it doesn't help with scholarships at all. Most of the ones I see are swallowed up by the cliche of "it's not all about grades". Of Course it's not everything, but grades do matter. Would you rather have a doctor who just passed with a C or a doctor who had an A+.
Then imagine that unfortunately the A+ doctor couldn't get his degree because all the scholarship and grant opportunities were target towards the people in fraternity, or are entertainers, or are simply born into a special family.
Look at scholarship databases like fastweb. The majority of offered scholarships are for trivial things such as sports, art, and english. Those who qualify for these are almost certainly not the next Bill Gates or Einstein.