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Dual Enrollment – Here We Come!

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How perfect for us to find out that not 1, not 2 but 3 of my kiddos will be attending college with NO out of pocket costs beginning in January during No Spend Month!

Sea Cadet

Sea Cadet will continue with his Advanced EMT program at the local technical college. He has completed the basic EMS courses and could technically get a job in it now. But plans to complete the Advanced Certification, which will take through August.

Sea Cadet and Hope

Sea Cadet and I at a recent family wedding

Because he (and History Buff) were a special needs adoption, the government kicks in to help pay for his college. Thusfar, the amount provided per semester has covered ALL expenses including tuition, books and even supplies (uniform, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, etc.) We anticipate that he will be able to complete this program with no out of pocket costs.

Princess

Most readers know that Princess is exceptionally bright AND she works very hard on her schoolwork. In preparation for what I thought would be a Fall, 2019 entrance to the dual enrollment program, I had her take the entrance exams (taken if the student has not taken the SAT or ACT yet.) I figured it would give me a baseline on what we needed to focus on to get her ready.

The advisor called last week with the surprise news that not only did Princess complete the normally 3-4 hours test in 1 hour and twenty minutes, but she passed at the highest level. She can begin taking Diploma level courses immediately. Can you say Proud Mom!?!

Princess ready for homecoming

I immediately registered her for two of the local colleges, because she is interested in two different programs. We received her acceptance email to one of them this past Friday and she will be registered for the Spring, 2019 semester as a dual enrolled high school student. She will be earning both high school and college credits and IT’S FREE!

Dual enrolled students can be registered for two different colleges and take up to 15 hours per semester during this dual enrollment time. She won’t graduate from high school until May, 2021. Just think about how much college she can have under her belt by then?

History Buff

History Buff has one more year of high school. He dropped out before completing the 1st semester of his senior year. While he has taken the ACT, he didn’t score high enough on the math part to presume acceptance to the dual enrollment program. He took the entrance exam for math last night and did well enough to start!

We have applied to the same two schools for him as we did for Princess. (Yes, I am definitely thinking about transportation for Princess.) Barring any problems with grades over the next couple of semesters, History Buff will graduate from high school December, 2019. And he could potentially have 30+ hours of college completed at no out of pocket cost.

Financial Goal

Since hearing about the opportunity for free dual enrollment in Georgia, it was an important factor in my decision to move and now stay here. Having my own student loan debt, I have always had a personal goal to get my kids through their advanced training (college or otherwise) with no debt.

And I realize that as a single mom and with my current financial status, I will not be able to really help them financially. But what I can do is guide them through wise financial decisions, apply for scholarships and grants and minimize the costs as much as possible.

The basic steps I/we are taking towards this are:

  • Encourage the kids to live at home as long as it makes sense logistically while in school.
  • Take advantage of as much FREE dual enrollment for each child as we can.
  • Apply for scholarships year round.
  • Make the kids be responsible for some part of their living expenses, and thus work a job. Learn to manage their money now before it becomes solely up to them.

Does your state offer free dual enrollment? Tell me your success stories when it comes to minimizing college costs.

 


Loan Forgiveness Failure

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When I graduated from my PhD program, I had nearly $100,000 of student loan debt.

So, one might say it’s a topic “near and dear” to my heart. I’ve been opposed to entering into any type of student loan forgiveness program in the past. Ultimately, I just want to repay my own dang loans rather than depending on the government to maybe one-day pay them off for me. In fact, I wrote here about some of the horror stories that make me worried to rely upon a government forgiveness program.

So imagine my surprise (cough *sarcasm* cough) when I saw this story float across my Facebook feed a couple days ago. The headline reads: “This government loan forgiveness program has rejected 99% of borrowers so far.”

According to the article,

“So far, roughly 99% of processed applications for forgiveness under a government program aimed at helping public servants manage their federal student-loan debt had their applications rejected……Of the roughly 29,000 applications processed so far, only 96 borrowers have had about $5.52 million in debt discharged under the program.”

I know a couple of these people. The first year of the program was 2007 and it requires 10-years of on-time payments for debt to be discharged. That means the first “cohort” to receive debt forgiveness would’ve occurred just last year, in 2017. I personally know 2 different friends from grad school who have posted publicly (Facebook) about thinking they were entered into this loan forgiveness program for a full 10 YEARS, fully expecting and planning to have remaining debt discharged….only to have the rug pulled out from under them. Complicated explanations and nitpicky reasons for why they were not eligible.  It’s a pretty devastating thing to realize and come to terms with.

So I keep on making those monthly payments. I may do a temporary forbearance (still paying interest) while my life-situation is so up-in-the-air. But I’ll pay these loans off eventually. Hopefully sooner rather than later!!!

(Unless the US wants to just cancel student loans in order to grow the US economy. That would be pretty cool. I kid, I kid!)

 

 


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