Cost of attendance

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.

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Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 1:07 pm

Cost of attendance

Postby MandyNC » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:48 am


I have a question. UNC (at least in 2007-08) estimated their cost of attendance to be around $30,000 in state including tuition, books, living expenses, etc. I assume it is higher now by $2,000-$3,500 or so since tuition has gone up.

So let's say UNC's official estimated cost of attendance is $33,000. And let's say I get federal Stafford and PLUS loans to cover $28,000 of that. If my understanding is correct, I can only borrow $5,000 through private education loans (such as Discover, etc.)? These private lenders will ONLY make up the difference between what federal loans give you and the school's estimated COA?

This seems to be saying that I'm expected to live on @15k for the majority of the year and any responsibilities I had before ls can go screw themselves.

I ask because right now I'm the primary breadwinner between my husband and myself. He's working almost-full-time at different labs at a university while trying to either get an in at a biotech or back on the PhD track. His hourly wage with no benefits comes to just over half of what I make. We're going to take a massive hit when I go back to school - in addition to losing great bennies.

I would like to borrow 5-10k beyond UNC's cost of attendance the first year - nothing that works out to a drastic amount, percentage-wise, in the long run, but a cushion for car repairs, some (less than 2k) credit card debt, and our long-put-off honeymoon/big trip to the SO's home country this December.

Has anyone been able borrow past the school's estimated COA? How? If I have a typical twenty-something credit score in the mid-600s, will I need a co-signer? Is this a terrible idea? Do I just plan on being able to land in a 1L job that happens to pay incredibly well? Ha.

The transition from full-time employee to student seems a little unrealistic for people with families who have moved into adult lives and responsibilities.


Posts: 221
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:00 pm

Re: Cost of attendance

Postby insidethetwenty » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:30 am

It's doubtful. You should probably check with UNC specifically, because they would be the ones who might be able to increase your COA numbers. Even then, though, there's no guarantee you could take out more loans.

You might want to ask yourself if LS is really the right thing for you right now. If it's really going to be that negative financially and personally, you might consider saving up for a year or two, keeping your benefits, etc. and then trying again later when you have more money in the bank.

You don't want to go into this with huge financial question marks, because that can make an extremely stressful school life just that much more stressful.

Good luck!


Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:39 pm

Re: Cost of attendance

Postby flowylime » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:45 am

You have a couple of options:

You could ask UNC to increase your cost of attendance, which they may be willing to do based on your mortgage costs, etc. You will have to provide them with verification information for them to do this, and they may not necessarily increase it by the amount that you want. You should contact their financial aid office about their policy on this.

You could borrow a private educational loan that does not require school certification. Most loans require the school to certify them, which means the private loan amount plus other financial aid cannot be more than the school's cost of attendance. The only loan that I know of that does not require school certification is one from Wells Fargo, but there may be others. You'll have to have good credit history and all that.

Good luck!

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