February 21, 2018
I recently enrolled in a Clinical Psychology doctorate program in Phoenix Arizona. I am already borrowing up to my COA from the federal government, but because I am married, have an 18 month old son, and a pregnant wife, naturally my COA is higher than the average student. It is not possible for me to rent an apartment with a handful of roommates, I have to buy more food to feed my entire family, I have to buy diapers, kids clothes, formula, baby, food, etc. That being said, my ACTUAL cost of attendance is higher than what my school estimates the COA for the average student. I am working part-time, and my wife is also working part-time, but paying bills and making ends meet is still a tall order for us. We do not need a lot more money, but I would like to borrow a smaller amount of money to help relieve some financial stress. Private student loan companies will still only allow me to borrow up to the COA, I know that personal loans are also an option, but I am wondering if there are any other borrowing options that available for me, that I would not need to pay back until I am finished with school? Any answers or input from someone who has been in a similar situation would be greatly appreciated!
May 3, 2014
The tricky thing with this will be the fact that student loan lenders will all be strict about keeping things below the COA. If the loan is borrowed to cover beyond the COA, it technically isn’t a student loan… which means consumer protections like bankruptcy are back in play. For this reason, lenders want to keep the loan classified as a student loan.
As far as I know a personal loan is your best option, but it certainly isn’t ideal. Credit card debt would be even worse.
Have you contacted your school’s financial aid office? Normally when we get people looking to borrow beyond the COA it is because they want to live in an expensive apartment or for some other frivolous reason. Your explanation makes a lot of sense and you seem to have a good argument for a different COA calculation. Maybe your school can come up with a couple grants or a solution to help you out. I’d be very interested to hear what they have to say.
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