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Old 12-10-2009, 09:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pell Grants

I got a letter in the mail this week from my state unemployment agency telling me about Pell Grants and how I should take advantage of them. So I applied at my local community college to take a few classes towards a network engineering certificate. I then filled out a FAFSA form as mentioned in the letter in order to apply for the Pell Grants.

In the process of filling out the form, because I was not born before January 1st, 1986, I found out I am considered a dependent even though I do not receive any financial assistance from my parents. This got me ****ed, and led me to placing a call to the FAFSA help line. I was told not only am I considered a dependent, but I am also not eligible for Pell Grants because I already have a bachelors degree.

Does anyone know about Pell Grants and if there is a way around this with my situation? I thought the whole point of having these grants was to retrain the American workforce; keyword is RE-train. The degree I have is useless in this economy, so I wanna go back to school and find something that is in demand.

Appreciate any advice.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I believe you are SOL for Pell grants my friend. The EFC (expected family contribution) caps your award, even outright disqualifies you if it exceeds $3,850. This is chump change mind you, which is why you didn't qualify for it the first time around when you got that fancy [proverbial or literal] aviation degree you wasted 4-5 years on. If your family is not on Medicaid you ain't getting a pell grant brother.

As to the question of already having a degree, only post-bachelor "teaching credential" programs are the kind of coursework that qualify for pell post BA/BS. So yes, you're out of luck there too.

The question for you then becomes, what is this network engineering certificate worth to you when it comes to the amount of skin you're willing to cough up for it?

Take me for instance. I have BS's and MS's in engineering, don't practice the field, currently chasing a permanent civil service job and in the process make squat for money. I'd love to go to dental school and be able to afford my own real airplane (not the barely legal flakin' paint buck fifty I currently drag through the sky..) and finally get the professional aviation 'need' monkey off my back. However that takes a ton of unsubsidized loans and a time commitment that I, at the age of 30, am unwilling to forego in light of my previous 8 year schooling (read wasted 20s..jon gosselin middle age crisis at 30 anybody?). So no dental school for me. That's called opportunity cost assessment. If the govt declared dentists evil tomorrow and forced the floodgates and allowed me to train for free, my opportunity costs would be dramatically different. The same applies to you. This is a good exercise for all of us as it illustrates how people actually do a sensible opportunity cost assessment of returns on investment when faced with a real element of scarcity. This is to say, when the interest free loans are no longer flowing, people actually put real weight behind their professional investment. Hell, not having parents that qualified for PLUS loans could have very likely help you avoid making the mistake of getting that useless degree the first time around. That's hindsight and I recognize that, but bear in mind your original question suggests you haven't learned anything from your first aborted takeoff that was your college degree.

Put simply, if the ROI for the training is NOT greater than the loan shark term personal loan you'd have to take in order to afford to get said training, then forego the training. Subsidizing worthless training (like your aviation degree) is not good for you or anybody else. Good luck.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Tough love, but well said Hindsight.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There are forms to declare yourself an independent student. Check with your school's financial aid office. Pell Grants are not available to those with a degree, so that money is gone. Currently, Stafford Loans are at an incredibly low interest rate.

But if you want worker re-training funds, check with the unemployment office for "Workforce Investment Act (WIA)" and "Dislocated Worker" programs. They can be free money, $5000 and more in some places. Like any gov't cheese, there are a bunch of hoops to jump through to get any of them. Having an employer interested in you once you complete training will help grease the skids of these programs. Search for other threads on these topics. You might be surprised on what is out there.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hindsight2020 View Post
I believe you are SOL for Pell grants my friend. The EFC (expected family contribution) caps your award, even outright disqualifies you if it exceeds $3,850. This is chump change mind you, which is why you didn't qualify for it the first time around when you got that fancy [proverbial or literal] aviation degree you wasted 4-5 years on. If your family is not on Medicaid you ain't getting a pell grant brother.

As to the question of already having a degree, only post-bachelor "teaching credential" programs are the kind of coursework that qualify for pell post BA/BS. So yes, you're out of luck there too.

The question for you then becomes, what is this network engineering certificate worth to you when it comes to the amount of skin you're willing to cough up for it?

Take me for instance. I have BS's and MS's in engineering, don't practice the field, currently chasing a permanent civil service job and in the process make squat for money. I'd love to go to dental school and be able to afford my own real airplane (not the barely legal flakin' paint buck fifty I currently drag through the sky..) and finally get the professional aviation 'need' monkey off my back. However that takes a ton of unsubsidized loans and a time commitment that I, at the age of 30, am unwilling to forego in light of my previous 8 year schooling (read wasted 20s..jon gosselin middle age crisis at 30 anybody?). So no dental school for me. That's called opportunity cost assessment. If the govt declared dentists evil tomorrow and forced the floodgates and allowed me to train for free, my opportunity costs would be dramatically different. The same applies to you. This is a good exercise for all of us as it illustrates how people actually do a sensible opportunity cost assessment of returns on investment when faced with a real element of scarcity. This is to say, when the interest free loans are no longer flowing, people actually put real weight behind their professional investment. Hell, not having parents that qualified for PLUS loans could have very likely help you avoid making the mistake of getting that useless degree the first time around. That's hindsight and I recognize that, but bear in mind your original question suggests you haven't learned anything from your first aborted takeoff that was your college degree.

Put simply, if the ROI for the training is NOT greater than the loan shark term personal loan you'd have to take in order to afford to get said training, then forego the training. Subsidizing worthless training (like your aviation degree) is not good for you or anybody else. Good luck.
Wow, someone is bitter...

I don't think there is a single thing in your post I would consider useful information. Obviously if the prospective ROI is less than your initial investment you should probably look else where. I think anyone at the bottom of the industry is figuring that out the hard way right now.

The certificate is only going to cost me $3000 tops, and will help me get certifications necessary to enter an industry where I already have connections. On top of that I can make close to twice what I made flying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jedinein View Post
There are forms to declare yourself an independent student. Check with your school's financial aid office. Pell Grants are not available to those with a degree, so that money is gone. Currently, Stafford Loans are at an incredibly low interest rate.

But if you want worker re-training funds, check with the unemployment office for "Workforce Investment Act (WIA)" and "Dislocated Worker" programs. They can be free money, $5000 and more in some places. Like any gov't cheese, there are a bunch of hoops to jump through to get any of them. Having an employer interested in you once you complete training will help grease the skids of these programs. Search for other threads on these topics. You might be surprised on what is out there.
Thanks, Jedi. I appreciate the advice. I realize the Pell Grants are out of the question now. I think I'll focus on Stafford Loans and some of the other gov't cheeses.
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