Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Working Class Wednesday: College on a budget

This is what my weekends look like now
I recently went back to Community College, after taking about 3 years off. My husband is also a college student. With 1 income, 4 kids, and 2 college students in our household, we were sure things would be tight for us this semester.
Turns out, we could not have been more wrong.
It's true, with the rising cost of tuition (currently capping out at a hefty $46 per unit here), books, and transportation, things might look a little bleak. But thanks to government Pell grants and a little something called the Board of Governor's Fee Waiver here in California, we managed to have all of our tuition & administrative fees paid in full.

Unfortunately, financial aid does tend to come a few weeks after your classes start. So what happens when you show up to class with no books because the text is $150? You're S.O.L. right?


There is an awesome website called Chegg, where you can RENT textbooks for a fraction of what the school bookstores are charging you to buy them.
For example, my Criminal Law book was listed as $134 in the bookstore and we paid just $46 for it.
That. Is. Awesome.

If you have any desire to go back to school, make sure you fill out a FAFSA to find out if you're eligible for federal grants. Grants are most often money that you do not have to pay back. Did you read that? You don't have to pay it back! There are contingencies, like- you can't bomb your classes or drop out, or you might be asked to pay back a portion of the grant. So, get an A. Or a B. Or a C at the very worst. There are also tons of scholarships available to help get your butt back in school, you just need to know where to look. A good place to start is the school counselor & financial aid office.

Also, it's much MUCH cheaper to attend a Community College and transfer to a University when you're a Junior. You could quite possibly get through 2 years of college without having to go broke or take out a student loan. It's totally worth it.

If you've been putting off school because you think you can't afford it, do yourself a favor and look into it again, you might be surprised at what you find.


  1. Exactly what I did! :) Chegg rocks!
    I am paying out of the rear now though (Sac State). Loans, loans, and more loans. Crossing my finger to get a competetive Cal grant next semester.

  2. I will cross my fingers for you!


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