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How are YOU paying for college?

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How are YOU paying for college?


How are you/did you pay for college?

I'm trying to get examples of how people do it, as i'm looking at 4 years equalling about $160,000 for me, meaning I'm worrying a lil' about how i'm gonna be able to amount to such a feat of monetary enlightenment!

Alot of people are saying; just apply and the college itself will sort alot of it out for you with financial aid packages. However, most guys at Calarts are saying they get about $1,000-$4,000 a year from Calarts financial aid. If that's all you can potentially get, i'm looking at finding $100+ grand by my own accord. And being from Britain, thus an international student, personally that 100 grand is nion impossible to fund via my own means.

Just after some actual examples guys so i know the truth b4 i start overly worrying about it...

PS: I know what ya gonna be tempted to say straight off, and that's '160 grand is well too much to spend on college, don't go'. But the reality is that unfortuantley that's what Calarts is costing these days; with tuition, housing and generally living there for 4 years. So if my goal is attending Calarts, at some point i gotta start trying to figure out how i can get that money to achieve that goal. So if you could give examples of how you got money for college/where from etc, i'd be mucho appreciative,

Thanks guys and girls,


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________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

I put myself through college UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz) by working a full time job in manufacturing. I took night courses mostly and some online and day courses when it was okay with my employer. It took a while to do it.

I earned two full scholarships to fund my education, but they were academic based. I attended a community college as well which was a great experience for me, and really gave me a good foundation. I earned yearly scholarships to pay my expenses while at the community college, and then I earned the full scholarships to transfer to a 4-year institution.

I always planned to pursue a PhD, but I took a break after earning my BFA. Now I'm preparing to pursue my Master's, and I've just started the process of scouting for scholarships and grants. I'm also considering Animation Mentor just to enhance my skill set. I've always been a big fan of education!

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Just curious, but I take it that you haven't applied yet?

My tuition is being paid with student loans, 3 semesters worth of tuition reimbursement from my current job, and personal savings.

There's no such thing as "too much money" only what you can and can not afford. If the money's not there, you really, really need a Plan B. But I'm a big believer in going for what you want. Some suggestions that both my husband (also a Brit) and I did to make it through the high cost of eductation ...

Foundation courses and more basic level classes from a less expensive school. Research transferring credit - not sure if Calarts will do that.

Work/save to pay for one semester per year out of your own pocket. Think of it as training for paying off those student loans. It's also a reality check of what you can affford.

Go part time and work part time.

Take classes in the summer so it doesn't take FOREVER.

It sounds like you're going to need student loans, which means you need someone to co-sign for the loan. Do NOT screw your co-signers by flunking out, not working, and not paying what you owe.

Good luck.

Yep, Im also an advocate of going for what you want. It seems like a lot now but that is why there are student loans.
Also isn't the exchange rate from Pounds to Dollars better comming from England? I know when I was in London last summer the Dollar was worthless.....

Thanks guys,

I defo agree with you. I feel that ultimatley it's best to give it a shot and fail, rather than look back when your in your twilight years and think 'what if?', full of regret. Amd atleast this way, your goals and ambitions might actually happen!

bobertmon just to answer; yeah you're right, havn't applied yet. Currently building and working on my folio for the Jan 08 deadlines.

It's a blessing and a curse coming to america when i did. As one, it enables me to interact with the enviroment i'l be living in and prepare, and also it gives me easier access to the information here than trying from England. Of course the biggest benfit is that i can solely focus on my folio and get it right. The only problem is now i'm here, it is currently illegal for me to work, so all savings have stopped. Luckily, i have been able to amass atleast some capital when i worked in England during a year or so outta high school to prepare to achieve my goals.

Ontop of this, I've also been lucky enough to have the support of my folks on this, so they have graciously said we'll aid as much as we can. And, knowing them, they'd give me all of the fee if they could. But i'd really like to take as much burden off them as possible, as they have endeavours they want to achieve coming up to their twilight years. So they can help, but not for the whole 160.

So, i'm left with inter student loans (the ol' co-signer), the college's actual financial aid (which i'm trying to figure out in average figures, especially Calart's) and private grants outside of the college's package (which is very, very few and far between from what i've found).

So basically, trying to prepare for the cost that lies ahead; see what is there and see what i have to do. I really appreciate your responses here, and look forward to any other examples that you can give,


________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

Sorry - forgot to address this in my previous post;

3 semesters worth of tuition reimbursement from my current job

Does this mean your current employer has said we'll help fund your education, or has a package set up for employees? Also, just so i know, are you studying animation at college or another subject?

Thanks for your repsponse,


________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

I'm working on my masters in 3D animation.

Tuition reimbursement is part of my company's "benefits package".

They pay a certain amount of money per semester for any full time employee (40 hours/week) as long as the course of study relates to their job. It typically covered two classes per school year. You pay tuition upfront and they reimburse you. Also, you need to earn a B+ or higher for 100% reimbursement. 80% if it's below a B and they won't pay for a C or lower.

I used a student loan to pay up front, used the reimbursement to cover the next semester's credits and put in some of my own. If I fell short, I used loan money. It's taken a bit of juggling, but it's all worked out.

To confuse things just a little more, I used vacation time and PTO (paid time off) to cover the days I had class. When I ran out of that, I used "absence without pay". I ended up with a 30 hour work week which was >barely< enough time to put in enough class work.

My goal was to owe as little as possible when I finished.

When I finish I anticipate some freelance work (along with my current job) to cover some expenses.

I hope I'm painting a clear picture of what it will take for you to pay off your loans. Calculate your monthly expenses - you might end up owing $500+ per month just on student loans.

But don't be discouraged. My husband's brother, (also a Brit, of course) did his graduate work in the States as well as Law School. He's making good money now, but it was a stretch at the time. He went back to Britain for undergrad. Look at all your options, don't just go with a big name.

Your folks sound great!! Schools are also very cool with paying back tuition if you withdraw from class or drop out. Just do it early enough. You may not get all of it back, but you can get a lot. My Nephew had a few starts and stops with several schools losing some money, but not all.

Boy I'm rambling...

$1,000 - $4,000 per year seems about right, maybe up to $6,000. 1st years get the lower amount and 4th years get the higher amount. It is partially based on your scholarship review (quality of portfolio) but the amount of money you get seems to go up every year. And I seriously doubt that any 1st years get the bigger scholarships.

Some people probably say to you that Dreamworks or Disney fully sponsor people so that they'll work there upon graduating. That is not true. Those types of studios do give scholarships, but they're in the $4,000 range.

The majority of the financial aid package that people get are loans.

Now, that is my observation after 4 years of dealing with it. Maybe there were some people getting huge scholarships, but I'm not aware of any.

It seems like everyone just takes on the loans and then deals with the aftermath after you graduate. Some people get high paying jobs at union LA studios and can easily pay off the loans. It could be a big problem, though, if it doesn't work out. The set of skills that you get in the Character Animation program is so narrow that it is hard to even transition into a graphic design job or a web job. Those kinds of companies don't know what to do with a portfolio full of life drawings and pencil tests.

Maybe look into getting scholarships through corporations or organizations. I really don't think that there are many big ones based on art skills, though.

I'm also working on an MFA and using FAFSA loans and freelance work to pay for it. The interesting thing is: when I started my son was still in high school, so the only college expenses were mine, and I only qualified for an unsubsidized loan for a small portion of my tuition. This past fall my son started college, and while his expenses aren't that high (he's attending locally), all of a sudden I qualified for subsidized loans (highly preferable; they don't start accruing interest until you graduate), and the loan was enough to cover living expenses as well as tuition. Since I work full-time that was uneccesary, but the change was interesting.

I'm now teaching part-time at a local community college, and my adjunct salary goes to tuition. So I guess the college is indirectly paying for my MFA...

Thanks guys,

This advice is all very intersting and honest (which is a harder thing to find when asking the actual loan companeis etc).

It seems grants paying for the majority or even all of tuition in an animation education just don't seem to exsist. Which seems strange with the amount these colleges are asking for these days. But people must be coping else it wouldn't be so!

I have found some student loans that are offered to international students, but they come with a massive inerest. There is also of course the co-sign, which is a little more friendly. However, i literally have no contact's in the USA. No relatives live here or anything, so getting someone's trust to co-sign is gonna be a lil bit harder. I'm sure it'll work out if i put my mind to it tho.

Tis a shame, as when i set out i was hoping i could avoid these harsh inter student loans altogether (or to a minimal extent) via finding suitable grants etc. But the more i search, the more it seems i will have to look them in the eye and say 'it thats what i gotta do...'

Thanks again,

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

in ireland, college is freeeeeeeeeeeeee

sure, we mightent have the greatest colleges in the world, but im gonna be paying maybe a grand a year? probly much less

i was gonna apply to uni of dundee, scotland, but itd just end up costing too much

good luck tho

I graduated from the AAU in '99 and I'm still paying for my school. Go fighting blow fish!

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Wow! I thought 4000 pounds a year was a huge sum when I went to the film school. That was a while ago though.


Are most student loans on a 'pay when you are at a certain wage bracket' stipulation? i.e. you start paying off when you get to a certain wage level? Or do you have to pay it off straight away, whether you are getting an income or not?

They had this stipulation on the student loan system in england (the payback was in 'stasis' until you earned £15,000 yearly - bareing in mind most students there only have £3,000 loans for 3/4 years cussa the smaller tuition fees).

I doubt this stipulation (which is there to help students) exsists on international student loans, even if it does on American citizen loans anway - so i doubt it'll help me.

Basically, it's obviously a worry that you have a massive loan debt outta college, and then don't get good or no employment for a while; would you still have to be paying off the debt monthly then??

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

Speaking of foundation classes, is it a good idea to take correspondence courses from places like Famous Artist Schools or Joe Kubert as an alternative to taking foundation classes in bigger colleges?

Well, i'm looking at Calarts and they're being a lil bit strict about that. Apparently their course builds up like a sequential nature, so they don't let you do parts else where. I found out cus i was looking into using my general studies credits, and doing courses in a cheaper college first, and then doing like 3 years insteada 4 years (thus cutting costs) at Calarts. But all that would do they said, is free up lessons during the year, rather than cut the years down; thus not save any money at all - infact loose money on another college first! (this is for general studies, they didn't mention the other coruse in their correspondant).

So if you couldn't cope with the ammount of courses and had EVEN MORE money to blow, then that is an option at Calarts! lol

Not sure how and if transfering works there? I suppose not; based on this, but im not sure.

Other unis are different mind you...

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

I transfered into CalArts after 2 years at a community college. I had gotten a full scholarship to the community college, and was able to get all of my critical studies classes taken care of. I still went to Calarts for 4 years, though, because I wanted to take tons of classes. Also, the animation industry was in very bad shape at that time and I was in no hurry to graduate.

It would be possible to graduate in 3 years if you transfer.

I had checked with a lady at CalArts about exactly which classes I should take at the community college so that everything would transfer. (I did this just hoping I would get into CalArts after those 2 years.) CalArts has some weird requirements. If I had just taken the standard classes that most people take at a community college I would've only had half of the credits to satisfy CalArts' critical studies requirements. For example, they have a bunch of cultural studies requirements that are not standard at many small colleges.

I took 2 or 3 critical studies classes at CalArts and they were easier and much more interesting than the community college classes I took. I think most community colleges teach classes like the nightmare that most high school classes are: constant quizzes, oral presentations, group work, etc. The critical studies classes at CalArts are much nicer, where you just have to write a couple papers and they treat you like an adult.

As for the loans, I think you can negotiate to pay smaller amounts over more years until you get a high paying job. It seems like there might have been a period of a few months where I didn't have to pay anything right after graduating. I'm sort of foggy about this stuff because my parents sort it out for me and I just sign the papers.

Thanks Arna Anderson, thats very Interesting, as i had given up on that approach after what i had been told by the lady at Calarts. Seems once again i was misimformed!

I'm a little confused tho, could you have graduated Calarts after only two years there (afer transferring), but chose to stay on for the 4, or did you have to do the whole 4 years?

Just outta curiosity too, did you transfer to the character ani program or another one?


________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

I chose to stay for 4 years. (I was having too much fun to leave early, and the industry was in shambles anyway. So I went to school for 6 years to get a BFA.) But it is possible to graduate after 3 years at CalArts if you transfer in. (So that would be a total of 5 years to get the BFA.)

This doesn't make much sense unless you have already completed a bunch of college classes. In my case I had gotten a full scholarship to a community college, so it didn't hurt me financially. I used that time to get better at drawing so that I could actually get into CalArts.

I think what you do is ask for a year level review at the start of your third year. You will have to show the faculty that your portfolio is good enough for you to graduate early.

I would be sure to check this out with the school, though. Maybe their policy has changed over the last few years. Try to talk to someone right in the Character Animation department. It seems like the rest of the school is clueless about what goes on there.

I was in Character Animation.

It was very hard at first. My

It was very hard at first. My family doesn't have much money to pay for my education. I began to help my classmates write essays. I recently wrote essays on clinical psychology, I am using for a qualitative example. So I began to pay for the university myself, my parents now do not help me.