I am an off-campus independent student going in as a freshman. My efc is $0. I was just offered an award package but I am confused and not sure how much in loans to accept. My first confusion is there was nothing on there from the state - does that mean I can expect not to get any or does the first offer include only federal grants and loans? Second, I applied to the school for scholarships and have heard nothing back on that and it's not included. Again - is that something tacked on to fill my "gap" later? Should I expect to hear back one way or another on that application?
I was offered the full pell grant plus $3500 subsidized Stafford loan and $6000 unsubsidized. Tuition is $9900. Their total with living expenses, books, personal, transportation they total to $27694. I need to commute and will be spending at least $2000 for transportation. That leaves a $12549 "gap", if I assumed all the other expenses would be as high as they say.
I hope scholarships/state contribution can help with this gap, and that I can spend less than they estimate to help get it down further. But I don't know if the fact these are not included in the package means I was not and will not be approved for these?
A lot of people are out of work and can't rely on getting jobs that fit their education when they get out so I would be very nervous about accepting the full loan - especially the unsubsidized. But even if I took it all, there's still a huge gap to whittle down. No I do not have any "cash on hand".
Is this much of a gap typical? Do initial awards typically include state offers and scholarships? How much college debt is manageable in this economy? How low can I get my book expenses down by getting them a way other than new from their bookstore?