Well, I did get good news...apparently you only need 6 hours of class time to keep your full loan and I have 7, so I'm good on that front. When I checked my financial aid info on my school's website, it was divided into two sections, subsidized and unsubsidized. The subsidized amount was lower than the other and both had "accept" or "decline" beside them, but the catch was it for both Fall and Spring semester together (I couldn't pick for each semester). Needless to say, since this is my first time EVER with student loans, I was thoroughly confused. I kept calling the financial aid office, but they were absolutely NO help.
Finally though, a co-worker who has been going to school forever explained it to me. Subsidized loans are loans that the government pays the interest on until you graduate and have to start paying the loan back whereas unsubsidized are loans that start accruing interest the moment you start classes. I could have accepted both, but since the subsidized (the good loan) covered by Fall term for two classes, I went ahead and just accepted it and declined the other. But it also means that I have to keep my Spring term down to 7 hours and I will have no money left for Summer unless I pay for it out of pocket (which I could do by cashing in a week's vacation, which I often have to do anyway to keep from losing it). I didn't like making that decision right now because I just don't know how the Spring will go until I start Fall.
Part of me wanted to accept both loans and take the other extra money and either use it buy a new iPad and telescope or use it to pay off credit cards (because the interest rate would still be lower), but I did the "smart" thing (probably for the first time ever) and just took what I needed. That way, if I needed more for Spring, I would be OK, but now I'm kind of out of SOL. I still may have to pay a bit out of pocket for books even this fall, but July is a three-check month, so I still have a chance to save up some more money before classes and the same goes for December for Spring. But I usually use that money to pay down on my credit cards (and/or get my Amazon wishlist shortened). Oh well, the price of higher education I guess.
What a pain this whole mess has been!
But, as a side note, Phil Plait, aka the Bad Astronomer, aka, one of the reasons why I want to go back to school in the first place, is speaking at Rhodes College in Memphis and I'm going to go...by myself! Yep, you read that right...by myself!! I may end up driving all the way to Memphis and sitting in the parking lot for two hours, but I do plan on going! I want to go bad enough I don't care enough that I have to go by myself. It's not like I have any friends or family that would go with me anyway, so there you go. I'll let you guys know how it goes! If you guys have never heard of the Crash Course series on YouTube, Phil Plait did the Crash Course Astronomy...check it out if you want to:
It's a bit outdated now (as is most Astronomy info after a year or two), but they plan on updating it soon, so there you go.
And for those that don't know, there are Crash Courses for EVERYTHING! You name a topic, and there is a CC for it. I've been through a few of them, but my goal is to do them all. I didn't like the Physics lady much...I think it's because she talked too fast or something. But anyway, have fun! It's a good way to learn something cool in a short amount of time.