Paying for college yourself

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Many of us here at Radford University are on, as my dad would call it, a “cake walk.”

We have no sense of what it actually would cost to financially support ourselves. Are we even thinking about those issues at this point?

The thought has crossed my mind, but is immediately shut out by the overwhelming assignments and to-do lists going on simultaneously in my head.

Many of us just ask mom and dad to transfer funds into our account when we go under the level of comfort in our bank accounts with whatever excuses we can come up with to avoid just flat out saying, “I need money. Help me, I’m poor.”

So many of us are somewhat or completely dependent on our parents.

Allie Gilmore, a junior from Sterling, VA, might have 99 financial problems, but depending on her parents for anything is a burden she does not have to bear.

She does not have to listen to her parents harp about her grades or ask how she is doing in school, unlike the “cake walkers” who probably experience a mini heart attack when the caller ID says “mom,” because you know she is going to ask about that midterm you just had.

Of course, they still care about how she is doing, they are parents, but she has no real obligation to check in with them on the subject. This she feels is the best part about being financially independent and it has given her a sense of budgeting.

“Every summer since childhood my parents would pay for me and my siblings to go to Ireland because that was very important to them.” Gilmore said.

Her mom moved here from Ireland when she was 26. She attributes the fact that her parents don’t pay for her college to the trips every summer and the fact that she has two other siblings.

Therefore, Allie is completely financially independent and does not seem to mind, seeing as she already knows how to support herself.

Aside from taking 19 credits, she works for the Alumni Relations Outreach in Heth Hall and occasionally picks up shifts at Red Robin, which is hard to do without a car but Gilmore has learned to utilize her free resources.

The hardest part about paying for college, she said, is managing your money, paying for rent and just being aware of her financial situation at all times.

Also knowing that two large sums of money come out of her account every month automatically keeps her in check.

“My mom gives me $300 a month for groceries and just extra spending which helps a lot and I am very appreciative, but it isn’t enough without working,” she said.

At the start of every semester Allie likes to have a minimum of $2,000 in her account in order to feel financially stable. Her parents will help her out at desperate times every now and again but she will only accept it if her parents are giving it to her.

They also cover anything medical related and she is clearly on her parent’s health care plan, but books or any school related items are off the list.

“I hate asking for money when I don’t have the money to pay back the debt,” Gilmore said.

So when she got a speeding ticket last summer, she did not have the money to pay the fines so she asked her dad to lend her the money. He covered the payments but her dad writes down every little amount that she will need to pay him back.

Which, is added stress on top of all the payments she already has to make.

Sometimes she reminds herself that school is why she is here and that it is most important, but for the most part she has it under control.