Pay We Must

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

-Mark Twain

Tuition is a small expense on the path to greatness.

The tuition bill arrived yesterday, which is always a “Gulp!” moment around here.  Having just finished paying for my daughter’s undergrad education, I never really allowed myself any breathing time before it was time to pay for my own education.  My daughter and I are both attending grad school this year – different places and degrees – and we have both been blessed with some scholarship help, for which we are enormously thankful, but that falls short of what we both actually need.

I am not here so much to share my money woes, the high cost of gasoline, food, and education…We all have these concerns.  What I would like to do is share some of my solutions and hopefully ease the stress of that tuition bill sticker shock.  Don’t let money stand in the way of your dreams!

What to do…

  • Scholarships – If you haven’t read it yet, check out How to Pay for your Degree in Library and Information Studies, by Gail Ann Schlachter and R. David Weber.  It is not that I want to invite competition, and to be honest, who knows if I will receive anything, but we should all try! Free money for school, conferences, research endeavors…
  • Infamous loans – Nobody likes debt, but I am amazed at how easy it was for my daughter to get the loans she needed to fill in the difference between her scholarship and final costs of attending grad school.  If you qualify for need-based aid, it is worth filling out the FAFSA to see what you might get.  Unfortunately, federal grants seem to be available only to undergrads, but borrowing money is still better than stopping your education, in my opinion.  You WILL get a job to pay it back! (Sorry, Forbes…just not buying your article – see Katie’s post.)
  • Awesome interest-free payment plans!!! My personal favorite!  We used this for my daughter’s tuition, and I was pleased to see that Simmons also offers one through Sallie Mae Tuition Pay (see that yellow insert in your tuition bill).  These small-fee, interest free plans allow you to spread out the cost, rather than needing one huge lump sum on August 15.  I found this to be a painless way to pay and gave me time to earn any money I was short. Look at the deadlines and take advantage of it!
  • Win the lottery…get an inheritance… Nope, none of these have happened to me either.
  • Volunteer at your local library! What?  How does volunteering help my tuition?  One, it looks great on the resume (thinks scholarships) and two, it just might lead to a job.  My volunteering experience led to a great part-time job at my local library that is good experience with a short commute, and it helps to pay for school and books.
  • Keep your education high on the priority list! As the Mom here, I will tell you it is tempting to put myself at the bottom of the list, when calculating justifiable expenses.  In this tough economy, our kids always come first, and even the dog’s vet costs take priority over that new pair of shoes or even a latte, but we have to keep our education goals high on the list.  That might mean the extra effort of re-selling textbooks on Amazon or filling out long scholarship applications, but it will be worth it.  Believe!


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