I recently read an article in USAA magazine about a reservist who applied for and successfully enrolled at Harvard. Although she was excited, she was also understandably concerned about the debt she would incur and the years she would be out of the workforce. I was inspired by the steps she took to make it work for her financially and wanted to share a few of them with you…
- Look into on campus employment: When I attended UIC about 10 years ago, I was able to get an on campus job which paid me a small stipend, but also waived the majority of my tuition! So most of the student debt I incurred was for living expenses only. I worked every semester for 2 years. In this article, the reservist Bethany applied to be an RA (A resident advisor.) They received full room and half board in exchange for organizing events and enforcing housing policies.
- Investigate thoroughly what loans are available to you: At Vanderbilt for undergraduate, I assumed there would be no assistance for me in the form of a low cost loan. But when I visited the financial aid office, they helped me wade through the different loans I could apply for and I was able to secure one with a very low interest rate with their help. Bethany learned that Harvard gave out 2-4 education merit scholarships which she applied for and won. Do your homework with loans and scholarships, there are usually more out there than you realize.
- Find ways to reduce your spending and earn extra cash: Bethany contacted professors to find out if they were hiring research assistants as a way for her to earn extra cash. She determined that she could schedule Reserve training during holidays to earn extra money. Along the way, she found ways to give up some of the smaller things she was used to on a full time income in order to make her way through school.
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P.S. I’m excited to be doing 2 career intensives starting in February for Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. Here’s the information if you’re alumni – Vanderbilt: http://tinyurl.com/9wgctls or Georgia Tech: http://gtalumni.org/pages/careercoaching