Two weeks before now, I really started to look into college and applying for them to start on an associate’s degree for early childhood education, as I would like to be an elementary school teacher. I’ve always had a knack for teaching, and my dad even says that it’s in my blood, given the amount of teachers in our family.
Anyways, one college really got me excited. I’m not going to name names, since this might be one incident and my own personal feelings, and so, it shouldn’t reflect the school as a whole.
It is an online university with a ton of campuses that are easily accessible from where I live if traffic isn’t insane, so that is a plus. Their courses seem really good as well, and their online program looks really detailed and flexible, which is what I need.
It was great speaking to the people there and learning more about the school, though here is little buzzing siren number one: the counselor that has been “assigned” to me speaks really fast, and it’s hard for me to get a word in since she rarely pauses, even when she asks me a question and I need some time to think of the answer.
I was excited to take their admission test and get their application done, which I was able to do for free thanks to great timing of a free application period. I passed with flying colors, which was great news as well, leaving me confident about any other test I might take to see if I could get into another college, if I chose a different one.
However, somewhere in between doing the application, applying for FAFSA, and speaking to the financial aid, my associate degree was switched for a bachelor’s degree, something I don’t need (yet), resulting in a huge bombshell just before I completed everything and picked out my classes: a tuition of $67,000.
I was not prepared for that—the way that the fiancial aid spoke to me, it sounded like it would be about $15,000 for my degree (for tuition alone, but that is not too horrible compared to $67,000, which might have caused most of the shock). I have since then taken the weekend off to process all of this, and figure out some stuff out before I signed and finalized anything that would cost me to get out of.
Today, I called their financial aid and got the following questions answered:
1. Is the $67,000 the total cost for the whole degree no matter how long it takes me to complete it?
2. Is there any way for me to decrease the monthly payment even if it will take me longer to pay off?
No; this would only be if I had financial aid. I am responsible for my monthly payments and cannot have any outstanding dues.
3. Do you offer an associate’s degree in early child education?
4. If you do, is it too late to switch to that from a bachelor’s?
Yes; talk to admissions to have it switched.
5. How much would an associate’s degree of the same subject cost?
$33,390.00 / $371.00 per credit / 90 credits
6. How long would this degree take to complete?
a. by doing 5 credits a month
b. by doing 10 credits a month
7. What would the total tuition cost for the associate’s degree?
8. What would the monthly payment for that be?
$5,900 a year in tuition
$983 a month if I did one class/five credits a month
$1905 a month if I did two classes/ten credits in a month
They divide up their school year into about seven months/terms and usually waive the first month in their program to see if the school fits, thus dividing up the tuition and fees, etc. by six. In the above figures, books and the technology fee are included.
9. Can you get a scholarship after you start paying your tuition?
Depends on the scholarship—they disclose all of that information on their papers, so it should be answered when you apply, but typically, if you are awarded a scholarship, you are allowed to use it right away, unless it has to be within a certain time frame or something, once again, disclosed by the ones giving it.
10. Or reapply for ones while you are in classes? Same with grants?
You can reapply for grants and scholarships, pending on how it works. Sometimes you can reapply, other times you can’t.
11. If you can get a scholarship and it overpays, will you be reimbursed?
The student is asked how they would like remaining funds to be given: either directly to themselves, to future costs, put on hold for a later use, or given back to those who funded the scholarship or grant.
I guess that overall, I am feeling iffy about this school.
I don’t doubt that it is a good school and that it has helped a lot of people get their educations. But… it almost feels like they nearly trapped me in something financially out of my reach, even with grants or scholarships (that I might or might not get). I know that I said I wanted an associate’s degree, so how did it turn into a bachelor’s? I feel really stupid for not noticing this sooner and getting it fixed earlier in this whole process.
I don’t want to get a loan under any circumstances, and that is what I would have to do if I got a bachelor’s. The lower tuition of an associate’s degree would be a lot easier for me to manage and pay for, as I have a lot of money saved up, and from the looks of it, the scholarships that they recommended to me are based on financial need, and given that no one else in the world (such as my parents) are going to be helping me pay for anything, there is a high chance that I could get them, which would be really nice.
Sorry for rambling, I'll try to wrap this up.
Should I go for this college? Do you guys think my apprehension towards going to this school is because of the tuition bombshell I was given almost too late because the financial aid didn't explain it to me clearly before I got further into the process?
What do you guys think happened with the associate degree suddenly being changed to a bachelor’s degree?
Or should I wait a bit more and give this some more thought, and look into other online schools that might be cheaper?
One thing that was suggested to me was to save up money for another year to close that gap between what I have and what I need to pay for tuition without the assistance of grants or scholarships? I will certainly look more into that, and see what I could get.
Well, thanks for taking the time to read this novel. Any advice would be loved!