Obtaining an advanced degree has been a goal of mine since I was in high school. There have been a few twists and turns along the way, trying to figure out what I want to spend my life energy doing.
I started out thinking I would get a PhD in anthropology or archaeology, but felt more pulled to a life of service. After my bachelors in anthropology, the winding road lead me to nursing. I got my diploma in nursing (most diploma programs have been transformed into associates programs now), and then my bachelors.
I was accepted into a masters in nursing education program around the same time we recognized having one parent at home most of the time was the better choice for our family, at least over the next few years. That decision meant, however, that I would no longer receive the $5K/year in tuition reimbursement as a full time employee anymore.
While my “as needed” position is allowing me to pay for the things my salary covered when I was full time, thanks to the massive decrease in child care bills, we now have to pay for 100% of my tuition. We are not fans of debt, and only owe on our mortgage. We are not interested in taking on student loans, especially after paying off mine this past year.
We decided we would tighten the belt and make it work. Our first payment of $2400 was due in July, and we paid cash. The number of credit hours increases for my next 2 classes, so we will have to pay $3300 by mid-October.
The good news is that we have already met that goal, and are working on the next payment, which will be due in January.
The bad news is that we will be paying about $3300 every three months through January of 2017 to fully fund my degree. This is not chump change.
Now, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. I have set a goal of trying to get scholarship money to, at minimum, cover what my work would have covered as tuition reimbursement. I have an excellent resume that includes a publication history, a GPA of over 3.5 for my undergrad degrees, and, well, no grades yet for my first classes, but I am halfway through the semester and I have As in both classes. I also write a mean essay.
My plan is to start applying to every graduate scholarship I can find whose qualifications I meet. I sent off one application last week, and am researching regularly. It would be awesome if I could cover 100% of my tuition through scholarship money, but we shall see. I will certainly try!
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