For those who are new readers, I will just give a quick history. I am a part-time work-at-home insurance nurse and I am in grad school to earn my masters in nursing education. We had planned on using tuition reimbursement to cover much of my degree, but when I was forced to leave my full-time position to manage our children’s needs, we had to make a decision: do I hold off grad school, take out loans, or figure out how to pay cash?
We had just paid off my loans from degree #2 and we did not want to take out more loans. This graduate degree is #4, and we cash flowed and used tuition reimbursement for #3 while paying off the last of the loans for #2. Yes, it was a little crazy. We knew it would be tight if we opted to try paying cash, but we thought we could do it. That means we have to pay between $2800-3900 every three months between August 2015 and January 2017.
It’s the end of March and we have nearly $4000 in tuition due by the second week in April. Where do we stand?
Even though we just paid $1400 in car repairs on our 2008 Ford Escape, I am happy to say we are ready to make our next tuition payment. We had saved a little extra in our emergency funds, so paying a month’s worth of tuition savings for our car did not knock us down. It is making us debate about whether we will be building a play set for the kids this month though. Right now, that’s on the backburner.
I have been working more this month and have six shifts lined up for next month, so I’m confident I won’t need money from my husband to cover the expenses I usually cover. I have As in both my classes, and think I will be able to maintain them, so my GPA, which is 3.66, should rise a bit and make me more attractive for scholarships.
This week, I applied for three more scholarships. In total, I have applied for four, though I admit I have not been working on this as much as I should. I was able to complete a few essays and get recommendations from my work and from one of my professors. My goal now is to apply for 30 or more scholarships. Graduate scholarships are fewer and far between, and I’m not sure how much it is reasonable to expect with excellent grades and recommendations. I am setting the bar low, and if I can get $10,000 in scholarship aid, that would be fantastic. Anything above that is icing on the cake. Luckily, several of the scholarships I am applying for are awarded quarterly, so I can keep reapplying.
This time next year I will be turning in my last projects and applying for graduation. I can’t wait to get out there and get a teaching job!
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