You may have the grit, you may have the patience, and you may be focused on everything you need to earn or finish that degree, but can you afford it?

You may have the grit, you may have the patience, and you may be focused on everything you need to earn or finish that degree, but can you afford it? Facing the realities of paying for an education is an obstacle for many. However, it can also provide that extra realization of the importance of what you are doing. Often times, facing the realities and pain we currently experience leads us to focus on positive outcomes.

Many Christians find comfort and solace in these words from Jesus:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 10:33

We are all experiencing pain and difficulty in our world, yet when we keep the big picture in mind – the ultimate outcome is the promise of eternal life – our actions and perspectives gain more commitment and focus.

The steps that must be taken to complete and earn an accelerated degree as an adult are certainly difficult – including the financial commitment – but, take heart! When you plan, budget, and sacrifice, the ultimate goal of earning your degree becomes even more significant. Certainly, there will be pain and sacrifice in meeting financial obligations, but there a few things that can be done – painlessly. As my mother always told me when I hesitated to do something, “It never hurts to try!” So it is with a few of these reminders. It never hurts to:

APPLY – CUW Director of Financial Aid, Kevin Sheridan, reminds ALL students to complete the FAFSA application each year. “Every US citizen starts with financial aid eligibility. Only when they use it all, would they not have it.” In many cases the form of aid will be in federal loans, but depending on income and family circumstances, Pell Grants may be available. It never hurts to apply (visit with CUW’s school code 003842 to apply). As Sheridan suggests, “Do it as soon as you can!” In addition, when you have reached your limit of federal loans, private loans from lending services are available (see Fast Choice) and outside scholarships may be available with some searching at CUW’s Scholarship Search Tool.

ASK – Many employers have structured plans for assisting employees with the cost of college classes through an employee benefit called Tuition Reimbursement. Some have even established partnerships with Concordia to provide reimbursement or scholarships (check CUW Community Partnerships to learn if your company participates). Even if you haven’t heard of such, it never hurts to ask. Asking might even encourage some employers to provide the benefit. In addition, CUW offers Uncommon Scholarships to CUW alumni seeking advanced degrees, employees of academic partners, qualified Christian schools and churches, as well as veterans and their spouse or dependents. Not everyone qualifies and not every employer helps. It never hurts to ask!

It never hurts to ask!

BUDGET – As with any major life purchase, budgeting for the cost of tuition is essential. It never hurts to take some time to review finances, determine priorities, and project payments. A terrific tool to help get a grasp of finances and future finances is provided at GradReady. CUW Student Success Advisor Mary Phillips cautions, “Many students accept too much of their available, awarded Federal loans when they begin their adult accelerated program and fail to consider their needs throughout the completion of a degree. For many, it is better to space those loans out and budget tuition payments along the way.” Again, it never hurts to plan.

REMEMBER – It also never hurts to take time to focus and remember the motivation required to complete a degree as an adult learner. Consider again the value of completing a college degree and especially a degree from a private institution like Concordia. As outlined in CUW Non-Traditional Financial Aid, unemployment rates decrease significantly with each level of degree attained, while the median weekly earnings improve significantly with the level of education. That doesn’t hurt at all, does it? Furthermore, students at private universities, on average, have higher GPA, retention and graduation rates than students at public universities. It never hurts to remember why you want and need that degree!

As you consider the path of the adult learner, contact CUW’s Adult Accelerated Admissions for assistance and guidance in achieving your individual goals as an adult learner.

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