On a whim, I decided to apply for financial aid for library school recently and see what happened. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose by checking out the options presented. Well, I got my “award notification letter” from NCCU the other day, and my options weren’t too surprising, but the total amount was! The letter says I have the option of three student loans: Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, and Federal Direct Grad PLUS. Grand total I could borrow for the coming school year? $26,240!
It’s been interesting to think about this possibility, for all sorts of reasons. It makes me appreciate what people who quit work for graduate school have to live off of during school. In some ways, it would be nice to have the freedom to be able to concentrate only on school again. The reality is that I’ve never considered leaving my job to go to school full-time. I enjoy my work and colleagues, and I’m hopeful that my on-the-job training will enhance my library school courses, and vice versa.
So, I’m going to decline the student loans and take advantage of my work’s awesome tuition reimbursement program. (No brainer, right?!) The only catch is that I have to pay for the course(s) up front, make a certain grade and submit the grade(s) before I’m reimbursed (after the next semester’s classes must be paid for). Eventually, the see-saw of payment and reimbursement will jive, though, and it’ll all work out well. I know I’m fortunate to be able to take advantage of this great benefit at work!