For a brief moment, I was trying to get into university starting on March 6th. In hindsight, that really wasn’t a very smart consideration and I’m glad I came to my senses. IF I had managed to get everything in line and start classes this term, I would have been screwing myself over a couple different ways. I just like to document when common sense prevails over immediate rewards.
My admissions advisor mentioned a term starting in a little over a week, and all I could think of was how this could immediately pay off. I could start classes 8 whole weeks earlier and be done 8 weeks earlier, meaning I would probably be in the workforce doing this kind of work within a year, maybe as an intern or something. That idea had me rushing around, trying to find tax information and transcripts trying to find all this stuff in time to start classes.
I had almost everything lined up; I was just lacking our tax returns from 2015, because starting this soon would mean I would use 2015’s tax information to apply for a Pell grant for this spring term. I was rushing around, certain it must be in the house somewhere and I remembered my wife had done them online so she probably had the forms I needed on her computer or somewhere hidden in cyberspace, password protected. I texted her and found out that yes, she did have them. She could print them out and bring them home with her after work.
Enter the moment of reasoning: I realized that if I started on Monday, I would be using 2016’s financial aid. For a traditional school with two or three semesters that isn’t too bad. For someone attending an online school, where they don’t have semesters and instead use “terms,” that means my full Pell grant amount, $5,800ish of more or less free money for school, would be split up for 6 terms, around $800-$900 per term.
If you’re following me, I would be utilizing my entire $5,800ish for one term, in which case I would only get $800-$900, but use the entire year’s worth of Pell grant because they give you a set amount per year, not per term or semester.
Once I put all that together, of course, I decided to just wait until May when I’ll get a full year’s Pell. Not only that, but being who I am I am certain there are grants and scholarships available for people in my position (assuming I am unique in any way is impractical). With a little over two months until the next term starts, I can take this time to put my head together with the admissions counselor’s, and we can surely come up with ways to take out less in loans.