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Columns Votes - December 2006

How did you pay for your college education?

Comments on Finances and the Student Experience

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After taking a year off I enrolled in the U of W and used the money I’d saved over the prior year to pay for my tuition. However, that also was quickly eaten up and I had to find full-time work to keep pace with my costs. While it did force me to be very efficient in my study habits I also felt that my time in the classroom suffered, as I was always tired and pressed for time to run from class to work. I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only one in this situation. My girlfriend worked three jobs to cover costs.

Because of my experience in working and going to school I made sure that I had the funds necessary to go full-time to school when I went to grad school. I just hope that the thought of working full-time and going to school full-time don’t pose too daunting a task for some excellent scholars out there.

I graduated in 1962. Costs were not as high as they are now. Between what I earned in the summer, and what my parents provided yearly, I was able to graduate without any long-term bills. I was blessed.

My parents paid for my undergraduate education (actually at Penn State), but I paid for my graduate student education (at UW of course) by working as a teaching assistant in the geography department.

I ended up living at home—not a good way to experience college.

My parents paid for the first 3 years. I had a full academic scholarship my senior year. In graduate school I worked as a RA, TA, grader and had a fellowship for one year. Undergrad I lived with my parents. In grad school, I lived off campus.

Didn’t depend on any one source of funds but working both in the summer (full-time) and during school (two hours max a day) forced me to schedule my time better and to appreciate the costs of my education more.

Best part of working part-time for U of W wasn’t the money, it was getting to select classes ahead of the pack so that I didn’t have conflicts with the job. Never had a problem getting into the classes I wanted but a lot of my fellow students did!

I didn’t start college until I had been out of high school for six years. My family couldn’t afford it and needed help from my paychecks. I saved money and worked part-time while in school. I received a scholarship for my junior year. I finished school in four years.

I got some scholarships, paid for some and my folks paid for some. I lived at home to cut costs and think I missed out on some college experience. But I also graduated debt free.

I had to work around 30 hours a week to make my bills. I took out student loans to pay for the education portion. I did the same for grad school. Every time I went to the financial aid office it was not made clear that I had other options outside of student loans. During my educational career, working so much made it difficult to do as well as I could have in school. And now that I am finished with school I am killing myself to pay back the student loans. I am happy I got my education, but I feel like I am still at a loss financially. I have great credit, but I can barely afford to buy food even though I make a decent amount. There needs to be more financial aid outside of loans. And I think there needs to be a program to help those who have already graduated pay back the loans they were forced to take out.

Work study a very good system for earning experience and paying for college as well. Systems do not work well for younger parents in college. The cost of childcare is so high that you end up taking out significant loans to cover childcare - my experience.

I received the GI Bill and worked an average of 35 hrs a week.

I transferred to UW from a private, four-year college as a junior after 1977–78. Over the next couple of years I took a couple of quarters off here and there to earn money (installing roofs on new apartment buildings east of Lake Washington for crappy pay under abominable conditions). In general, I do not consider myself a stop out because I went to summer school in 1978, 1979, and 1980. I eventually graduated in Dec. 1981 with *way* too many credits (including graduate work) after a total elapsed undergrad career of 4.5 years. I was able to declare state residency fairly easily, and so tuition was inexpensive. It was very important to me to be independent and pay for (invest in!) my own education, even though my parents probably could have covered everything. They helped me out a little bit, but they were pretty impressed with the University and how I made my own way. I know they were also a little bit grateful, too, because I grew up a lot in the process (and besides, my two siblings both got precious East Coast private degrees, which were god-awful expensive, even 20 years ago). If I had to do it over again, I would absolutely do it the same way—I was pretty responsible and wanted to work hard at whatever I did—and I would do it at UW. The education was great, Don Grayson is *still* god-like, and I turned out fine (Ph.D. and gainful employment in the State Univ. of New York system). And I give to the UW annual fund, too.

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