I considered myself fortunate that I found Concordia University Irvine (CUI), a university that offered online advanced education at a reasonable cost. However, my reality was that even a reasonable cost was seemingly out of reach for me, given my family financial obligations. I was certain that on paper, my annual income would preclude any kind of financial support. Nevertheless, I started the process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Making the choice to complete the FAFSA is a timely decision, as deadline dates are closely followed by federal timelines. I would strongly recommend that you look up these dates when you first decide to advance your education.
Much to my surprise, I was eligible for some financial aid that even included consideration for educational supplies and housing support. To prevent the back-and-forth shuffle, know that you must first complete the FAFSA, delegate the university or universities of your choosing to receive the information, then connect with your university to find what financial support is available to you. Even if you’re not sure that you will enroll in the fall, include the university to avoid delays should you decide to matriculate.
Once I was accepted to Concordia Irvine and my financial data became available, Concordia Irvine contacted me with a financial aid offer. They gave me the opportunity to accept the financial offer or accept less than the offered amount.
While there was a temptation to accept considerably more than what I felt I needed, I reminded myself that whatever I borrowed to pay for my tuition and expenses would have to be repaid. Choosing less than what the FAFSA qualified me for still allowed me to cover my tuition and educational expenses for the year.
If you are fortunate enough to pay for your tuition and educational expenses from your own personal budget, know that Concordia Irvine offers an excellent program for a reasonable fee. However, if that fee still incurs a cost beyond your current budget, don’t be afraid to apply for financial aid. You might be surprised what is available to you, making your educational dream a reality.