Jar of coins with graduation cap next to stack of books and calculator.

How I Paid for My Graduate Degree at Gardner-Webb University

The number one concern working adults seem to have when contemplating becoming a student is how they will manage the cost of going back to school. In addition to living expenses such as mortgages and car payments, often potential students are juggling the expense of children, personal hobbies, and vacations. I remember the relief the ease of the admissions process offered, but because I never needed financial aid during my first two degree programs, I had not even considered how I was going to pay for school. Luckily, Gardner-Webb University was very helpful, assisting me in every capacity of the financial aid process.

Upon my acceptance, I followed all the precepts expected of a new student. With great excitement, I clicked through Blackboard, took the quiz, and evaluated the difficulty of my first course. However, another crucial requirement was viewing and analyzing the financial aid tab to investigate what I owed and how much I had paid. Looking at all of those figures was overwhelming, and being unfamiliar with how to pay for school, I immediately called Gardner-Webb’s financial aid office. They kindly instructed me to fill out my FAFSA form online and to call them back with any questions.

I called them after I completed the FAFSA form, discovering that my financial aid took care of the entire cost of school. The financial counselors walked me through how I would pay for each semester. I released all of the funds FAFSA gave me to Gardner-Webb, so that I could pay for the spring semester. From there, whatever refund I had, I gave back to the school to put toward my next semester’s tuition. Spring, summer, and fall went smoothly without a hitch.

However, I reached a small hiccup due to my lack of knowledge. In the financial aid world, a new year means a new application. I failed to reapply for financial aid, thinking that much like admission, you only fill out the application once. Despite this naïve mistake, Gardner-Webb was extremely patient and efficient with my case. I filled out the application and called them as soon as I clicked submit. From there, they ensured that I did not lose any classes and that everything went through on time. I was so grateful for their gracious efforts. This experience only emboldened my appreciation for the university and their standards.

While financial situations differ among the students attending Gardner-Webb’s programs, the constant is Gardner-Webb’s professionalism and compassion. Comparing the value of the education they offer and its long-term possibilities with the cost of the program proves the worth of the endeavor. Gardner-Webb alleviates the anxiety and dread associated with paying for school by conveying the necessity of timely payment from a gentle perspective, emphasizing the importance of your education and not the need to achieve their bottom line. Some might say that we are paying for this type of service, but there are some things that money just can’t buy.