Deciding to pursue a master’s degree is a big financial decision; however, it is an attainable goal as there are many ways to fund a degree. When deciding to begin my master’s program from OAESA with Concordia University Chicago, I needed to consider paying for my degree.
My husband is also an educator, and we have two children who are involved in many extracurricular activities with their own aspirations for attending college in the near future. I knew that I had to make wise financial decisions for my family to earn my degree without making drastic changes to my finances. I also needed to be sure that I was prepared for the future, so I explored the options of private and federal loans, paying out of pocket, and creating a budget.
I knew that I would need financial assistance, but I did not want to be in a position where I had put a financial strain on my family by borrowing more than I could afford. My first step was creating a budget. When I began applying for my master’s degree at OAESA, my husband was in the process of completing his master’s degree, so I knew that we would soon be paying his loan back. It was important to me that we would make his loan payments while being prepared to pay for my tuition on top of all of our typical household expenses.
We already had a budget set from when my husband began his degree, so for me, it was just a matter of making small changes. When revising my budget, I first reviewed my monthly income and expenses and ensured I had emergency savings that I continued to contribute to. I continually monitored my budget monthly throughout my program to ensure that I remained on track.
Paying Out of Pocket
Once the budget was complete, I was able to identify what I could pay for out of pocket each term. Paying for some of my expenses as I went helped me take out a lower amount in loans. One thing that worked for me was to pay for my books each term; this was a feasible expense for my family that I knew we could pay without any strain. I was able to shop around for the best book price, and in some cases, I was able to reuse a book for a couple of courses and even borrowed books from colleagues.
Private and Federal Loans
Knowing that I needed financial assistance, I explored private and federal loans. While there were a couple of private loans through my bank and credit card company, they were not the best option for my family and me. The federal loan ended up being the best option for me and made paying for my tuition so much easier. The application process was simple, and having the money sent directly to OAESA made tuition payments a breeze. I never had to worry about making tuition payments on time because they were all kept in my account and automatically withdrawn payments.
The transition from borrowing to paying was also quite simple. I received notifications on the process, and everything remained electronic, which is something I prefer. I was able to secure a low-interest rate, with repayment options that provided me with a chance to pick what would work best for my budget and long-term financial goals.
With a little bit of planning, pursuing a degree through OAESA with Concordia University Chicago is financially attainable. The tuition is affordable, and there are several ways to easily make financial decisions that are best for you. I chose to make a budget, pay for some expenses out of pocket, and secure a federal student loan. While these options worked best for me, there are other ways in which you may be able to help finance your degree. One thing I know for sure is that choosing to earn my master’s degree from OAESA with Concordia University Chicago was the best professional decision I made.