This week was a rough one for me. As many of you know, I’ve been taking classes towards getting my master’s degree in web design. I took two classes last semester, and was getting ready to start my third this semester.
I was registered, already ordered my books and class was going to start on Tuesday night for me.
Last week I had received an email from the university letting me know my financial aid was going to be dispersed into my account during the second week of classes, after the drop/add period was over.
While reading this e-mail, I clicked on the link to double-check my financial aid amounts were correct for the 20th time (I was a bit neurotic about it). I was clicking around the page and got to the “fine print” area, which I had not seen before.
You would think I would have learned to read the fine print from my student loan fiasco.
Anyways, I am going through everything and I see a part that says “this grant only applies to student who are enrolled at least halftime.”
I was only enrolled for one class. I could’t afford two classes. Hell, I couldn’t even afford the one if it weren’t for my financial aid.
This meant that $1500 grant I was counting on wasn’t going to be given to me.
I frantically e-mailed the financial aid office to double check and make sure I wasn’t reading this incorrectly.
They finally got back to me on Monday and confirmed that this grant would not apply if I was only enrolled in one class.
My job pays $5250 each year towards school as long as it applies to your current job, or one that is at least semi-related to your department. That’s definitely an awesome thing for them to do, and I’m lucky to be working for a company that does this.
Last semester I took two courses and was only planning on taking one this fall. I had about $1000 left to use for this upcoming semester, so I had saved up $800 to cover the remainder of the bill for this time around.
About two months ago I had gotten a message saying I was approved for a $3000 grant, half of which could be used for spring and half for fall.
I was ecstatic! This meant I didn’t have to pay for anything out of pocket for fall semester. I read through everything I saw and couldn’t find any reason this wouldn’t apply.
So what did I do? I put the $800 I had been saving towards my student loans. I already had my emergency fund set up, so holding on to an extra $800 was pointless for me. I thought I was getting ahead of the game, and I guess in some ways I was.
Trying To Be Smart About It
Once I got the email back from the financial aid office, I realized this was not going to play out the way I had thought it would.
I do have about $1000 as an emergency fund saved up, but this doesn’t really qualify as an emergency. I didn’t get sick, my car didn’t break down, and I didn’t need to pay for this in order for life to continue.
I can’t have a blog about being smart with your money and financially healthy, and then go off and blow my emergency fund on a “non-emergency” because I had made a stupid mistake.
So… had to withdraw from my class. It wasn’t easy. I was thrilled about taking this next course and had already purchased the books. In addition, since I skipped summer and am now skipping fall semester, I’m going to have to reapply.
But I had to do it.
My journey towards a masters degree will continue in the spring, when I have a fresh $5250 to spend and a $1500 grant since I will be taking two classes.
I thought it was important to share this with you to show you that I’m not perfect by any means. But I have to stay on track, even if this is something I really want, the right time will come for it.
I realize that life isn’t a perfect journey, but in the end…it’s your journey, and it’s how you live it that makes it uniquely yours.