Dixie blog2013 pic By Dixie

Before each semester I log on to my UH student account and oh so hesitantly click “student finances”. I squeeze my eyes shut as I start sweating, quickly trying to do the math in my head.
“15 hours…hmmm…times $ per hour…uhh, carry the one…wait, start over…”
At this point I realize my attempt at performing math is futile so I begin to slowly open one eye and then the other and there, in all its stress-inducing glory, is my tuition bill.

All drama aside, I understand that personal finance may not be as big a stressor for all of you as it is for me but it is important to understand that getting a graduate degree is a big financial decision. While I am not an expert on finance I will tell you that there are many resources available to you through the Graduate College of Social Work and the University of Houston that will help you navigate the sometimes very confusing path of paying for a graduate degree.

It has been my experience that the GCSW makes a huge effort to provide financial aid to students through a variety of avenues including scholarships, grants and fellowships. The school offers a weekend college program for those who wish to remain fully employed while earning a degree. The university also works to ease the financial burden of paying tuition all at once by giving students the option of several different payment plans, which have been incredibly beneficial to me thus far.

It is through several of those avenues that I am paying for my degree, and although it is still a stressor in my life, it is made significantly less by the efforts of UH and the GCSW in particular. However, it took some effort on my part as well. One of the biggest lessons I learned in my first semester here is to be an advocate for myself. Do not be afraid to ask questions! Make sure you look at and understand all of your options and make changes as more opportunities arise.

My time at the GCSW thus far has been life changing and well worth the financial burden. However, in a time when tuition is only getting more expensive making informed financial decisions concerning, graduate school is imperative.

For more information on your financial aid options through UH and GCSW see:

http://www.sw.uh.edu/current-students/scholarships/index.php

http://www.uh.edu/financial/

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