Joshua Wartena, Opinions Editor, [email protected]
Tuition is at an all-time high. UVU has relatively low prices, but you’re still looking at more than 2500 dollars a semester. Let’s do some basic arithmetic for monthly expenses: Rent: 300, food: 100, car/gas/insurance: 300, phone: 50 and school: 700. That’s 1400 dollars a month in just basic expenses. Now that’s full-time school, so add a part-time job, say 30 hours a week at ten dollars an hour. You’re bringing in 1200 a month before taxes. That doesn’t even come close to living expenses, much less dates, fun, subscriptions, etc.
So how in the world are you supposed to pay for school?
UVU is traditionally a blue-collar college, a vocational school. Although that mindset is changing, we’re still mostly children of poor to middle-class families. Our fathers are painters, mid-management at retail stores, teachers or laborers. There are many “non-traditional” students, aka single moms and middle-aged students. We don’t have the fraternities, dorm rooms, football teams and loyal alumni that seem to make a university popular.
We don’t have parents with college funds or grandparents paying our way. In many cases, UVU students are taking 15 credits and working full time to put food on their family’s table.
It seems a little depressing as a freshman or sophomore to look ahead and see 20,000 dollars in tuition for a bachelor degree in an economy that isn’t too friendly toward anyone without a master’s. Step back; let me offer a couple of options.
For starters, look at what you’re going into as a major. If you’re thinking of taking out 10 loans to get a degree in music theory, rethink that. Yes, do what you love, but if you something that isn’t too lucrative, take a little longer to work through school so you aren’t saddled with debt. I’m graduating next semester in journalism. It has taken me almost seven years, but I haven’t had loans.
Second, look at scholarships. And not just what you find applying through UVLink. Look at work-study options, clubs that offer tuition waivers and internships. Some jobs will even help with school if you have a certain major. Look for competitions and offers on-line. For some reason, there are a lot of people willing to give you money, so take them up on it.
Third, you might be eligible for PELL Grants. Applying is really, really easy, and if you do get one, it’s just free money for school. Go fill out your FAFSA and see if the government helps you out.
Lastly, if you still need money, go talk to the financial office. The university has payment plans and is really good with working with your situation.
Take time, plan ahead and be an adult. Soak up all the options school offers. There are a lot of amazing opportunities you can take for no other reason than that you’re a student. Enjoy the time ahead of you. It’s a lot of fun.
Joshua Wartena is a senior studying Journalism and Spanish at UVU and will graduate in Fall 2014. He is hoping to work as a middle-east correspondent or long-form magazine writer in South America. Josh is currently living in Orem and is the Opinions Section Editor