College Connect: Financial Aid: An Awesome Way of Saving Money

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BY DERON DALTON, University of Missouri

When I returned from NYC to Kansas City, Mo. I was broke. I was worried about how I was going to pay second month’s rent and have money in my pocket for whatever I needed for when I returned to Columbia, Mo.

I was sitting at home – trying to relax – my last week before school started in Kansas City, Mo. Then, a miracle happened.

I got a call from my mother who just checked the mail and was on her way to run errands. She said I received some mail from the University of Missouri, and it looks like a check.

I got excited because the day before I checked MyZou to find out my financial aid had been disbursed. But never had I received a financial aid refund before the semester begun. It was nice!

I no longer had to borrow money from relatives.

As you go through school, your ability to borrow from subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans increases.  This meant that this year, the refund was more than $2,000 and although, I have to pay the money back, I am glad I got it.

My refund was made up of grants, a scholarship and loans. Also, I get work-study — $1,100 a semester. Plus, one grant is still to be disbursed.  Therefore, I am pretty covered for the rest of the school year – especially if next semester’s refund averages out to be the close or more than the amount I received this semester.

In May, I graduate. I would also need to save money and this semester about three-quartesr of the money I have left is covering rent until January. That leaves February-May to be covered, which is $1,900. Being that this semester’s refund was about $2,500 — not including the broken up between semester grant that is disbursed later on in both semester – about ¾ of the money is going to rent.

Next semester it should be about the same thing, although, this does not include next semester’s work-study in the rent budget.

Therefore, that leaves about $2,000 to go to savings. Wiping forehead, that was a lot of math!  But there are other bills that need to be covered throughout the school year as well, but still, I am hoping that I have at least the $2,000 saved.

More money would be needed after graduation. Next semester, I should have an easier workload — my journalism portfolio will be complete — being that I am taking capstone this semester. Hopefully, this means picking up another job.

This other job will help me save more money and not completely depend on financial aid refunds for means of livings. Who knows, I might be able to save enough money to secure being able to start paying back student loans, which I discussed having to do in a previous blog.

Well, whatever happens, I will be prepared – to move anywhere, to work anywhere, to support myself anywhere. This financial plan of action should be the start to getting me to save money and to think it all started with a financial aid refund.

 

Deron Dalton is a senior studying convergence at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He interned at NBC’s thegrio.com last summer.

 

 

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