Monday, November 2, 2009

The original purpose of my blog

I have gotten a little off track from where I was going with this blog and started making it look like my desk. It's covered in a series of lists. I am a bit ADD. Lists help me function. They also allow me to procrastinate which is a problem.

The purpose of my blog was to offer realistic ways in which people can save money.

College is an expense, regardless of how you do it. Some people use community college as a way to do it the least expensive way possible. Others depend on grants or scholarships. Some work their way through holding down one or more jobs while attending in order to pay for it. Some suck it up, take the loans and cross their fingers that when the time comes to pay it off, they can.

I have always wanted to be a teacher. I went on a bit of a tangent with the community college and the photography degree. I don't regret it, but I should have known better.

My options where I am at are fairly limited. I live in a college town, but both are private colleges costing more than $20,000 per year. The closest state school is a little more than an hour away, and while dramatically cheaper, between the tuition and the drive it is still a lot of money.

My solution came with Western Governors University. It is an online program that has an IT college, a business college, a nursing college and a teachers college. Unlike the well known diploma mills like Phoenix, they are fully accredited not only as a college but by things like NCATE, or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. They were also featured in Time Magazine.

The reason I am bringing this up is because the tuition is so ridiculously low that it seems kind of scammish. Is scammish a word? Probably not, but it suits me.

The WGU terms are 6 months long. My 4th term actually started yesterday. 12 competency units are considered full term. I pay just under $3000 for each term. Community college cost me more than that. You pay per term, not per credit, which means if you have the time, the drive and the dedication you can get through more classes per term, shorten the total amount of terms and save you money. This term I am starting with 13 credits, or competency units. If I can get through them quickly enough I intend on adding 4 more. It is self paced. Adding one or two extra classes per term allows me to graduate 6 months sooner.

The classes are pass or fail. There are no grades. However, the trick is that until you pass the assignments or the test, depending on the class, with a B or better, you don't pass the class. There is no sliding by with a C-.

So, tuition is $3000 per term. I also have a scholarship offered through WGU. Mine is the scholarship for rural math and science educators. It is $7500, paid $1500 over 5 terms. The terms of the scholarship include teaching at a rural school for 2 years after I graduate, and I have to maintain good academic standing. If I do not, I get to pay it back. Between that $1500 and my pell grant, my tuition is pretty much covered. I take student loans to cover books and other expenses, but my goal is to get to the point that I am not taking anymore loans.

I just thought that I would offer it up as an option for those looking for an education. If you are interested let me know, because if I refer you, you don't pay an application fee. My goal with this post was not so much to advertise, but share. WGU is probably the hardest school I have ever dealt with (including the 4 year school my husband started with) but I think in the end I will have a really good education.

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