Hello there! My name is Saeli and I am a second-year returning student at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
When I first began applying to college I had to think very seriously about where I could apply based on what I could afford. Pretty much all out-of-state and non-public schools were out of the question because my family just could not cover the funds. I applied to a lot of UCs and CSUs knowing that they were slightly more in my price range (we still would be unable to pay the full price but knew financial aid would help a little and that loans were inevitable). However, as the financial aid offers began rolling in, I quickly realized how little money UCs and CSUs really had to give. I graduated high school with above a 4.0 GPA and with Laureate Honors (the highest academic honor offered at our school for a combination of straight A's and a 4.0+ GPA), yet the highest academic scholarship I received was for only about $1,000 out of a $30,000 bill. I had no option but to withdraw the maximum amount of student loans offered and pay the rest out-of-pocket.
As I completed my first year of schooling, I found that with the honors and AP classes I had taken in high school, I was already a full quarter ahead on my education and I realized that I could graduate in less than a full four years--which would save my family about $8,000 for every quarter I graduated early. Thus, this summer, I enrolled in 3 classes at UCLA (the local UC for where I live) and got an internship worth another class in terms of units. This whole summer, I have worked for my internship all-day Tuesday, half-day Thursday, and all-day Friday, while going to classes on Monday, Wednesday, and the other half of Thursday. I also nanny and babysit in the evenings and around my classes, as other than having my parents help on my tuition, I am self-sufficient financially.
All of this extra work has put me very ahead academically--I am a double major (Politics and Art History) and I am currently on track to graduate in three years by taking two to three extra classes over the next year. And while taking classes over the summer is far cheaper than completing a full quarter away at school during a fourth year (living at home cuts costs and classes are paid for by unit), financial aid money is simply not available in the same way as aid money is not generally awarded and I am unable to withdraw more money in loans as I had to use the full amount during the school year. This is why I need extra funds to help cover my extra classes this summer and over the next year.
And this is where I need your lovely help! I am a very successful student--besides my high school performance, I was on my school's Dean's List all three quarters my first year and I currently have A's in all of the summer classes I am taking. As I mentioned earlier, I'm also a double major who has been taking enough extra classes as to be able to graduate a whole year early. Also, long-term, I really would love to be a college professor and help change the world by changing our youth, which means that I have a lot more tuition bills in my future as a PhD would require a minimum of six additional years in school, so every dollar I can save now helps later (I already know that I am planning on being a TA during my graduate years to help cover some of the costs). Furthermore, my academic success during college thus far means that I am now considering transferring to UCLA after my next year of schooling. This would not only boost my academic profile even more--especially for moving on to grad school--but would again help me save money as my parents have graciously said I'd be able to live at home for another year and not have to pay for housing.
Basically, I am doing everything I can think of to save money and it has meant a lot more work for me yet there are still more costs! I really just need help covering some of these bills so I can continue with my education as school and academics have always been my passion.
Please help me! Thank you :)