FAFSA for the win

College can be extremely expensive, running thousands of dollars just for initial course charges and fees. On top of that, books and materials for classes can add hundreds of dollars each onto those already monstrous fees. This is all without even considering housing if you’re traveling far from home for school.

I found myself facing such terrifying totals when beginning my college search back in 2020 after I graduated high school. I weighed whether or not I would go into debt, taking guidance from my sister and mother to avoid it at all costs.

We already knew I needed to apply for financial aid if I even wanted to consider college at all. My first year of college I went to Southern Utah University and financial aid cut my expenses in half.

With the aid I was given through FAFSA, my mother was able to pay for my housing each semester while I covered course materials, and the aid finished out the rest of my charges.

FAFSA allowed my first year in college to be a breeze financial-wise, letting me go debt free. But as the 1 year came to an end, I was now stuck on choosing a viable major for myself.

With SUU not really offering anything I wanted, I looked to The University of Utah for better options. They had a perfect major for my dreams of becoming a video-game developer, with a school in computer science and degrees in game design.

I prepared myself to attend The UofU, being accepted and then planning the cost of everything. But with the first day of school around the corner, I quickly learned just how expensive The UofU was compared to schools like Weber State University.

I was once again back to that major decision of taking out loans or not. To be in debt or not to be, that was the question. The answer was still no, and even with the assistance of financial aid I found I would still need to take out loans.

Last minute I switched to attend WSU. Already having previous classes with Weber through CE courses in high school, it was very easy to apply again and be accepted quickly.

With my time at Weber, I learned how affordable school really was. FAFSA is still offering the same amount it did before, but covering nearly everything I needed. In addition, my mother living in Ogden allowed me to return home and not stress about housing and the extreme cost it brings.

For the past three semesters I’ve been able to attend college and pursue a major I’m genuinely interested in and passionate about. In addition, my time at the Signpost allows me a scholarship that ensures I spend even less on my attendance here at WSU.

Financial aid remains a wonderful solution to me and my mother’s worries about tuition, allowing us to both live stress free in regards to cost. With this I am more able to focus on school and what I’m learning rather than worrying constantly about my racking debt or my looming course fees. Financial aid is truly an improvement on not just my tuition, but my future as well.