Paying for Higher Education – Pages of a Career Journal


I applied for the state’s government tuition reimbursement job program. I was rejected. I’m not pissed. I simply know God doesn’t want me to be under that servitude. He has a bigger plan to bring me into my purpose. God’s wisdom Psalm 138:8.”… Suze Orman keeps trying to tell me ‘student loans are good debt’. Yet, I am not trying to have too much of a good thing, if you know what I mean. So, I am still looking for funding. I recently came across a program entitled Students in Services which will pay me between $1,250 -$2,000 to do my practicum. Yet it seemed too good to be true, so I emailed my practicum coordinator and her reply was ‘Yes, check it out. You can get $$ for practicum. All students should check out Students in Service’. Now my question is- why didn’t she tell me and every other student this last year when we started our foundational practicum, or better yet tell us this at orientation? I am on a mission to complete my MSW, but please continue to give me strength because this school is truly testing me and making me ponder the question. ‘How do you change bureaucracy while working in it?’”

Rereading this , I still have not found a solid answer to that question. I do recall my graduate school program having a partnership with the state’s Department of Family Services. The idea behind the program is graduate students are placed in DCFS offices to complete their field practicum experience. The field experience focuses learning about child abuse and neglect, risk assessment, family reunification, separation and loss, permanency planning, court testimony, and case management. Students accepted into the program receive tuition support to assist with their educational expenses with the promise they will work for the state for each year they were provided tuition.

Looking back, not getting that opportunity was a blessing. My second year of graduate school I was able to obtain more scholarships and I stumbled upon Students in Service (sadly, this program was terminated in 2012, but students can find similar aid through AmeriCorps). It was a great program that offered me an educational financial award, and (best of all) didn’t lock me into a job after earning my MSW. This allowed me to stay on my clinical track, where I specialized in learning comprehensive assessment skills in mental health, substance abuse, medical and public health, child and family treatment planning, diagnostic criteria, and the ability to accurately identify and categorize a client’s symptoms. I can explore treatment goals with the client and help the client implement cognitive, effective, and behavioral changes based on these treatment goals. For example, I can diagnose a clinically depressed patient, provide ongoing therapy, and formulate a treatment plan that includes significant improvement of a client’s symptoms so they can return to work or school.

Though, I digress, what I learned financially through academia is no one will tell you where the free money is. You truly have to do your research to find it .When you find it; you may have to be a bit of an abrasive asshole to get your cut. Do your research and ask yourself where you want to be professionally in five to 10 years (I knew I wanted to be a clinical therapist, so in my heart I knew the state program wouldn’t make me happy. A tiny part of me was still persuaded by money. Real life moment) Then follow your gut. I promise the money will come. It’s also a good idea to pay a little toward your student loan while in school when it’s not accruing interest.

Help on the web : streamlines and aggregates the repayment process. Answers federal student-loan questions offers a wealth of information, including tips on how repay loans faster. provides information specifically for private-loan borrowers.  Tells you if you qualify for the government’s income based repayment and pay as you earn programs motivates user to reduce debt and increase savings by offering prizes (like $25,000 to put toward student loans)




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2 Responses to Paying for Higher Education – Pages of a Career Journal

  1. Pingback: Navigating High School | Real Life of an MSW

  2. Pingback: What Would Have Helped Me? | Real Life of an MSW

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