kepdavis

Stepping into the world of Social Work

Category Archives: Financial aid

What’s happening in school?

Since we have been on summer break since the beginning of May, I’ve obviously not had any classes, but a few matters are moving along for next semester.

I did receive an MSW Scholarship for next year! I’m not sure how selective the scholarships are (two of my classmates also received it) I’m proud of myself for getting it and grateful for the assistance.

My internship for next year has not yet officially been decided, but I have received a strong hint from the most reliable source available that it will be at the senior program I expected. The official notification is waiting for my advisor to receive all of the proper paperwork and apparently an initial assignment for class that are all sent at the same time.

I have also agreed to be part of the leadership of our academic center caucus for the next year. I was a bit wary of doing this, as I didn’t want to over-commit to that kind of thing at the expense of study time, but I really like the classmates who I will be working for, and it sounds like it could be fun. There are also a few practical perks, but they aren’t big enough to be persuasive.

It should be an interesting summer and a great year!

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The end of my first year….

USC Logo

USC Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other than waiting to receive my final grades, my first year at USC is over!

After a few weekends spent chained to the computer writing papers, I e-mailed my final paper to the professor on Wednesday. It was a great feeling to be finished and be able to relax for a couple of months until the process starts again.

Besides my grades, I’m also expecting to hear within the next few weeks where I will be placed in my next year’s internship and what financial aid I will be receiving (grants and scholarships in this case as opposed to loans). While these won’t make an immediate dent in our budget next year, they’ll make a major difference in our debt in ’14 when I’m finished.

As I told the advisor responsible for placing me, I rather expect my internship placement to be with seniors. I’ve had a great deal of experience with kids and with disabled adults, and while I have had personal contact with seniors my whole life, I haven’t worked with them professionally. I am open, however, to whatever she finds for me, particularly knowing that this placement is supposed to be both orienting to the profession and also perhaps to fill in any gaps in the person’s background. I did request to be placed in the San Fernando Valley and for a placement which would pay work-study funds to make up for what I will be losing by going part-time at work.

Right now, it’s time to focus on neglected housework and some relaxation!

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Next Year’s financial aid

It’s that time again!

USC vs. Syracuse

USC vs. Syracuse (Photo credit: jeffdubyn)

Financial aid decisions and scholarships take time to arrange, so we apparently need to start applying for them about this time. Fortunately, my advisers at USC are very good at ensuring we are aware of deadlines.

First, having your taxes for the previous year completed is almost a prerequisite. You can do some estimating if there’s a reason you need to delay filing your taxes (perhaps you are having to pay rather than getting a refund) but then you end up having to fix the estimates anyway.

The next step is filing the FAFSA, a federal form about your financial status, that is shared with your school, or in the case of an incoming applicant, all of the schools you are applying to. This year, it even linked to our tax filing, making it only a matter of a few clicks. This was amazingly helpful! This will determine my eligibility for federal loans and work-study.

2010-2011 FAFSA Screenshots

2010-2011 FAFSA Screenshots (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

Then, in the case of USC Social Work, I also had to fill out an application for any funding they have that is specific to our school. This wasn’t difficult either, though I wished they could have allowed for another 200 characters or so in the box where you explained why you need financial aid.

We have also been advised to look for private funding that isn’t directly awarded through our school. I will particularly be looking for scholarships for those intended to benefit hearing impaired students.

The good news is that second year part-time students (as I will be) become eligible for things that were not available to us this year. The other great news is that it is very likely that I will be able to use work study funds for my internship hours. This will help quite a bit, particularly since I’ll need to go part-time at my job starting in September.

More on all of this as I hear. I will still need to be working with the USC financial aid department to provide a variety of documents, including information that my budget will be reduced due to going part time.

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A quiet weekend before the storm….

I’ve got a quiet day today before USC takes control of my life in earnest on Tuesday.  Yesterday, we rescued Lucy from the roof a SECOND time yesterday, celebrated Hubby’s birthday with a dinner at a great Israeli restaurant we had never been to before, and got me a new phone (a Samsung Flight II). Gary is hiking with some friends today, so I’ve got the house to myself.

Last week, the Skirball cohort had our summer welcome reception, which was really nice. We got to see what would be our second home for the next year or two.  Someone posted pictures on Facebook (I didn’t even know anyone was doing that!) including my own ugly face, I just hope nobody tags me in them!

Three of my books have come in from the online sources I bought them from – I think I only made one mistake by getting the wrong edition, and that book cost less than a dollar plus shipping, so I think I can manage to buy another copy of the right one.  I’m still waiting for two of them to come.

I had registered for the USC all graduate student orientation on Monday, but I’ve learned that most of what I would get on Monday will be repeated on Tuesday. So I’m thinking I’ll save myself the trouble and parking fees and skip the Monday event.

After that is our mandatory Social Work orientation and the start of the “Immersion.”  Tuesday (all day)  and Saturday afternoon are at the UPC (University Park Campus – USC speak for the main campus as opposed to the medical school or other locations), Thursday and Saturday morning are out someplace we’ll be directed later. Fortunately, I’ve found a few other classmates in my area to share the ride to the main campus with, so we’ll be sharing gas and parking costs.  What I’ve gathered so far is that the immersion is a visit to a community served by social workers where we are to do some observation as the beginning of our Policy class.  I’m expecting something like a visit to a homeless or women’s shelter.  The policy class syllabus shows group presentations based on this in a couple of weeks, so it isn’t just for show.

Class starts a week from Monday. From what I can tell, I’ll get a couple of class days off in September, one for Labor Day and one for the Jewish holidays – our classes are at Skirball, a Jewish cultural center, so that makes a lot of sense. I’ve received the syllabus from one of my classes, it seems like it is all papers and presentations, no exams are listed!

My student loans were supposed to show up in my account yesterday, but they didn’t. I’m not sure what happened – I hope I don’t have to make any calls or visits to Financial Aid or the cashier’s office next week of all weeks!

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The last details – Student Loans

This week, I’ve been completing the last details of my enrollment at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. I got sticker shock at the $9000 price tag (and that’s only for 6 units!) but as Hubby tells me, it’ll be worth it when I can wave a diploma from such a prestigious school in an employer’s direction.

The most important was completing my student loan documents. I am getting three different types of loans, from two sources, so I had to sign two different “Master Promissory Notes.” I gather these will suffice for the whole three years. I’m not sure when the money will show up in my account, but I imagine it has been coordinated down to the last worrisome seconds. 🙂

I told myself that while I might have to do student loans this year, I’ll take the time to find some grants and scholarships to help next year.  Also, my third year  I am eligible to apply for a couple of stipend programs provided I agree to work in either child and family services or mental health for a year or two. Those have to be in the concentration year because you receive a specific field placement.

I also had to get vaccinated – colleges are trying hard to avoid epidemics of childhood diseases, so they’re requiring immunization against both kinds of measles and mumps. My doctor sent me for titers, but unfortunately I came up “not immune” to mumps. So I ended up having to get the shots anyway. I got one last week and I’ll have to get another at the end of August. Oh well…

It’s starting to seem more real to me…. a week from tomorrow there’s a welcome reception at the Skirball Center, where I’ll be taking classes the first two years, then on the 15 the graduate school orientation. Then Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I have “Community Immersion.” The next week classes start in earnest.

I’ve been looking at where to buy textbooks – some of them are even available in electronic format now, which would be really great for reading/studying in spare moments here and there. I have an Ipod Touch (basically an Iphone without the phone) which I typically use as a PDA and boredom companion (games, etc.) It will serve nicely for some of my textbooks if they are not too horribly large in file size. I might be able to finagle a Kindle or Nook for Christmas if the print starts to get too small for my eyes.  I am definitely happy to see I can buy them a little cheaper than the prices quoted in my previous post.  I guess I should look at shipping times and consider placing my order pretty quickly.

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