Helping You Navigate the World of Financial Aid

By Emily Doty - June 16th, 2016

For this month’s staff spotlight we sat down with Jerome Leyba who works as a tuition planning specialist here at CSU Global. Jerome and his team ensure that our students are educated on their financing options so they are prepared to start, and more importantly finish, their degree programs by making responsible financial choices.

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“I want to go back to school, but how am I going to pay for it?”

Cost and payment options are probably two of the main concerns you have if you are considering going back to school. Loans, grants, scholarships, cash, there are so many options to consider when figuring out how you are going to pay for school. CSU Global’s Tuition Planning Team works to ensure that you are not left in the dark when it comes to your payment options. Read on to learn more about what Jerome and his team do to educate our students about this important aspect of going back to school.

Tell us about what you do at CSU Global as a tuition planning specialist.
Jerome Leyba: As Tuition Planners it is our job to educate our students on all of their financial options so that they are able to make the right and responsible decision about how they are going to pay for classes.

We are here to help you avoid the dangers of not having enough financial resources available to complete your degree. For example many students are not aware that federal financial aid has loan limits. If your eligibility runs out before you have completed enough courses, you might find yourself in the same situation as many students — years of debt, no degree, and wondering how to pay for university courses. That’s exactly what we’re here to help you avoid.

Financing options at CSU Global include: financial aid, scholarships, military and veteran benefits, cash payments, and employer reimbursement. Since CSU Global is a regionally accredited university, our students are also eligible for federal financial aid on top of other financing options. Federal aid can come in the form of grants, subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, and military benefits.

We will work with you so you understand each of these options and create an individualized plan that aligns with your academic timeline.

Federal financial aid is a very intimidating subject. What are the most important things students should know?
Jerome: Here are four important facts about federal financial aid:

  1. Financial aid includes both student loans and grants. Many students think financial aid is just the Pell Grant which isn’t the case. Grants are money you don’t have to repay and are usually based on your financial need while loans are money you borrow that you must pay back.
  2. Pell Grants are only awarded to undergraduate students working on their first bachelor’s degree. To be considered for the Pell Grant a student must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov annually.
  3. There is a loan aggregate limit to the amount of financial aid you can borrow.
  4. Financial aid alone does not always cover the cost of your courses.

How did you find yourself working in higher education?
Jerome: 
I started my path working within higher education several years ago as an aspiring secondary education teacher. I worked as a substitute teacher while I attended community college and took care of my daughter. I can relate to our students who are balancing many priorities while attending school!

During this time I had a change of heart and changed majors and earned my bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. Once finishing my degree I took a job as a promotional marketing director. After four years of working in the field I realized I missed the education space but wanted to work with adults, instead of high school students.

I took a job as a student advisor in Denver, with my ultimate goal of becoming a full-time faculty member. During this three year tenure I completed my MBA and become a team lead academic advisor. Since then I have secured a faculty position at my previous university, while I work on the student support side here at CSU Global!

What advice do you have for anyone thinking of going back to school?
Jerome: 
First off, utilize the expertise of your Tuition Planning Specialist. We understand that the options can be overwhelming, and we are here to help you understand and make the best decision for your situation.

Be sure to find your personal support system. As a person who has juggled working full time, family obligations, and going back to school, I understand the struggles that can arise. Contact the one person who supports you the most with your education endeavor and tell them what you would need to hear if you were to contemplating quitting school. When a problem arises that compromises your success, reach out to that person and have them remind you why you started in the first place.

For more information about tuition planning and the different types payment options please visit here.

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