Before attending Concordia University Irvine, Kristina Deusch '14 was like many students who wonder how they're going to pay for their college expenses.
As a Liberal Studies-turned English major, Kristina got creative.
After being accepted to Concordia in 2010, her good academic standing automatically qualified her to receive the university’s academic-based Regents Scholarship and she was able to apply for and receive Concordia’s Music Scholarship based on her music background in handbells. She also submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and obtained $1,000 of aid for her first year of studies and received a Federal Direct Stafford Loan from the U. S. Department of Education to cover her tuition expenses.
Between the scholarships, the loan, support from her extended family and her jobs at Concordia, the San Diego native is a prime example of how students who need financial assistance can turn to a number of different resources for help.
"Not only were there opportunities for scholarships for grades, but also, there were scholarships for sports," Kristina said. "I know there were scholarships for music, and I liked the idea that through Concordia you can receive government grants or government loans and that the process was made very easy on my end to figure out what loans I wanted to accept," Kristina said.
While attending Concordia for four years, Kristina was able to secure $4,000 per semester from the Regents Scholarship, $750 per semester—excluding a semester she studied abroad— from the university's Music Scholarship, and between $1,000 and $3,250 per semester from the federal loan.
She easily stayed on top of the applications process for both the scholarships and loan through alerts she received from the university when an application was due. The process of seeing the numbers in one place made it easier to monitor her financial allocations.
Take a look at all of the scholarships available. It may be easier than you think.
"Knowing that I would have that financial aid package to look forward to each year made my experience at Concordia helpful," Kristina said. "It made me feel like I had a plan going forward... I didn't have to scramble and (look for) different scholarships each year or plan something different. I could kind of predict what the numbers would look like and what I would need to plan for in terms of what to pay up front and how all that balanced."
For Kristina, having the scholarships and loans made for a fuller experience at Concordia and beyond. She immersed herself in many different aspects of the campus culture. As part of the music ensemble team, she went on tours and performed Sunday mornings at church services. She was on the staff of The Concordia Courier. She participated in the President's Academic Showcase with a written project about C.S. Lewis. She worked as a Core Peer Tutor and a Writing Studio Consultant. She even went to study abroad in Oxford, England for a semester.
"The friendships that I fostered at Concordia really influenced my time there," she said. "I felt very connected, very entrenched in a positive way ... It fostered my love of the campus, the people, the classes, and the professors. It all rolled together into one to be an awesome experience ... I think it brought out the best in me and made a large part of who I am today."
It was those experiences that she carried with her after she graduated in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in marketing. When she moved to New York in 2015, she went through the competitive Summer Publishing Institute hosted by New York University and landed a coveted position at Cambridge University Press (CUP). Two years later, Kristina serves as CUP's Senior Editorial Assistant for the New York office, training other editorial and administrative assistants and contemplating the prospect of applying to graduate school in the next five-to-ten years to study English or literature.
As she looks back on her financial aid experience at Concordia, she has some hopeful words for students who need financial assistance to help with tuition.
"Take a look at all of the scholarships available," she said. "It may be easier than you think."
Learn more about financial assistance available at Concordia University Irvine with step-by-step guidance from our Financial Aid Office.