Accessing Emergency Financial Aid for Professional Students

by Ashley Eneriz

As a professional student, it’s likely you have a lot on your plate. At any given moment, you’re balancing school with work, family, and other commitments. You may be attending class while holding down a full-time job and a full personal life, whether that includes a spouse, children, or an elderly parent, or all three. You know that getting your degree will help elevate your career, but you might be unsure how to balance the expense in the face of unexpected costs.

This is where emergency financial aid for professional students can help! While this form of aid is not a guaranteed solution for all students, it can help those who are qualified stay on track to graduate.

If you are struggling, know that you are not alone and that there are resources to help you. Here’s how to access emergency financial aid.

Ask for Help Early

The moment you realize your current finances do not support your educational goals, you should contact the Student Account Counselor assigned to your field of study. These professionals are available to help you explore different financial resources and connect you to many types of aid for professional students, such as military and veteran benefits, company reimbursement, and tuition discounts.

Along with different scholarship and loan options, some students might also qualify for emergency financial aid. This is an important resource for students who find themselves unable to afford the cost of essential expenses due to an unexpected situation.

Public Agenda, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, discovered that tuition bills are not the main reason college students drop out. Instead, 54 percent of college students stop attending classes simply because they struggle to balance work with school—it can be difficult to manage the everyday expenses.

“Emergency aid or specialized payment plans can make a huge difference for a student who is concerned that their current finances may prohibit them from continuing on with their degree,” said Mae Gill, associate director of Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services at Azusa Pacific University.

Know If You Qualify for Aid

Emergency financial aid is available for professional students at APU who are completing their bachelor’s degree. Even if you attend classes online, you might still qualify for emergency financial aid! To be considered, you must be in good standing academically and have completed all of the associated requirements for that academic year.

As a professional student at APU, your submission is reviewed by the office of Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services as soon as you fill out an application for emergency aid. You’ll be contacted if more information is needed.

If approved, you can receive up to $1,000 per academic year in emergency financial aid, and the amount is balanced with your existing financial aid package. It’s important to remember that your request does not guarantee the availability of funds, though.

Plan for Future Costs

Emergency aid is useful when hardships arise, but it shouldn’t be your first plan for paying for college. It’s best to get a full picture of a school’s financial cost before committing to a degree path—emergency aid is reserved for those in extenuating circumstances that would negatively affect their academic progress.

“Even though students pay as they go, semester by semester, it is always best to understand what each term is going to cost, what financial aid is in place, and what gaps they will need to consider and address,” explained Gill.

Gill also noted that APU holds free financial literacy workshops locally in Azusa and across the areas its regional campuses are located. These workshops discuss credit, financial planning, and how to manage the costs of higher education.

Want to learn more about the financial resources available to professional students? Explore the types of financial aid offered at Azusa Pacific University.