Being a post-baccalaureate student has its perks. For example, I don’t have to take University Studies courses so I can focus on the classes that are directly related to my major, saving both time and money. I have priority registration so I always get into the classes I need. I know how I learn best, how to manage my time, and I don’t make a lot of the same mistakes that many first-time college students make, both socially and academically.
Although those benefits are fantastic, there are serious downsides to being a post-bac. My financial aid is terrible. Because I am not a graduate student, but I am also not considered an undergraduate, there are no scholarships or grants available to me. My tuition is higher than a regular undergrad because I am charged special “post-bac fees” which amount to hundreds of dollars every term. I am required to submit a “post-bac plan” at the start of every year stating my long term plans and intentions. When I reach 90 credits, which will be after next fall term, I will have to submit an appeal to be allowed to continue taking out the student loans that I need in order to finish my degree. This is standard procedure for all post-bac students. If my appeal is denied, I will have to drop out until I can find work because I cannot afford to pay my tuition, rent, or bills without student loans.
My situation is not unique; I know many other post-bac (and traditional) students are experiencing the same frustration and anxiety.