Student Success Series: Bartee Taylor

Bartee attended Perspectives Charter High School of Technology and is now a Freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Raising the Bar

Bartee enrolled in Moneythink during January of 2017 as a senior from Perspectives High School of Technology, joining the first cohort of students in Moneythink’s College Financial Coaching program. In September, Bartee sat down with Moneythink staff to discuss his experiences with the program over the last few months, and his journey to college.

Bartee’s situation is actually quite common. Many students believe that working more hours or taking on more loans will be enough to see them through these large financial gaps, forgetting to consider the consequences.

Change of Course

With his paperwork submitted, orientation complete, and just a few weeks to go until his move-in date, Bartee was ready to begin his college journey. However, at the beginning of August, Bartee’s mother came to him with a major surprise: she had found his acceptance and award letters to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). With a tuition that was significantly less than his school in Texas, Bartee’s mom urged him to attend UIC instead. But Bartee was stubbornly set on going to Texas, which led them to frequently butt heads.

“It was hard for me to accept that I couldn’t actually go anywhere I wanted… [and] how expensive it was to go out of state.”

Bartee’s Moneythink coach worked with him to ensure he understood the full extent of his decision to attend school in Texas, and they warned him of the potential financial risks it could pose. “They wouldn’t let [the problem] escalate. [T]hey were like ‘if you want to do that [go to school in Texas], then do that,’ but they were very helpful in guiding me on what I should do.”

These sentiments of ownership and guilt about the potential financial burdens they cause to their family are all too often felt by students across the country. In fact, 40% of students who choose not to go to their first-choice school do so due to cost related reasons.

Back on Track

When Bartee let his Moneythink coach know he was switching schools, he was surprised not only by how much his coach knew about his financial options, but also how quickly they were able to come up with a new financial plan. In fact, his Moneythink coach discovered that because he was commuting to school instead of living on campus, he would actually receive a refund on his financial aid. By choosing to go to UIC instead of Texas, Bartee had effectively closed his potential financial gap from $8,000 to $0.

“[My Moneythink coach] knows what they’re talking about… It was like they could tell me what was going to happen before it actually happened.”

Bartee is currently in his second semester at UIC studying nursing, and he is continuing to work with his Moneythink coach to ensure he is prepared for his coming second year.

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