Senior Grateful for Generous Aid at Illinois Wesleyan
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— When Paige Buschman first started looking at colleges, she didn’t
consider Illinois Wesleyan because she didn't know that the university offered such
good financial aid.
“I believed private colleges were expensive and prestigious in a way that was not
accessible to me,” recalled Buschman, a native of the Chicago suburb of Lemont.
Her search for an outstanding collegiate program in biology, however, led Buschman
to Illinois Wesleyan. Her other top choices were large state universities and Concordia
University Chicago. While those schools were less expensive in the long run, “it was
clear that Illinois Wesleyan was such an exponentially better school with regard to
academics that the difference in price was not enough to deter me from coming here,”
She said her financial aid offer “made a $54,000 experience totally comparable to
schools with a price tag at a quarter of that price. At the end of the day, Illinois
Wesleyan does a lot to make coming here affordable. This is true for me and many other
people I talk to.”
For Buschman, who eventually changed her major to sociology and will graduate in May,
the personal relationships she’s developed with faculty and staff have made an “enormous
difference” in her experience in ways she may have never expected. Some of those relationships
yielded financial benefits as well.
Her advisor, for example, suggested Buschman apply for the prestigious Eckley Summer Scholars and Artists award, which provides a $4,000 stipend and on-campus housing for selected students to conduct
research fulltime over the summer. In addition, Buschman was selected by Illinois
Wesleyan as its 2016 Student Laureate, an honor bestowed by the Lincoln Academy of
Illinois, which also includes a monetary reward.
Buschman also has high praise for staff members in Financial Aid. “As a first-generation college student, I’ve needed a lot of help with financial
planning,” she said. “I’ve always found Financial Aid staff not only easy to work
with, but pleasant to visit. That’s not something most people can say about their
college financial aid offices.”
After she completes her final semester at Illinois Wesleyan, Buschman plans to enter
graduate school for a degree in higher education administration. She hopes to work
in student affairs diversity centers. And she will be not be burdened by crushing
student debt, thanks to substantial scholarships, her campus job, and reasonable loans.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have received such generous help and sponsorships during
my time here,” she said. “I absolutely loved it here. I never felt like a number,
and I know that would not have been my experience at larger and less committed institutions.”