Paying for College: Anna Andani

Anna Andani, a fourth-year business administration major, rotates semesters between working full-time for Delta Air Lines and being a student at Georgia Tech. This arrangement is made possible through Tech’s nationally ranked co-op program. Tech partners with over 700 companies to send students to work full-time paid positions while obtaining their undergraduate degrees. During the semesters when co-op students work full-time and do not take classes, tuition costs are waived.

Like many students who first arrive at Georgia Tech, Andani did not know what a co-op was, much less did she plan to get involved in one. However, when she learned she could have the opportunity to get paid for full-time work while pausing her time in the classroom to learn on the job, Andani applied for an open co-op position at Delta Air Lines. Since then, she has spent alternating semesters in the classroom and honing her skills at Delta in their analytics and process engineering co-op as well as in their customer experience design co-op.

For Andani, the experience has been a game changer in paying for those college costs not covered by other sources of funding.

“Not only have I gained new technical and personal skills, but my co-op has been useful in helping me pay for expenses related to Georgia Tech,” Andani explained. “It’s been an incredible experience so far, and I’ve been able to explore what interests me.”

Andani also gets access to some of the benefits of full-time work while at Delta. For example, she can contribute to a 401(k) that Delta will match up to a certain percent. Overall, the experience has not only built Andani’s financial mobility but also developed her professional skills and experience outside the classroom.

“Skills that I took from Georgia Tech laid a great foundation,” she said. “And then my experience at my co-op helped me put them in a real-world context and advance in my classes.”

On top of direct help with her collegiate expenses, her participation in the co-op program has opened other doors for Andani to get scholarships like the James G. Wohlford Scholarship, which has supported her during the semesters when she has class.

“That makes up for the loss of income and keeps me ahead on the semesters when I’m not working,” she explained.

Along with her co-op, Andani has utilized the federal work study program during part of her time at Tech. This program allows students to work on campus in exchange for a stipend. Andani serves as a social media coordinator for Georgia Tech’s SimTigrate Design Lab, where she gets to further express her interest in interfacing with outside audiences. Additionally, she qualified for other scholarships through her business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, and through the Atlanta Alumnae Panhellenic Association, based on her involvement in the Georgia Tech Collegiate Panhellenic Council.

Additionally, Andani advises that students who feel like they have spare time should seek out an on-campus job that will supplement their financial resources and give them something to do.

“My first semester here while I was knocking out core classes, I felt like I had a lot of time on my hands,” recalled Andani. “I wish I had known sooner that on-campus jobs were out there. Georgia Tech offers a variety of on-campus jobs in which you can also partake in unique opportunities. For example, working for the basketball or football teams gives you the opportunity to be more involved in the school spirit as well as be out on the court or the field while the teams play.”

Andani noted that it’s also a good idea to check student email for communications regarding scholarships or other available resources. Many programs at Tech share scholarship, internship, and job announcements regularly. Andani, as a Scheller College of Business student, often receives job opening announcements and news about financial resources within the College.

For those interested in co-ops, Andani said it’s been a valuable experience for her. The co-op program at Tech requires students to stay with a company for three semesters of work, but she noted that it’s not required that students be employed in the same position for all three rotations. It is possible to move to different divisions of the company to try something new.

In transitioning from analytics and process engineering to customer experience design, Andani now gets to specifically focus on the seatback screens available on Delta flights and collaborate with her team to offer a more elevated and personalized in-flight entertainment experience for others.

“You can tailor the experience to your own needs, even if you figure out that one thing doesn’t fit just quite right,” she explained. “You’ll have supervisors and resources that will help you change things as you learn and grow and become more aware of where your interests lie.”

In the future, Andani hopes to continue improving the consumer experience. She plans to join Delta again for a fourth rotation in the same customer experience position.

To learn more about co-ops, visit Georgia Tech’s co-op page to get started. To hear more about financing an education at Tech, visit the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid or read more student stories.