You may not have to pay and if you do there are options to make it easier. If you’ve recently put an offspring through college, or are getting ready to, you already know some of it. There are a lot of hidden opportunities.
1. Go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
There you will find worksheets to determine your eligibility, what documents you will need for your application. They tutor you through the whole process. You will likely have to give the name/code of some possible colleges. You may already have some ideas, and you can get the codes right there from their data resources at the website. This will get you close to your goal, if not there.
- This tool tells you if you qualify for a grant.
- They will tell you if you qualify for a federally subsidized student loan.
- They will tell you if you qualify for a federally guaranteed student loan at low interest. These are deferred loans you will not have to repay until after graduation.
2. Look at the company you work for.
They are interested in keeping you, and they want you in the best job fit. They may have a stipend available in a major that would interest you and help them. You generally are required to work for them a certain amount of time afterward, but if you really don’t mind, it’s a great way to go.
3. If you have been unemployed for a while and unable to find a job because of some injury, or other problem, look into state funded vocational rehabilitation.
NOTE: You may need a referral from a doctor or counselor.
There are a lot of opportunities for scholarships out there for nontraditional students. They are not all for freshmen or high academic records. Many look at low income, minority groups, specific college majors, second and third-year college students, academic scholarships, more than anyone could name.
Put in a general application to your college each semester for the ones that they handle. Go to the library and or Internet, local businesses and organizations. There are more scholarships out there than any one can name.
5. Start with a state community college.
These are often much less expensive than four-year colleges or universities. If you are interested in a technical trade you can find vocational and technical Associate Degrees in most of them.
4. Corporate Universities
These are available if you are interested in a career that is in their curriculum. Some Corporations who offer these are Disney, General Electric offers some Degree leadership programs, Southwest Airlines offers training and internships, and Boeing has learning centers. Look for more of these.
5. Consider Internet College Degrees
These are not all hypes. Many of these are fully accredited and offered through regular four-year colleges and universities. They do take some discipline, but with the right program, they are great.
The courses cost a little more per credit hour, but the savings in housing, meals, travel, and time are worth it. You can manage it around your work schedule. Instructors are easily available on weekends through e-mail. Depending on the instructor there were weekly online discussions with other students and the instructor, a place to attach and send you weekly assignments, tests were online, and instructors often posted written lectures to go with the text.
Opportunities and offers for affordable college education are available for everybody. Non-traditional students, a nice way of saying older than usual, are becoming much more the norm on college campuses. Your advantage is maturity and confidence toward your academic and career goals.