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Trying to pay for school has just gotten harder and harder. According to the College Board, college prices have increased by more than 169% since 1980. And while there may be several different reasons for the inflated cost of higher education, people who want to return to school face a challenge.
They need to be creative when it comes to paying for school. There is almost no way their jobs will cover the whole bill. Luckily, different programs and opportunities can cover a portion of the educational expenses.
Keep reading below to learn more about them!
1. Some States Have Unique Ways to Pay for School
Some states are actively invested in the higher education of their communities. For example, some programs allow students to get certifications, trade school skills, and college experience for little cost through a community college. Many students in California who have lower incomes can apply for a Board of Governor’s Grant (BOGG) to assist with their tuition and fees associated with enrolling in the community college system. Students who show financial need could have these costs covered completely. Others can apply for a federal grant such as a Pell Grant and/or Supplemental Opportunity Educational Grant (SEOG) to assist with their tuition, fees, and perhaps books and other related expenses.
Additionally, state grants, called the “Cal Grant, ” may assist students with educational expenses. There are deadlines to apply, but if state grants are available, they will help students pay for school.
Other states across the U.S. have instituted similar programs to improve the education of their people. You may live in a state with one of these programs. You need to research it online or reach out to an expert who can guide you through financial decisions.
A high school guidance counselor is also trained to assist students in applying for many of these programs. They should be able to tell you the steps you need to take to go to school with this support. This may be a good starting point for high school students or some who want to return to college.
2. Make Money Before Pursuing Your Dreams
Another way to pay for school is to avoid going altogether. More students across the U.S. are planning to make money in trade careers. Students can qualify to work in entry-level trades after completing their short-term training, often less than a year. Some graduates of trade careers decide later to return to college for a degree or additional training.
Trade Skills and Certifications Pay Off In Many Ways
You don’t just get to save money while working as a plumber, craftsman, or anything else. You also develop personal and professional skills that you can pick up in your trade working or even in your professional development classes at your trade school. These kinds of skills also open doors within your program of study.
3. Attend a University later after your entry-level career
Being a full-time student can cost more than $10,000 per semester in many states. It’s expensive, and that doesn’t include the stress you will face studying for tests and trying to pass your classes. Jumping right into college and expecting it to be over in 4 years simply isn’t realistic for many people.
However, students can take their time through college and graduate later. By being a part-time student and only taking one or two classes per semester, you can still progress towards a degree. But you might feel less stress from a full-time load, depending on your career goal.
4. Ask Your Employer to Pay For School
Some employers across the world are offering programs meant to encourage workers to return to school. Through these programs, employees can spend their time learning and honing their craft at an organization. Then, once classes are done, they can make a choice.
They can stick with the company that paid them to attend school, earning a higher position with a higher pay rate. Or, they can go back to the job market and pivot their career to something more satisfying.
Employers will sometimes assist with tuition reimbursement if the training helps you within the company. If you are interested in attending college, you may want to talk with your human resources representative at your company to see if they have any tuition reimbursement programs.
5. Do the FAFSA Application for Federal Grants
No matter how you plan to pay for school, you should complete the FAFSA. Your answers on the application help determine your eligibility for grants and student loans. Usually, the lower your income, the more eligibility you may have for grants. There are criteria established, such as household size, number in college, marital status, income, and other factors that will decide your eligibility. You will need to complete forms as requested before any funds are awarded. And the funds must be used for educationally related expenses. You certainly won’t know what you may be eligible for unless you apply.
Paying For School Is the First Challenge
Paying for school for many is the first challenge of college. Then comes the attendance, study, tests, and so on. It’s not easy, but walking across the graduation stage with your new degree makes it all worth it.
Once that happens, new opportunities will likely open up to you. Take it from other graduates who often report that they will feel more in control over their life, and you will see the world in a whole new light. Going to college, many believe, is worth it.
And to start exploring your higher education options and what certificates or degrees are available to you, just click here.