Financial Aid

Getting $$

Below is the first page from the studentaid.gov web site.  Note that “40% of American college students … are 25 years of age or older.”  The Federal government has financial opportunities to help you return to school, whether you are interested in getting your GED or your Ph.D.

The address for the web site is:  http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/returning.jsp

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Non-traditional Student

Today, education is for everyone. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 90 million individuals participate in some form of adult education each year, including training and basic education offered outside traditional higher education. To serve this immense market, most colleges have structured programs and services specifically for adult learners. Forty percent of American college students, or almost 6 million people, are 25 years of age or older.

Assess Yourself

The first step to finding the right program and type of school for you is to evaluate your interests. A self-assessment will help you examine your interests and goals, and offers ideas on fields of study and careers that might be right for you.

For information on careers, latest career fields in demand, how to get the training you need for the job you want, and where to look for a job, visit CareerOneStop.

General Education Development (GED) Certificate

If you’d like to go to college but you don’t have a high school diploma, find out about taking the GED. More than 800,000 adults each year take the GED. For more information on the GED visit the official GED website.

Take the Tests

Once you have assessed your interests and determined what type of program you want to enroll in, you may be required to take one or more standardized tests. Here you will find more information about common standardized tests and what you need to do to prepare for them.

Types of Schools

Once you have an idea of what your interests are, it’s time to figure out what kinds of schools offer programs that match those interests. Whether you are looking at 2-year, 4-year, or trade schools, make sure that the school is accredited. If you anticipate receiving federal student aid while in school, you’ll want to make sure that the school is Title IV participating. Otherwise, you may not be eligible for federal student aid.

Things to Consider

There are hundreds of points that should be taken into consideration while you are making decisions about what to do when returning to school. Here are a few points to take into account before you commit to a school.

Understanding College Costs

Most people believe that college is much more expensive than it really is. Although some colleges are expensive, the costs of many colleges are within financial reach.

Funding Your Education

The Federal Student Aid Programs are the largest source of student aid in America. These programs provide over $80 billion a year in grants, loans and work-study assistance. If you are interested in financial aid, you’ve come to the right place.

Attending School

If you are enrolled as a full- or part-time student and need to find out more about your educational loans, you’ll find all the information you need right here.

Entering Repayment

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you generally have six months before you begin repayment of your student loan. You will receive information about repayment and will be notified by your Loan Provider of the date Loan Repayment begins.

You Know How You Are

by Carolyn Babcock, Ph.D.

You know your strengths and weaknesses, and your hopes and fears.  Actually, no one knows them better than you.  Sometimes we are even prone to respond, “I can’t help it.  That’s just the way I am.”  Maybe you are stubborn, or perhaps you are flexible in your dealings with others.  Maybe you are loose with money (the proverbial “check grabber”), or perhaps you are, shall we say, frugal.

Whatever your traits or characteristics are, you can use them to change your life.  In a favorite quote of mine, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do that thing you think you cannot do.”  That’s mustering up the strength to face a weakness.  When it comes to finances, often it takes an investment in ourselves to see a financial reward down the line.  You are grabbing your own “check,” and if a major change is taking place in your life, you may need to pinch pennies for a while.  How often do we  “grab the check” for us?

Recently, a family member made the decision to pursue a dream of photography.   She is truly a Non-Traditional Student (NTS) in that she has been out of high school for over 10 years.  She has some fears (“I’m not very good at English Composition” she said), yet she threw herself into the planning of a visit to explore the campus of a college that could help her reach her goal.  She has held a low-paying job for several years, so finances will definitely be a factor.  Yet, she’s going to figure it out.  Scholarships, work-study, the G.I. Bill – whatever it takes will be considered a possible monetary ally for college.  She is excited and scared at the same time.

In order to begin her first term in five months, she has a lot to plan.  She is going way beyond the confines of her comfort zone, but she is keeping her dream in front of her as a motivator.  She has admitted to her frailties and has also recognized her capacity to grow.

Basically, that’s just the way she is.

Veterans get help to return to school

Written June 15th, 2010
Categories: Financial Aid
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The post 9/11 GI Bill is helping veterans to get back to school and onto other careers. While many community colleges continue their outreach to our veterans, 4-year schools are doing so as well.

For more information regarding financial aid for veterans, click here.

Money, money, money …

Written May 24th, 2010
Categories: Financial Aid
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No matter what the level, we know that having a college degree often means a higher salary. However, what if you are in a “dead end job?” You feel that with an education this could change. Problem: You need money in order to make more money.

The article “Dead end job? Get a grant for going back to school” explains the income differential among jobs with and without a college education. Here’s an excerpt:

The national median difference in income if you have an associate’s degree is $9,201 more than if you only have a high school diploma according to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. Getting a bachelor’s degree can provide a bigger income boost; according to the NCHEMS study, the national median difference in income is $21,455 more than a typical salary earned by someone with only a high school diploma.

Find out if there is grant money available to you! For the complete article from ARAlifestyle.com, click here.

Financial Aid for Non-Traditional Students

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the needs of Non-Traditional Students (NTS). There is a page on its site that the potential NTS can use as a type of check list to consider possibilities such as, types of schools, testing and so on.

The opening paragraph of the site states:
“Today, education is for everyone. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 90 million individuals participate in some form of adult education each year, including training and basic education offered outside traditional higher education. To serve this immense market, most colleges have structured programs and services specifically for adult learners. Forty percent of American college students, or almost 6 million people, are 25 years of age or older.”

For more information, click here.

“Open for Questions: Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act”

Recorded on March 02, 2010 at the White House | 34:57 length (allow a couple of minutes for the video to load)

Following is a ½ hour video where “White House Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes and Education Secretary Arne Duncan take your questions about how new legislation can help make college more affordable for all students.”

A wide variety of questions were answered. Of particular interest to Non-Traditional Students is the 2nd question taken by Secretary Duncan where a single mother asks for information regarding the availability of financial aid.

Click here to see the video.

Where to go for financial aid?

Written December 21st, 2009
Categories: Financial Aid
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www.fafsa.gov

This is where you start! While you are thinking about maybe returning to school, why not fill out the form to see what your financial possibilities are? The web site spells it out for you. See excerpt below:

We have simplified the process of filling out the FAFSA. You can follow each section all of the way through for a comprehensive set of instructions.

Get organized!
To simplify the application process, gather required documents and other information ahead of time.

Fill out the application!
The FAFSA contains questions that ask about you, your financial information, your school plans, and more.

View your results online!
You can check the status of your application, make corrections to a processed FAFSA, and get other information.

Recent Student Loan Legislation

Written December 7th, 2009
Categories: Financial Aid
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“Colleges Are Pushed to Convert Loan System”
By TAMAR LEWIN
Published: October 26, 2009

Congress has not given final approval to legislation ending federal subsidies for private student loans for college. But Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter Monday to thousands of colleges and universities urging them to get ready to use the government’s Direct Loan Program in the 2010-11 school year.

The House of Representatives last month passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, expanding the government’s direct lending and ending the current program of government subsidies and loan guarantees for private lenders. Under that law, all colleges would be required to convert to the federal Direct Loan Program by July 1.”

Click here to view full article