Education funding for adults

Thinking about going back to school? You wouldn’t be alone! The number of adult  students has skyrocketed, as more and more people enter or return to college to study for an advanced degree, prepare for a new occupation, enhance their skills for advancement in their current positions, or finally fulfill their ambitions.

How will you pay for it?
There’s no question about the value of higher education. The real question is how to pay for it, and determining the possible or practical options for your particular situation. Where will you get the help you need? Federal or state student aid? Federal or private student loans? Scholarships? Grants? Subsidized work-study programs? Employer tuition reimbursement?

Start with the Internet
The Internet is the first stop for answers to many of these questions, starting with the Federal Student Aid site provided by the U.S. Department of Education, where you’ll find federal financial aid information, basic eligibility criteria and application forms. It even lets you estimate how much federal aid you might qualify for if you do decide to go back to school. There are no age restrictions for federal student aid, but other restrictions may apply.

Can you really afford it?
There are scores of other helpful sites featuring broad education financing advice and insight. Start with these two:

  • USNews.com suggests looking at lower-cost options like online education programs.
  • HuffingtonPost.com shares advice and counsel for those over 50 years old considering taking on education debt.

Proceed with caution
Recently Congress took action regarding education funding. Read this summary from USNews.com. But, be sure to heed the warning that Congress still has until March 1 to act on other education funding items, including subsidized student loan interest rates.

Another word of advice
Whatever you do, be on the lookout for scholarship and financial aid scams.

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