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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Do You Need Financial Help To Go Back To College?

By Jackie Heart

School costs are at an all time high, just when many incomes are stalled and failing. But the wisdom about getting an education to get ahead in the work world has never been more true. Going back to school can be a burden but it is also an investment that can pay for itself many times over in increased earning potential and job satisfaction. But only if you are careful.

How does a Mom going back to school get the money to pay those bills? The best way is to go for scholarships. This may seem like a crazy idea, especially if you have been out of the school scene for a number of years, but there is scholarship and grant money available for people of all ages and backgrounds. The trick is, knowing where to look.Start with Federal funds. These are the most readily available and uncharacteristically simple to apply for. Federal student aid can be obtained through a single application process called FAFSA. This is a very long and detailed application, but you only have to fill it out once per year to be considered for many of the government programs available. The application is free and can be done online.

Once you have submitted the FAFSA application, you will be on the list for Federal grants as well as student loans. Your total awards will be based on money available in the program and your real need relative to paying for college. So it is recommended that you file as early as you can to get the maximum award you are entitled to.

If you have applied for Federal aid and still are falling short, there are several private sector options still open to you. Your college or university will have a financial aid office that can help you find out what programs are available to you. Apply for as many as you can. Remember, a $500 one time scholarship may not sound like much, but it's $500 that you don't have to pay back later.There are several on line resources that can help you find scholarship opportunities that can help you go back to college.

Once you have exhausted all of your free money options, it is time to consider working the rest of your way through college. If you are currently employed, your company may be able to underwrite some of your expenses, especially if your new degree will make you a more valuable employee when you graduate.

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