The common question of how to pay for college is not always easily answered. The payment plan that works for one student may be very different from another. The good news is that adult learners have options that can make it possible to align their budget with their expenses. Director of Financial Education Initiatives at University of Phoenix, Christine Conway, had a few tips to help students find the best path forward for them.
Grants or Scholarships
Financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships is one of the most common ways to pay for college. This is because recipients are not expected to pay them back for the most part. A scholarship can be either need or merit based depending on the organization giving the money. University of Phoenix offered up to $1 million in scholarship aid to students for several months in the fall of 2020 alone. Federal grants usually come in the form of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible for the Pell Grant, which can help cover the costs of undergraduate studies.
Employer or Military Benefits
Employers ultimately want employees to gain new skills to bring to the job, and some offer funds to employees to continue their education. Military members are also often entitled to tuition benefits. Whether you work for a small company or a large branch of the military, reach out to someone who can help you understand any available benefits and how they can be applied to your tuition. A financial aid expert or HR professional is usually the best resource to start with.
While enrolled in the University’s MBA program, Hall was pleased with both what he learned and how he learned. The courses were academically challenging and covered relevant subjects he needed to know, and all courses included a well-designed combination of individual and group work. Hall was able to complete the coursework on his schedule as his full-time job allowed, but he was also part of a team within each class. This individual and team structure is, of course, similar to the corporate environments that many MBA graduates ultimately find themselves working in.
Savings and Loans
If you’ve exhausted all of the financial aid resources that you don’t have to pay back, you might need to dip into your savings. The more you can pay out of pocket, the less you’ll pay overall for your education. Federal student loans are available to those who qualify; while you’ll pay interest, they offer a lower rate than personal loans or credit cards. Plus, federal loans are easier to defer in case of financial hardship when compared to other options.
The cost of college can be daunting to anyone, especially if they can’t get ahead without spending more money. The best thing you can do is keep in mind the true value of a diploma. What will you lose if you don’t make the financial commitment to improve your value in the workforce?
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