Financial Aid for Non-Traditional Students

Posted in Blog on 02/05/2013

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A recent article in Foxnews drew my attention because it focused in on the availability of financial aid funds for older students. It’s no secret that our recent (and current) economic climate has made it increasingly difficult for working adults to make ends meet. Getting a better education has become a very popular way to boost your marketable skills and increase your salary potential.

That really is not an opinion, it has been backed up with facts, time and time again. Sure, you will always have the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg’s of this world. But for everyone of them, there are 100 people working at minimum wage because they did not graduate high school. Your best bet? Get a good education.

With that said, getting a good education does not have to happen straight out of high school at 18 years old. Also, if you have already received a Bachelor’s degree and you want to pursue a higher degree, you will likely do this as an older adult.

Most of us are familiar with the financial aid opportunities that exist for high school seniors and college freshmen, but what about the financial aid for us old guys who want to go back to school?

Financial Aid for Older Students

Foxnews outlines 7 ways that older students can find funds to help pay for their education.

  • Bigger government grants and loans
  • Back – to – work funds
  • Scholarships for older students
  • Employer sponsored aid
  • Staff positions
  • Alternative loan options
  • Single parent programs

I’ll be honest, I don’t think that all of these are very viable sources of financial aid for older students. Unfortunately, the VAST majority of all scholarships and grants are only available to high school seniors or current undergraduate students. The scholarships that are targeted specifically towards older students are few and far between.

I do however, think that two items on this list are incredible sources of financial aid for older students and should be maximized to their greatest potential: employer sponsored aid and staff positions.

Employer Sponsored Aid

One of the most under-utilized employee benefits is tuition assistance. many employers offer this incentive to their employees as a way to stimulate continual learning, to make their employee stats more appealing, and to enrich the lives of their employees and help them qualify for better positions within the company.

This tuition benefit often comes in the form of tuition reimbursement. Meaning, if you pass the course, your company will reimburse you for the tuition of that course. You fail, and you paid for it. Some companies give a stipend per credit hour, and some companies give you a flat fee bonus to be used towards your education.

Regardless of how your company handles this benefit, this is an excellent way to pay for your further education. This education could also lead to advancement within your own company or even advancing your ability to apply for another job outside of your company.

Staff Positions at Colleges and Universities

What better way is there to get your tuition covered than to actually work for a college or university? I cannot think of one! In fact, I have done this myself, and have a number of friends who are currently pursuing their advanced degrees while employed at a university

Getting a job at a college may not exactly be in your career path, but it could pay off big dividends down the road if you are able to earn your degree for virtually no cost. Plus, a college is an awesome place to work and you may end up stumbling across a new career path that you had never before considered( Student Affairs)

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