Are you older than 22? Maybe you haven’t been to college yet or you are going back to school. There are many reasons to step on campus after the usual college age. It could be you now understand how important a college degree is to your earning power. You may want a career change or to improve your career standing. You may also find it necessary to reenter the job market or to qualify for a broader range of jobs after a lay off. Perhaps you simply want to enrich your life. For any reason you have, college does not have to be full cost.
First, there are scholarships for older students. Check out Fastweb for a list of scholarships and their requirements.
There is also employee assistance for you to take college credit if you are working. Check with your human resources department.
If you are a veteran starting school, you can save 80% on tuition. Even if you are pursuing education beyond an already-earned college degree, you can take advantage of the same tuition savings.
Financial aid is the same for 24+-year-old students as it is for 17-year-olds. Government Pell grants are available for low-income students who are pursuing a first degree, but not for those who have already used Pell in the past to get their undergraduate degree (with the exception of credits needed for licensing in a job you currently have or to become a teacher). Stafford Loans are available for undergraduate degrees and for graduate degrees, associate degrees, certificates of study, and second degrees; and for older students they are higher because parents’ PLUS Loans are not part of an older student’s package as they are considered independent at 24. So, older students are eligible for from $7,500 up to $10,500 from their freshman year through their senior year of study.
Private loans are not as available to older students, but all students, young or old, should apply for financial aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are older and have been employed, be sure to ask the college you are enrolling in for a professional judgment review so that your FAFSA application will base your financial aid not on your prior tax year but on the estimated income you will have during the year of the financial aid award.
A helpful website is Simpletuition.com, which can help you compare loan information for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. You can also learn more about financial aid by going to this website: http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/nontraditional.phtml