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Published On: Mon, Nov 2nd, 2015

4 Ways to Fund Your Back-to-College Career

Are you considering returning to school? Wanting to start over with a new career? If so, it may be time to look at universities and colleges. One of the biggest factors that comes into play with a back-to-school endeavor is funding. Do you have ample savings to fund your college tuition? In most cases, the answer is no, so you are going to need to find alternative means of support. Included here are a few ways to fund your college career.

Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid is one of the best ways to pay for tuition, but is not available to all. The first step to getting approved is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Your funding will be determined based on a first-come, first-served basis as well as from your savings and income levels. It is to your best advantage to fill out your FAFSA form as early each January as possible to find out if you qualify.

photo 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

photo 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

Military Aid

If you are considering a return to school, you may have already spent some time serving in the military and are a veteran. In this case, the military will often offer their own programs to fund schooling, including their own version of financial aid. Veterans should seek guidance regarding what they qualify for following their service.

Federal Pell Grant

For students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or undergraduate degree, the Pell Grant is available. Unlike most grants, the Pell is one that you do not have to repay. Pell Grants are considered a type of Federal financial aid and can be combined with other funding. The only instance where individuals with undergraduate degrees can receive a Pell Grant is if they are funding a post-baccalaureate teaching program.

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
While the land of loans and grants can be overwhelming, one of the most commonly utilized is the Stafford loan. After submitting your FAFSA, the school you apply for can review your application to determine eligibility status for a loan.

Subsidized loans are usually the preferred method as they do not charge you interest while you are attending school and your payments do not begin coming due until six months after you graduate school. Another advantage is that if you choose to go to grad school or continue your education, the deferment on paying these loans will continue.

Unsubsidized loans are less preferable, but may be some individuals only option for school funding. Unsubsidized loans will begin accruing interest from the moment it is paid out to you. While you can defer paying the interest while you are attending school, it will continue to pile up and will have to be paid eventually.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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