Going back to school may be a necessity if you have lost your job or need to make a career change. It might also simply be a way to make more money or have more satisfaction in your job. A major concern of returning students is how to juggle not only college expenses but also the loss of income that may come from reducing work hours to focus on school. Fortunately, there are ways to make returning to school affordable.
The financial aid process and types of financial aid you are eligible to receive are typically the same as for traditional age students. Many financial aid programs are available even if you plan to attend school part-time.
Scholarships for Adult Students
Additionally, many scholarships are targeted specifically to adult learners. Be sure to use terms like non-traditional student, adult student and returning to school when searching for scholarships. Here are a few sites to visit:
- Maine Community Foundation
- Maine Competitive Skills Scholarship helps workers learn new skills and succeed in a changing economy.
- Adult Degree Completion Scholarship supports adult students returning to college after an absence of 3 years or more and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree.
- Many schools also offer scholarships especially for the returning adult student. Check with any schools you are interested in attending.
Employer Benefits for Education
Many students continue to work while attending school. Some employers offer education benefits such as tuition reimbursement. Ask your employer if they offer education benefits and how the process works at your company (i.e. upfront payment or retroactive reimbursement).
If you have the opportunity to plan ahead, saving for college is a great idea and can potentially reduce your student loan borrowing.
Tax Benefits for Education
Take advantage of tax credits and deductions to lower the overall cost of attendance. The state of Maine and the federal government offer tax benefits for higher education.
Managing Student Loans
If you have student loans from attending college before, you may have questions about how to manage your student loans while you are in school.