The thought of becoming an adult student is stressful enough. Worrying about how you will finance the education should not be the biggest item on your list! There are many programs available to assist you with financing your education; you just need to know where to go for help.
The first step in the process should be a meeting with a financial aid officer at the school you are planning to attend. If the school regularly admits adult students, then the financial aid office will most likely be aware of financial aid programs geared specifically at older students. This may include institutional financial aid and private scholarships and grants aimed at providing educational opportunities to older students.
There are no age restrictions imposed with federal financial aid programs, including Federal Stafford and Perkins loans and federal grant programs. State grants may vary, but most do not have a maximum age requirement.
Many organizations offer scholarship opportunities for older returning students who are looking for ways to finance their education without assuming large amounts of education debts. Although many times, these scholarships are small amounts, they can add up quickly. Some may be one time offers of assistance and other programs will be renewable based upon academic and social performance.
Another excellent resource for older students is looking to their employers benefits package to determine whether or not they are eligible for financial assistance as a result of their employment. Most adult students who are returning to college seek a degree in order to make a career change or to better their performance at their current position. Therefore, it is becoming extremely common for tuition remission or reimbursement programs to be built into staff benefits packages.
Once you have exhausted these avenues for seeking educational financial assistance, you may need to consider some other financing options. A common trend is to borrow against the equity in a home, or to open an equity line of credit. Because every situation is unique, it is impossible to give an exact dollar figure for these options. However, the higher the value of your home and the longer you have owned it, the larger the amount of equity that is available to draw upon. Just be certain that you will be able to afford the added monthly expense, since there is generally no deferment while you are attending school.
There are many other resources available for adult students than most people anticipate. Student Loan Advisors can provide free, no obligation, information on private student loans for adults returning to school. A private student loan, which offers deferred payments, is available without any application deadline or maximum income guidelines associated with federal student loans.