Q: I Want to Go Back to College To Further My Education But Don’t Want Student Loans. How Can I Get Grants and Other Money So I Don’t Have College Debt?
A: There are lots of ways to go to school without taking out a ton of student loans. If you’re working, start by asking whether your employer has a tuition assistance plan. If not, begin aggressively seeking out scholarships for which you may qualify – based on everything from your gender and ethnic background to your major and certain hobbies you have.
Consult a good online database, such as http://www.FastWeb.com, which lists thousands of scholarships. Be persistent in finding grants too. Like scholarships, they don’t have to be repaid. Find grants via a specific department at the college you are considering, like the Business School or the Science Department. Also, the financial aid officer at any school you’re considering can tell you about Work Study opportunities to pay for college.
Work study programs – where you work, say, in the library or the computer lab and get paid or receive a discount on tuition – help minimize your school fees or the money you spend on room and board. Lastly, you could seek out paid internships to help you foot your college bills. In years past, students interned without pay, just to get valuable work experience and make connections. Today, with the high price tag of a college education, you don’t have the luxury of working free of charge. So seek out paid internships in your industry where you get a decent paycheck, along with work experience and access to professional colleagues and mentors.
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