Click here for an easy-to-read summary of great tips to improve your credit and financial position. Part VI of the guide Understanding Loans and Credit At Every Stage of Life
13 Ways Adult Students Can Pay for College:
Maximize your federal aid eligibility by reducing assets and paying down consumer debt.
Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st. You don't have to wait until you are admitted to a program to apply! This application also serves as the application for the Workforce Improvement Grant, a scholarship awarded to adult students based on financial need.
Research and apply for scholarships early. Scholarship deadlines can occur as early as six months prior to the semester for which they are intended!
Utilize community programs that offer assistance with childcare, rent, utilities, food, clothing, fuel, prescription medicines, and medical or dental care. This allows you to use money for college that would normally pay for these other items.
Ask about fee waivers. Many colleges will reduce or waive admission application, testing, or other fees for low income students.
Ask about tuition payment plans. Many colleges offer tuition or deferred payment plans.
Accelerate your degree program by taking college level proficiency exams, such as CLEP or DANTES, or departmental exams. Ask about the possibility of receiving credit for paid work experience, professional licensure, certification, military service or other training.
If you are working toward a bachelor's degree, consider taking general education courses at a community college where tuition is generally much lower.
Take advantage of distance learning opportunities in lieu of traditional campus-based classes where possible. Tuition for these classes is often much less.
Reduce the cost of textbooks by borrowing them from someone who has already taken your class or borrowing them from the library. If you must buy them, shop online for the best price or buy used books. At the end of each semester, sell them to other students or online instead of taking them to the bookstore.
Explore tuition assistance programs (TAP) offered to employees of larger corporations.
Take advantage of federal tax benefits, such as the Hope Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit.
Volunteer in your community through the AmeriCorp Program
One of your first steps in the college enrollment process is to contact the Financial Aid Department of the college or university you plan to attend. Inquire about any scholarship opportunities of which they may be aware in the community or in the school.
AARP Women's Scholarship Program - For women 40+ years by the application deadline. Priority is given to those who have not worked for more than five years or are working in low-paying jobs with no career opportunities and no retirement benefits and/or health insurance, or those who are raising the children of another family member.
Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation - Education Support Awards of up to $3000 each to assist low-income women with children who are pursuing education or training. Awards may be used for direct school expenses or for living expenses while you are enrolled in an educational program.
PEO Projects for Education - Need based grants for women in the United States and Canada whose education has been interrupted and has returned to school to support themselves and/or their families.
SR Education Group Scholarships - Offers a variety of monthly needs-based scholarship opportunities, such as Single Parent, Community College, Women's, and Military Scholarships. Students can apply to as many scholarships as they like, as often as they like.