Financial assistance options for adults seeking higher education

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By: Ivanhoe Newswire
October 23, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Going back to college as an adult can be an intimidating experience for many reasons, but a survey this year found that the cost of that education is what kept 60 percent of adults age 23 to 55 from pursuing their degree, even though they wanted to.

Whether you’re switching careers, trying to stay competitive, or finally going after a life-long goal, going to college at a later stage in life can have financial challenges.

“Make sure you understand what the college offers in terms of merit scholarships or need based financial aid,” said John Haller, a college financial advisor and VP of Enrollment Management at the University of Miami.

For financial aid outside of the college, turn to collegescholarships.org, which allows you to search out millions of grants and unknown scholarships based on your age, work experience, ethnicity, religion and more, like scholarships for left-handed people. There are also loans, but be careful!

Haller said, “What are the repayment obligations, what's the timeline, what is the interest rate on those?”

You can turn to websites like finaid.org or edvisors.com to search for student loans with no age limits that even part-time students can apply for. Under the new tax law, student loan borrowers can still deduct up to 25 hundred dollars of the interest they paid directly from their taxable income.

One of the simplest ways to save money is to check out options at your community college. Some offer incentives such as free tuition for adult learners nearing their retirement age, or credits granted for real-life experience. Some tempting options that you should likely shy away from include home equity loans or dipping into your retirement savings. The problem with tapping into your 401K is that the funds will need to be repaid or you face a ten percent penalty.

Adults going back to college need to also take advantage of the FAFSA, that’s the free application for federal student aid. Go online and fill it out. It’s a one-stop-shop to see if you qualify for federal, state and college aid money that you won’t have to pay back. One study found that $2.9 billion in Pell grant money was left unused simply because students did not fill out the application.



 
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