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How to pay for school

I would like to go back to school, but I can’t afford it. Do you have any suggestions?

However you decide to pay for school, know that one thing is true: you are your best investment! According to a 2007 College Board study, people with a college degree earn $20,000 a year more than those with only a high school diploma. It is definitely worth it so let’s figure out how to help you pay for it!

For the adult learner there are a variety of options. You can pay as you go, meaning as you take classes, find appropriate scholarships, take out federal financial aid, or be really lucky in your employment allowing you to get employer reimbursement. All of these are legitimate options that most adult students will pursue as they move toward their college degree. Over the next couple of columns, let’s explore some in a little more detail.

For the adult learner, finding scholarships is not as easy as it is for a teenager coming out of high school. Most adult learners are working, while the average traditionally aged high school senior is not or at least not working full-time in a job that will support a family. Because of this most scholarships are aimed at the students with the most need. That doesn’t mean that you cannot find scholarships. I recommend talking to your church and other civic groups as many have scholarships for adults. You can also go on the Internet and visit sites such as www.gocollege.com for tips as well as links to scholarships.

Article written by: Dr. Cyndi Wilson Porter, Vice President for Extended Academic Programs at the University of the Incarnate Word.

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