TR i O
• • • • • • Paying for school can be challenging. As a nontraditional undergraduate, you need to ensure that the cost of school does not also put a strain on your ability to fulfill your personal financial responsibilities.
Fortunately, you have many options. How to Pay Minimizing Your Debt Maximizing Your Investment Budgeting
• • • • There are many resources available to help nontraditional students pay for school. If you are considering getting more education, here are a few things to do to get help with financing:
Search the Web for scholarships.
Very few scholarships have age restrictions. So you are able to apply for the same scholarships available to traditional students. And you don't need to pay back any scholarship money as long as you meet all of your obligations.
For a good place to start, join http://www.fastweb.com/ on your personal profile. Fastweb at find scholarships based
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Submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
The FAFSA is your ticket to federal financial aid, including federal grants and federal loans.
The FAFSA application can be found here: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov
Federal grants—Always pursue grants before loans, since you don't need to pay grants back as long as you meet all of the obligations. Nontraditional students are frequent recipients of the Pell Grant and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which are both need-based. If you already have a bachelor's or professional degree, you are not eligible to receive these grants.
Federal Loans---If you have to borrow federal loans are the way to go. Be aware of what you borrow they must be re-payed.
The financial aid office is a great source of information and support. They can help you find scholarships and federal aid. Plus, they will know about any school-specific programs that you may qualify for.
Check out ISU financial aid office at http://www.isu.edu/finaid/
It goes without saying that the best way to minimize your total debt is to take on as little new debt as possible. But that may be difficult to do if you're planning to return to school.
Before you commit to more schooling, take a close look at your finances and take what steps you can to keep any additional debt low:
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Pay down any existing debt.
High credit card balances and other types of debt can really put a strain on your budget. Before you add on new school debt, try to pay down any existing debt you have. The more you are able to get your finances in order, the easier it will be to develop a budget that is within your means.
Compare total program costs.
Make sure you look at the big picture when it comes to the cost of school. Tuition—the largest expense—will vary from school to school. But in addition to tuition, you need to consider the costs of books and transportation and other necessities, like daycare. Only when you factor in all costs can you make an accurate comparison.
Always look for "free" money first.
If you need to get additional funding to pay for school, first look for money that you do not need to repay (such as grants, scholarships, and tuition assistance). The more "free" money you're able to get, the less debt you'll have when you finish your program.
Pay your bills, including your loans, on time.
If you take out loans to pay for your additional schooling, make sure you are prepared to pay them back when you enter repayment. Late payments can have penalty fees and can wreak havoc on your credit score. A simple way to achieve financial success is to pay all of your bills on time.
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Borrow only what you need
Remember, you MUST pay back student loans. So borrow only what you need to cover your costs, not what you are eligible to receive. Be an informed consumer and don't get in over your head.
Anticipate your future income
Keep in mind your employment and career prospects: A good rule of thumb is to not borrow more for your education than you intend to make in your 1st year out of school.
Choose a major in your career
Education and experience within the same field make you a very attractive candidate to employers. Not only will this combination open more doors, you'll have more opportunities to advance. (Be sure to choose a major that interests you, however. It benefits nobody if you major in a field that you don't like.)
Get good grades
Many perspective employers may request your GPA, also repeating courses can be costly. Scholarship eligibility is also linked to good academic progress.
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No matter what your financial situation is, the key to effective budgeting is always the same: Don't spend more than you make. Easy enough? If you're like most people, it's not easy at all.
When you return to school, take the steps necessary to
minimize your debt
and financial responsibilities.
maximize your investment
, as discussed earlier. You will be better prepared to take on the additional costs of education without neglecting your other With a solid budget in place, money will be one less thing to worry about as you focus on your studies.
Once you have completed this workshop complete and print. Turn in with your application and schedule an appointment with an Advisor.
I verify that I have completed the online workshop on Paying for College for the TRiO Educational Talent Search program. ___________________________ Student Name (printed) __________________________ Signature ___________________________ Date __________________________ One way to minimize debt