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Costs of an Education Degree
No matter how much you enjoy children or teaching, the first thing a potential student is concerned about is funding their own education. As the requirements for teachers are getting higher and higher, spending money on teacher education can seem like a move in the wrong direction if you don't have the right information. The fact is that paying for a teaching education really couldn't be any easier than it is right now. But before we get to paying for a teaching education, let's look at the cost of one.
For the sake of simplicity and common sense, we will assume that the beginning student will attend a community college. if you haven't considered that avenue, you should start to. Attending a community college to obtain your Associate in Education can cost you about a third of what a four year college would cost and it's quite likely that all your credits will transfer. In fact, if you take your education classes online at a community college, it's pretty safe to say that each class will cost you about $500 and earn you 3 credits.
On the other hand, if you take your classes at a four year college, your cost will be about $1500 per class. These costs are rounded off and include technology fees, books and tuition. Since this article is assuming that one will try to take the most economic route to college, we are going to assume that you take your classes online since that is the cheaper method. For this reason, the estimated costs don't include housing, food, gas or daycare. However, when your information is computed using the FAFSA, all of your costs are considered. This is a very important point to remember when applying for student aid.
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Grants to Teach
As state above, when you fill out the FAFSA and your financial aid office decides how much student aid you are eligible for, they consider all the elements you are paying for. This includes housing, food, daycare, gas as well as funds paid directly to the school.
For the sake of comparison, we are going to use the following scenario to explain specific costs. The scenario is that the student in question is an independent student with one child, no spouse and an income of roughly $17,000 a year. They are a full time student at a community college. The cost estimated to them based on this information is roughly $14,000. Of this $14,000, the student expected contribution is $0. This is because their income is so low compared to their cost of living and paying for college. This means that the student qualifies for $14,000 in financial aid. Essentially it boils down to the fact that the student has the potential to earn their own $17,000, qualify for another $14,000 and get an education. Since the education in this scenario actually costs about $4,000 a year based on a full time schedule at a community college, that's an extra $10,000 a year in the students pocket. Sounds good right? But how do you get this money and where does it come from?
There is such a great need for higher education and teachers to fill the roles of education in general, that specific grants and loan forgiveness programs have been created to fund these teaching programs. Many of these programs require only an average GPA and financial need in order to qualify. What could be easier? Let's take a look at some of these programs.
- The TEACH grant. This is a grant of federal funds dispersed through project TEACH. Each state has their own division to regulate these funds, but the federal requirements remain the same. Teachers are needed in specific areas such as math, science, low income schools and special education. To receive the funds of up to $4000 per year, you need only agree to teach for 4 years in one of these high need ares. This money never has to be paid back unless you decide not to meet the requirements you agree to. The grant is then converted to a low interest student loan. Also keep in mind that the TEACH grant pays for teaching degrees in all levels of education from Early Education degrees through college teaching degrees.
- Pell Grant. This grant is available to anyone meeting the income guidelines and pursuing some type of degree. As of 2009, the Pell grant pays up to $5350 a year for a full time undergraduate. Again, these funds never have to paid back.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity or FSEOG. This grant pays from $100 to $4000 a year based on financial need and enrollment status. In other words, the poorer you are and the more classes you take, the more this grant pays.
- Student Loans. I know, now you are saying "Hey I want to make money, not spend it!", but don't' worry...there is a program for that too! Since you can only receive as much in financial aid as it costs you to get an education, the thing to do is to take the maximum in grants and scholarships and supplement that with a loan. Student loans are not based on credit and have the lowest interest rates available. This means if you are a student not in default of an existing student loan, you qualify! As for paying the loan back, there is a student loan forgiveness program that pays back up to $17, 500 in student loans.
The bottom line is that there is so much money out there to fund a teaching education that you will actually have to turn down some of it! It's important to know that these funds listed don't even include the other funds available to those specializing in science, math or achieving high academic scores. What more reason do you need to pursue the career in education that you have always dreamed of!