College isn't easy, and finding money for it is a test in itself before you even start. If you need help finding money for college, make sure you're looking in all the right places. Let us direct you to some of the best and throw in some tips on what the best approach for you might be.
In Search of College Tuition Assistance?
The idea of coming up with enough money to pay for college can be quite intimidating. The good news is that there are a number of resources where it's possible to find funding for college if you know where to look and are diligent in your efforts.
Professional Association Scholarships
If you are a member of a professional association, there may be an opportunity to earn scholarship funding for yourself or your children. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, for example, provides $100,000 of scholarship funding to members seeking HR certification or studying for degrees in a related field.
Many of the organization's chapters fund Sons and Daughters scholarship programs, with funds going to children of members who are attending college. Find out what opportunities may be offered through any groups in which you hold memberships. Use Bright Hub's legitimate scholarship list by state to get started.
If you are willing to work your way through college, a co-op program may be a good choice for you. Speak with someone in the career services office at the college to inquire about the availability of co-op programs for students in your major field of study. If you qualify for this type of program, you'll alternate working a semester or quarter for an employer, then attending classes during the following term until you are able to complete your studies. While this type of program will likely increase the amount of time you spend in school, you'll earn money for tuition and gain valuable work experience. In many cases, co-op students are hired on as full time employees following graduation.
Workforce Investment Act Funding
If you are from a low to moderate income household, you may qualify for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding to pay for part or all of your college tuition. Federal funds are allocated to each state, where a local Workforce Investment Board (WIB) makes decisions about how funds will be allocated to fund higher education and training for qualified individuals who wish to work in targeted high demand occupations. For details about applying for funds, you'll need to start by identifying the state WIB for your area and inquiring about eligibility requirements and funding availability.
Federal Loan and Grant Programs
You can apply for federal student financial aid programs by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online.
This document is used to determine eligibility for Title IV student loan forgiveness programs, Pell grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), and Federal Student Work Study opportunities.
Home Equity Loan
For some people, the tax benefits associated with a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage make this type of funding opportunity the ideal way to find money for college. If you have equity in your home and good credit, it may be possible to borrow against that equity at a very low interest rate to pay for college expenses for yourself or your children. Depending on your specific financial situation, you may be able to write off the closing costs and interest expenses associated with the loan on your taxes.
Regardless of which option you choose, the money you spend furthering your college education is an important investment in your future. The time you spend searching for help in finding money will be worth your while. Preparing for your future can lay the groundwork for beginning a successful career that will provide you with both personal and financial rewards.