Planning for College
It’s never too late to go back to school and earn a degree.
Some adult students are switching careers; others are getting a degree for the first time. Regardless of your circumstances, there are a few elements of attending college as an adult that differ from the process for a younger student.
Adult students are faced with a unique set of financial challenges. They may have both more financial commitments and a higher earning capacity which can push them out of the income bracket for much of the available federal aid packages. There are fewer scholarships geared at adult students than there are at high school students. Yet there are also a variety of resources designed solely for adult students, which can provide much needed assistance during this often stressful time and adults do have several advantages over their fellow students.
Use the following tips when planning for college to take advantage of opportunities for adult students:
- Your employer may be willing to pay for part of your tuition, especially if your degree is related to your current position.
- There are specialized scholarships aimed at adult students that can assist those going back to school. Check with the college’s financial aid office to find out if they offer any special scholarships that you are eligible to apply for and do research online at large scholarship sites such as FinAid.
- Many scholarships have no age limit so adult students should apply for the same scholarships as their younger peers. You can use many of the same resources and have the added benefit of years of work experience to enhance your applications.
- Find out if your college allows adult students to audit their classes for free. This can help you test out of prerequisite courses and lessen the total cost of your degree. Auditing classes is a great way to balance part time college coursework with full time employment as you are not penalized for missing classes or skipping coursework.