If you've been thinking about going back to school as an adult, you're in good company. Surprisingly, 40% of all college students are over 25 years old. Whether you never went to college, have some credits but never graduated, or already have a degree but want to obtain another one, you have options as to how you can afford to go back to school at an older age.
One option is to apply for scholarships. When you think of the word scholarship, you may picture younger people applying for these financial awards. However, many organizations exist that provide scholarships for returning students. For example, HonorSociety.org scholarships are available for non-traditional students, such as older adults. This specific non-profit also offers memberships, which provide access to exclusive member scholarships, as well as career tools and health discount plans. Becoming part of a community can help you build relationships, expand your network, and achieve more.
The scholarship essay can be one of the most difficult parts of the application process which is why statement editing can be useful. It's your chance to make a case for yourself and to show the committee why you deserve to win. The essay requires quite a bit of thought, time and effort. Academic proofreading services will help you bring your essay to the ideal.
Another obvious and popular option is to take out a student loan. There is no age limit for applying for these, so just because you are older, don't skip over this option. Typically, federal student loans will have lower interest rates and easier repayment terms, so explore this option before taking out a home equity loan or using a credit card, for example.
Almost 60% of people taking college classes do so while working. If you're employed, depending on where you work, you may be able to take advantage of an Employer Tuition Assistance Program where your employer helps pay for your college tuition. There are many factors, such as how much your employer might cover, what types of classes would be eligible, and if you'll be required to stay with your employer for a certain time period after you're done classes. Check with your HR department for more details.
Additionally, you may have heard about a 529 plan. Perhaps you even set one up for your child. Many people are surprised to learn you can set one up for yourself. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage savings for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary...but you can be both the account holder and beneficiary.
All of the above are ways to help secure funds to pay for tuition, but before you explore those options, it's helpful to know exactly how much your tuition will be. And being an older adult, you may have some advantages here! Many schools offer free or discounted classes for older adults, so it's worth your time to contact the school directly and inquire about what they offer.
As an older adult, you may still be working, but perhaps instead you're nearing retirement or are already retired. This point in life is often a perfect time to return to school. Retirees may enroll in college to learn a new field purely out of interest, or they may want to obtain a degree in which they can use for a part-time or remote job during retirement years.
Lifelong learning is so important and offers many benefits, so if you have the itch to go back, don't let financial reasons stop you from exploring your options! Whatever your reasons for returning to college, there are options that can help you foot the bill. You just need to plan ahead and do a little research before you begin your journey!