Funding a college education presents a special challenge for middle-aged students. Getting the financing you need will take time but with persistence and the right information, you'll find the help you need. Do as much research as you can online and inquire at the school you want to attend to turn up leads to grants, loans and scholarships.
Start at the school. The school loan officers are familiar with a great many opportunities such as loans, grants, scholarships and work study opportunities that you may be eligible for. They should be your first source of information because they have access to websites and other sources that you wouldn't be able to find on your own. Go in with a notebook and pen and write down whatever leads you get.
Fill out the required forms for the scholarship information service at Search4Scholarships.com. You can find these on the web. There are numerous qualifying questions because there are scholarships as specific as those for daughters of plumbers and Native American nursing students. Fill out every question completely. You can find their website address under Resources.
Write to your state department of education. They have a lot of information on scholarship opportunities for students from your state. There will be forms to fill out. Send them back promptly for the best results. Keep in mind that there are a lot of students who all need financial help, so act quickly on everything you do.
Check into basic opportunity grant money. This money never has to be paid back. It was set up to help lower income families years back but, due to the rising costs of a college education, middle income families are now eligible as well. Find a free guide to all government grants, scholarships and loans at fedmoney.org and 4grantmoney.com.
Check into all the student loan programs that you can. Sallie Mae is one of the biggest providers that offer student loans. Read about how student loans work, and the different types on loans. Secured loans have no interest attached to them, but unsecured loans do, though at a very good rate. College loans generally have better deals than anyone else lending money, so check them out for loans first. There are many sites for school loans to choose from but check out those listed below first.
Look to your employer. Many large companies and corporations offer educational assistance to their employees. Some offer scholarships, others will reimburse you for a passing grade in subjects or degree programs relating your job. If you belong to any organizations such as a professional organization, a union or a civic group, these may offer scholarships as well.
Track your work in a notebook. Write down what you do each day: record each call, the phone numbers or web addresses, the name of the contact person and the results. Keep it neat and organized. Date the entries and highlight the opportunities you like. If you apply for anything, date that and make a note if there has to be any follow up work done. Every time you do anything, grab this notebook. It will be a gold mine even next year when you may want to start again.
Sheila Wilkinson worked as an editor and writer for "The St. Mary Journal" and has published extensively on various websites. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies in the areas of psychology, sociology and English. Sheila owns an Internet bookstore.