Finding the money to go back to school can seem like an insurmountable challenge. If you don't have the personal funds or an employer-paid tuition program, you probably have a dilemma of needing more education and finding the money to pay for it. Whatever your financial need, you can find free money to go back to school, upgrade your skill set and get the education you want.
Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This document will help you get grants, loans and work-study hours for subsidized jobs on and off campus. Have your tax forms handy--and your parents' tax forms, if you're a dependent--and use them to fill out the FAFSA online (this is free). You will receive a report detailing how much student aid you will receive.
Consider going to a free tuition school. Yes, they exist. Search online for "tuition-free colleges" to learn about the handful of colleges that do not charge a penny for tuition. You'll be surprised--and pleased--by what you find.
Find a job at a company that offers employer-paid tuition benefits. Simply working at a college typically allows you to go to classes for free. Or working at large corporations often comes with employer-paid tuition benefits as well, as long as the courses you take are related to your job. Find employers in your town, go to their websites and look under Employee Benefits to see which employers offer tuition benefits.
Go to your unemployment office. Even if you're employed, your local unemployment office can explain state programs for job training--and there may be college training programs that you can join. Many states have extensive job retraining grant programs for students to go back to school.
Apply for any scholarships you might qualify for. You can find a scholarship book at the library. There really is billions in scholarship money that goes unused each year.
Search for scholarships in your hometown.
Don't give up. Talk to financial aid counselors at the school you want to attend. They know more than anyone else about local and federal opportunities for free money to go back to school.
- Search for scholarships in your hometown.
- Don't give up. Talk to financial aid counselors at the school you want to attend. They know more than anyone else about local and federal opportunities for free money to go back to school.
Lea Barton has been writing since 1989, with over 2,000 articles in print and online for such publications as "Today's Parent," "Boston Globe Magazine", and Associated Content. She attended Harvard University's Extension School, completing courses in creative writing and German.