What resources exist for financial aid for adults?

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Answered by: Kenneth, An Expert in the Continuing Education - General Category
Education is the key to success in today's competitive job market. Job seekers without a college degree face serious obstacles in advancing their careers in an increasingly technical world. Unfortunately, the cost of education has risen dramatically under the age-old law of supply and demand. So for many people, one question becomes paramount. How do I pay for my education?

This question is especially relevant for older students. Paying for college might seem impossible for parents who must continue to provide for their children, make the mortgage and car payment every month, and keep the water and electricity flowing. Continuing one's education under such conditions appears to be an unattainable dream. Happily, many resources of financial aid for adults exist. The key is knowing where to look.

The search for college money should begin with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Education provides millions of dollars in financial aid each year. This money comes in the form of grants, which do not have to be repaid, and loans, that must be repaid. The Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FASFA) covers both forms. The FASFA does make a distinction for older students, but in a good way. Older students do not have to include their parents' assets, and those monthly expenses that make college appear impossible are deducted from the contribution the prospective student is expected to make to their education.

Most states also offer financial aid for students. These are generally grants that do not have to be repaid. Best of all, there is no separate application process for state money. FASFA information is forwarded by the federal government to the student's home state, and eligible applicants will receive an award letter stating the amount the state will provide.

Many other sources of financial aid for adults exist, but a little effort is required to find them. Each year foundations and businesses offer vast amounts of money for college in the form of scholarships, grants, and internships. In fact, so many of these resources exist that prospective students could spend months trying to find them all on their own. Fortunately, several services are available that match eligible students with providers of private financial aid. While some agencies charge a fee for these services, several outlets provide this service at no cost.

Services like Fastweb and Scholarships.com offer students the opportunity to create an online profile that is used to locate resources for which the student is eligible. Again, some effort may be required to receive these benefits. Some providers ask the student to write an essay or submit an original work of art, but many resources require nothing more than a simple application form.

Today's competitive job market places a premium on education beyond high school. Working parents and people stuck in low paying jobs need not be left behind. The cost of obtaining new skills and knowledge may seem insurmountable, but the available sources of financial aid for adults make college an attainable goal for anyone willing to invest a little time and energy.

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