Paying for College: 5 More Ways

By Celeste Stewart

Earning a college degree is a terrific investment, but the thought of funding that down payment on your future can feel terrifying. If you’ve heard horror stories of graduates racking up thousands of dollars of student loan debt and fear the consequences of making the wrong choices yourself, rest assured that many options exist for paying for school – more than you may realize.

In fact, here are five possible resources you may not have considered:

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Imagine skipping introductory college classes by taking an exam that certifies your existing knowledge and rewards you with college credits. Successfully passing CLEP exams can put you that much closer to earning your college degree while shrinking your final college tab.

Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Before you take out a student loan, schedule a chat with your employer about your college plans. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement programs to employees who pursue a work-related higher education. Some of the most popular companies that offer this perk include Home Depot, Starbucks and Staples. It could also pay to check with your spouse’s and parents’ employers, as some organizations, such as the U.S. military, extend educational benefits to immediate family members.

Random Government Programs

State and federal government programs exist to help students of all ages pay for college. For example, states such as Connecticut, Indiana, Hawaii and Tennessee waive college tuition for senior citizens attending a public college or university in the state. Another program asks if your current job was outsourced overseas. If so, you may qualify for the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which pays for over 100 weeks of career training.

Professional, Service and Charitable Associations

Join an association (or complete an application from one), and it could open the door to tuition assistance and scholarships. Here are just a few examples:

  • In 2010, the NATA (National Athletic Trainers’ Association) Foundation awarded over $131,100 in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral scholarships to its members.
  • The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation regularly awards scholarships to women age 25 and older.
  • Jaycees, Rotary International and Kiwanis International all offer various forms of scholarships or financial assistance to members.
  • If cancer has touched your life and tapped out your family’s financial resources, you may be eligible for a scholarship from the American Cancer Society.

Industry-related Scholarships

Some industries, including nursing and teaching, help combat projected personnel shortages by providing attractive educational benefits in exchange for future service. For example, the Nursing Scholarship Program pays tuition, required fees, book and other reasonable expenses and a monthly stipend of over $1300 in exchange for at least two years of service at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses.

These are just a few of the lesser known ways to pay for college. Sure, it takes a bit of digging to uncover the funds, but your resourcefulness could pay off. Speak with an enrollment advisor to learn more about funding your online degree.

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