graduation cap atop pile of money

On average, it takes working adults around 18 months to make the decision to go back to school. During this time, they are considering whether they can balance work, family and school. They wonder if the momentary pain is worth the future gain. And, they’re not sure if they can even afford the cost to start a bachelor’s program, finish a bachelor’s degree that was started a while back or pursue a master’s degree or certificate. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

We have previously covered how to balance going back to school and how a degree may affect your earnings. Today, we will discuss how you can afford to go back to school. It’s true that college tuition can seem expensive and that doesn’t even include expenses such as textbooks or supplies. However, with these helpful tips and resources, you could see your tuition become much more affordable.

Financial Aid

Your first step should be to look into financial aid. Financial aid is money set aside by the federal government, state government, and institutions to help people pay for a college education. It is a loan that any student of any age can qualify for, and the application process is completely free. The beauty of financial aid is that federal loans generally have lower interest rates and better repayment options than those from private loans. There are also federal grants that can be applied to through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). So, before you go looking for any other conventional loans to help cover your tuition, see if you qualify for financial aid. You can apply for federal aid here: www.fafsa.gov.

Scholarships and Grants

Wouldn’t it be great to receive money to help you pay for college but never have to pay it back? If you think so, find some scholarships and grants to apply for. Though the majority of scholarships are for students graduating from high school, there are plenty of grants that are specifically for students over 30. You’ll find tons of scholarships to apply for online at sites such as FastWeb or Scholarships.com. You can filter through individual characteristics such as age, gender and location to help you narrow the search for grants or scholarships that you might qualify for. You can also check out our scholarships for alumni, military, and more.

Tax Credits

Talking taxes is never fun or simple, but qualifying for tax credits and deductions can help lower your overall cost of tuition. The Lifetime Learning Credit is the tax break most likely to be of use for adults returning to school part-time. The credit is equal to 20% of qualified education expenses, up to $10,000 for a maximum credit of $2,000. You can find out more about tax credits and deductions through any of the online tax websites, such as H&R Block or TurboTax.

Military Benefits

The military has some fantastic benefits for their service members. Benefits can include highly discounted tuition and fees, help with housing, or stipends for books and supplies. These benefits, of course, vary on many factors such as years served in the service and whether the service member is on active duty or not. Click on the Tiffin University Financial Aid section on our Scholarships page to learn about TU’s military discount.

Find the Right Program

Tiffin University specifically caters to the non-traditional learner who is looking for career-driven programs that can work with their busy schedules. We are an independent, non-profit institution that focuses on providing practical, industry-specific skills that can be used in today’s job market. We offer 37 regionally accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, criminal justice, education, humanities and arts and sciences.

You Can Do This

If you are still nervous about affording college, remember that there are plenty of options out there to help you reduce tuition cost. As a matter of fact, ninety percent of students that attend TU receive some form of financial aid. Also, picking the right college can make all the difference. At Tiffin University, we will work with you through the financial aid process, to choose the right program and stay on track to graduate. A college degree can change your career and your life – and now you know that cost doesn’t have to stand in your way.

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