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Student Aid for Adult Learners: Five Fast Facts

Whether starting college for the first time or returning to the classroom after several years, most students need some financial support as they pursue a degree. For some, that help comes in the form of tuition reimbursement or scholarships, but for many, federal financial aid is the most practical source of funding.

If you’re a nontraditional student, you might think you’re not qualified to receive federal assistance as you obtain your degree. The good news is that’s simply a myth. Your age, past financial history or what you’re studying have nothing to do with eligibility to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. Once completed, the FAFSA can open up a lot of financial options for you.

If you’re ready for Uncle Sam to show you the money, here are a few things you should know before you get started.

Who’s Eligible?

The FAFSA is your first step toward financial aid, and there are very few barriers to completing the application. In general, you must have a high school diploma or GED, demonstrate your need for financial aid, be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and be enrolled in a degree program at a college or university.

Grant or Loan?

Unlike federal loans, grants are a type of financial aid for undergraduate students that don’t have to be repaid — with some exceptions. Federal grants include Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants. A portion or all of your grant might need to be repaid if you withdraw from school mid-semester or if you don’t complete your service obligation for a TEACH Grant.

How Much Will I Get?

Each year the U.S. Department of Education distributes $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds. That’s an enormous amount of money, but the average financial aid package for full-time students totals about $14,800. Of course, your amount may vary depending on a number of factors, including how much your tuition costs and what you can afford to contribute to tuition.

What If I Have Bad Credit?

Life happens, especially as we get older. Luckily, your credit score won’t negatively impact your eligibility for federal student aid. The Department of Education doesn’t check your credit score when reviewing your FAFSA application — in fact, the application doesn’t even ask for it! If you receive federal funding, you’ll be charged a fixed interest rate that is the same for everyone, regardless of their credit score.

When Should I Apply?

The FASFA deadline changes with each academic year. To be considered for federal aid for the 2022-2023 academic year, be sure to complete your FASFA by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2023.

A college degree is within reach and affordable at Tiffin University, and with financial aid providing assistance plus potential scholarships and discounts, you can feel comfortable making the commitment. To learn more about financial aid options at TU, contact our admissions team.