How to afford going back to school

Consider scholarships, work study programs, tuition assistance and loans to help you afford your degree

When you’re trying to go back to school as an adult learner, the biggest question you might ask yourself is, “Can I afford it?” A college degree doesn’t come cheap, and you’re not alone in having this concern. The trick is to exhaust all of your financial aid options, and do it early.

Most federal and campus-based assistance programs don’t set restrictions on age, and whether you are a part-time or full-time student, you may qualify. The first thing you have to do is fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Applying for loans may seem daunting – you’re eventually going to have to pay those off – but they are often your wisest option because you don’t have to repay them until you’ve graduated, and hopefully, found a job.

Another valuable resource to consider is your current job. Do you work at an e-security firm, a school or an advertising agency? These offices could benefit by having more employees with a completed education under their belts, so take some time to see if they offer any assistance on going back to learn. 

Oftentimes, adult students already have a plan in place when they decide they’re going back to school, says Timothy Renick, chief enrollment officer at Georgia State University.

“The adults that return usually have a goal in mind,” Renick told Fox 5 Atlanta. “They either have a job – in which case an advanced degree might give them a raise or give them the opportunity for a promotion – or they’re looking to switch careers.”

If this sounds like you, then you can read up on what your options are and how to make the next step with the help of BacktoLearn.com’s Complete Adult Education Guide.