Financial Aid Office
The first place to go to is the schools financial aid office. They have a lot of information there about the scholarships, grants and state and federal aid options as well as a lot of applications you can fill out. You should visit it and see what aid you qualify for. In some cases you may not even realize it but you may even be able to go to college without paying a dime. It all depends on the school of your choice, the requirements that you meet and how much money you are able to get.
The financial aid office will also give you information on loans available to pay for your school, but you will have to think about how much deb you want to go into and if a job will be available when you graduate to pay it back. Loan repayment options have become a bit easier and loans which are backed by the federal government are the best that you can use. If you do not want to take on a lot of debt you should think of the public schools in your state which are usually a lot more affordable than the private options.
Grants And Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are the best ways of paying for college because you never have to repay them. Federal grants come from the government and they are available to students that meet income and academic requirements. You should always apply even if you do not think that you will qualify because you could end up surprised when you do.
Scholarships are available to students for many reasons including academic achievements, extracurricular activities, athletics, minority aid, church or club membership etc. You should look at all the available scholarships and make sure that you do not qualify before you decide not to apply for it. Some scholarships are available for adults to go to college and complete their studies. You can search online for the many options or you can check at your local library.
Some employers will pay for your studies in some cases even if it is not related to the job you now have. It is more common for employers to pay or give you some help to go to a university if your course of studies is job-related and if you agree to spend some time in the company after you have completed your studies. The bigger companies are usually the ones that offer such benefits and they will make it very public so that their employees can take advantage of it.
Some of the companies that offer such benefits include UPS, FedEx, Chevron, Chase, Apple, Lockheed Martin, Verizon, McAfee, Starbucks, Dell, Google, Home Depot, US Airways and others. It is important to understand that not all costs are actually covered by every company, but every penny counts. If you are working for a company that pays or gives some help to pay for tuition then you should try to take advantage of that. Such companies are rare today, but they are still there to make their employees better.
A lot of people will not want to touch their 401K accounts to go to college or for anything else for that matter. That is because they do not want to use the money saved for their retirement. While usually that is a great way of thinking, you may need to consider of a couple of things before you reject the idea all together. Think of how much money you are making now in your current position and how much you would make once you have a college degree. If the difference is enough then it is possible that using such money is actually a very smart investment. Of course whether you can use the money for that purpose depends on the plan that you are investing in.
Another thing that you need to consider is the penalty that you will have to pay if you make a withdrawal. The good news is that when you take the money out you are giving a loan to yourself and that means that any interest that you pay when you repay the loan will also go into your account.
If You Are Still Not Finding The Money
Some people who want to go to college will not find money that they qualify for right away. The next best thing is to go to a community college instead as they are a lot more affordable and get the best grades you can possibly get. Once you have completed a semester with good grades it becomes a lot easier to qualify for scholarships or other financial aid. Also remember that though a community college does not necessarily have the prestige that a full-time school has it is still a lot better to have a two-year degree than to not have one at all.
Public schools also tend are usually more affordable to residents of the state so you can also opt for one of them. There are plenty of public schools that are not as expensive but are still ranked higher than most private colleges. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the only degree that is worth anything is one from a private school. Some people think that forgetting that Berkley, UCLA, the University of Virginia, Michigan, Georgia Tech and the University of Wisconsin are all public schools. Start your program and be exceptional in your results and you will eventually get free money to complete your studies.