Everything You Need to Know About Paying for Career College
Are you interested in going back to school, but don’t have the funds to pay for it? Fear no more! You may be eligible to receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants or loans.
According to a study by Time Inc., many high school graduates do not apply for financial aid either because they think they are ineligible or because they simply don’t understand what it is. The study shows that, since so many students failed to file for FASFA in 2014, over $2.7 billion in aid was not dispersed. I’m here to help you understand exactly what financial aid is, what types of aid are available, and how you may be eligible to receive it.
Before we delve deeper into the 3 basic types of financial aid, you need to understand some general financial aid terminology.
- FASFA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the form you are required to complete every year prior to receiving any federal funding for college. You can fill this form out here. You will need to provide your most recent income tax return, bank statements and W-2s. Each state has its own deadline, so check with your school to make sure you don’t miss the deadline. It is recommended to apply quickly because some states run on a first-come, first-served basis.
- EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. Students and their families are required to contribute to the cost of college as much as they can. Financial aid is then available if you are unable to afford the total amount.
- Award Letter – Once accepted into college, you may receive an award letter which details what financial aid opportunities are available to you. The letter will provide steps on how to accept or decline the funds offered to you.
Option 1: Grants
Grants are often referred to as “gift-aid” because they do not have to be repaid. Yay, free money! The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of federal grants to people attending community colleges and career schools. Some of those grants include Federal Pell Grants and FSEOG.
- Federal Pell Grants are typically given to undergraduate students, and do not have to be repaid. According to Federal Student Aid, currently, the maximum amount you may be rewarded is $5,920. However, the amount you receive will be based off of financial need, cost of school and full or part-time attendance.
- FSEOG stands for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. It is rewarded to students with exceptional financial need. Also, according to Federal Student Aid, students may receive between $100 and $4,000 a year based off of financial need and how much other aid you’ve received.
Option 2: Scholarships
Scholarships are also considered “gift-aid” because students are not required to pay them back. However, rather than being based on financial need, they are merit based. Students must fulfill certain requirements in order to be eligible to receive a scholarship. Scholarships may be rewarded by the school, non-profit organizations or other 3rd parties. Check with your school to see available scholarships.
Option 3: Loans
The last type of financial aid available to students are loans. Sadly, unlike the others, loans are not free money. Students are required to repay these loans six months after graduation or when they stop attending college. So yes, if you leave school before obtaining your degree, you still have to pay your loans back. When a student takes out a loan, they are going into debt. A downside to loans is that they accrue interest overtime.
There are two types of federal loans a student can receive: subsidized and unsubsidized. With subsidized loans, the government pays the interest while you attend school. However, with unsubsidized loans, the interest will continue to accrue while you are in college, and will be added to the total amount to be repaid when you graduate.
No matter what your current financial situation is, don’t rule out going to college as a feasible option. You at least owe it to yourself to find out if you are eligible to receive financial aid!
Milwaukee Career College participates in a variety of financial aid programs to help assist our students in paying for their career training. For more information on our financial aid services and available scholarships, check out MCC’s Financial Aid.