Student Financial Aid

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Student Financial Aid

Table Of Contents

Looking For Low-Cost Alternatives3

Community College Versus Four-Year College4

Public Versus Private College Or University4

Types Of Financial Aid5

The Language Of Financial Aid6

Federal Financial Aid7

Institutional Eligibility: An Issue Pertinent To Distance Learners8

Federal Aid Programs9

Repaying Your Federal Loans13

State Aid Programs13

Private Sources Of Financial Aid14

Private Lenders14

Internships And Cooperative Education Programs15

Employer Reimbursement16

Locating Information About Financial Aid16

The Government17

The College Or University17

The Internet18

Print Directories19

Student Financial Aid

Most adult distance learning students solve the problem of paying for their education by continuing to work full-time and attending school part time. As one student put it, “I work and I pay as I go.” Although attending part-time does not cut the total cost of your certificate or degree, it does have the advantage of spreading your costs over a longer period and enables you to pay for your education out of your current income. Note, however, that attending school less than half-time will disqualify you from most forms of financial aid.

In this section, we'll discuss ways to pay for your education, both by looking for low-cost alternatives and by finding financial aid. We'll discuss types and sources of aid, where you can find information about financial aid, and the application process. Finally, we'll describe some of the tax issues that may be relevant to students pursuing higher education.

Looking For Low-Cost Alternatives

There are ways you can cut the cost of your education, even before you look for sources of financial aid. These include attending a community college rather than a four-year college and attending a public institution of higher education rather than a private one.

Community College Versus Four-Year College

If you are an undergraduate pursuing a bachelor's degree, you could consider enrolling at a community college for your first two years of study. Most community colleges charge less tuition than four-year colleges do. Toward the end of your second year of study, you can apply to a four-year college as a transfer student and complete your bachelor's degree there.

Public Versus Private College Or University

Since four-year public colleges and universities get most of their support from government funding, they are less expensive than private colleges and universities. Public colleges and universities usually have two scales for tuition and fees—one for out-of-state residents and a much less expensive scale for state residents.

With so much money at stake, and if moving is an option for you, it is definitely worthwhile to find out how you can establish residency in the state in which you plan to get your degree. You may simply have to reside in the state for a year—your first year of school—in order to be considered a legal resident. But being a resident while a student may not count, and you may have to move to the state a year before you plan to enroll. The legal residency requirements of each state vary, so be sure you have the right information if you decide to pursue this strategy.

Types Of Financial Aid

Before we get into a discussion of the various sources of financial aid, it would be helpful to ...
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