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What Financial Aid Options Exist for Adults Continuing Their Education?

I have an associate degree in business administration. I am interested in going back to school to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree so I can make myself more marketable and increase my earning potential. I have spoken to a few representatives from several online schools, such as Phoenix, Strayer, and ITT. My biggest concern is paying for my education. I have applied for financial aid, but I am close to my Pell grant limit and my only options are student loans and or scholarships. Are there any programs to help adult students?

You are taking the right steps and asking the right questions. Do continue to speak to various schools to see what financial aid, especially scholarships, they may have. Also, check with your local library to see if what resources they have for finding sources of financial aid. Additionally, try some of the online databases. For example, the Foundation Center can be helpful, and it occasionally offers free online access or you may find this resource at no charge in a library. Finally, put your associate degree to work. If you don’t have a current employer, seek out a full-time position that offers tuition reimbursement. You may be able to start your career and advance your education at the same time, leaving you with little or no cost for your education. This is called a career ladder approach. You may find some additional links in “The 7 Most Helpful Resources for Finding Your Major and Career” (7 September, 2012).

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