Are you weary of your dead-end job? Tired of working hard but failing to climb the ladder? One of the biggest obstacles in the way of upward career-movement can be a lack of education. While you may be more experienced than newer employees, if you lack a degree, you may find yourself passed over on promotions.
So what is your solution? For many, the key to getting a better job or higher pay can lie with going back to school. However, for students who are looking at this option later in life, the responsibilities of home and family life may seem too great. Fortunately, there are many new options that offer financing for adults returning to school. Included here are a few ways to afford your return to college.
The simplest option for many individuals with responsibilities outside of work and school can be to attend college online. With many universities and degrees available, it can be surprisingly easy to find a program that suits your needs. Even if you do not want to take all of your classes on the computer, you may be able to find local colleges that offer part of your degree classwork online. This can save you time and money driving back and forth from college while still advancing in your knowledge.
Find Free or Low-Cost Programs
Depending on what kind of job you currently hold, you may find yourself eligible for certain job training opportunities from the state. Many states offer job training programs that are run through local colleges or independent facilities. Take time to fully understand what your major is going to be and how your local programs can work for you.
Apply for Scholarships and Grants
While you may believe scholarships are only for young people graduating high school, there are many options for those who choose to return to school later in life. The first step to receiving this funding is to apply for FAFSA at the beginning of the year. This will help you understand where you are in relation to Federal funding and you can apply for scholarships after receiving this result. While many private scholarships are geared for those younger than 25, there are over 50 scholarships only available to students who are over 30 years old.
Find Your Tax Breaks
You may be surprised to know that as an adult returning to school, you qualify for many tax breaks and incentives each year you are enrolled in higher education. The most common of these to be used is the Lifetime Learning Credit. This credit equals up to 20% of your educational expenses, with a limit of $2,000 returned to the student. You will have this credit directly removed from your tax liability to offer you a decreased tax rate each year.
Understand Your Employer Assistance
You may be surprised to realize that many employers are supportive of their employees returning to school. In some cases, they are so supportive, they will actually pay for your tuition in exchange for your continued service for their company. Often, if you choose to receive employer money, you will have to agree to work for them for a minimum amount of time following your reception of a degree.