Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

What is an Unsubsidized Student Loan?

An unsubsidized loan is a type of federal student loan for college or career school. The unsubsidized student loan means once loan funds are in a borrower’s account, the interest starts accruing while you’re in school and after you leave. Borrowers are responsible for the whole amount from day one through the life of the loan. This includes when you’re in school and during grace periods. 

As far as repayment options go, a borrower may choose to pay the interest charged each month. You may also allow it to add onto the outstanding principal amount in which case it adds to the total cost of the loan. A recent Sallie Mae study found that 3 in 10 students use loans from the federal government to pay for college.

What are the differences between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans? 

Subsidized vs unsubsidized student loans differ in who they are for, how to qualify and the interest payments. 

Who they are for: Unlike Subsidized Direct Student Loans, unsubsidized loans (also federal loans) do not require a borrower to have financial need to qualify. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. However, only undergraduate students with financial need may be eligible for a Direct Subsidized Loan.

How to qualify: Unsubsidized loans are typically available to graduate and professional students too. Because they do not use financial need as a criteria, they have different terms regarding interest. 

Different terms regarding interest. A Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is also called subsidized Stafford Loans. The U.S. Department of Education may pay the interest for you for the following periods: 

  • while you’re in school (at least half time)
  • for the first six month grace period after you leave school
  • during a period of deferment 

This effectively could waive the need to pay back the interest during those time periods. Once you start your repayment plan the government may stop paying that interest. As a result, you must repay the original loan amount plus interest which begins to accrue from that moment.

Should I pay off unsubsidized or subsidized loans first? 

Your priority should be to pay the direct unsubsidized loans first because the interest accrues over time. For instance, let’s say you don’t pay the interest while you are in school. Then, each new month of interest starts to add to the loan balance. As the balance grows, the amount you pay interest on also goes higher. If you are a recipient of an unsubsidized loan, you may want to contact your loan servicer to set up a payment plan. Making these smaller installments is a way to keep the interest from adding to the principal balance of the loan.

How Do You Apply for Unsubsidized Student Loans?

To apply for an unsubsidized student loan, you may need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Once it’s submitted, schools use the information from the FAFSA to make any financial aid package that they send you. To be eligible to fill out the FAFSA, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non citizen with a valid Social Security number. You also must meet other requirements:

  • Registered with the Selective Service if you’re a male student
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
  • For Direct Loan Program funds, be enrolled at least half time
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress 
  • Attest you are not in default on any federal aid (including loans and grants)
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent

When you are ready to complete the FAFSA, you typically use your Social Security Number to create an FSA ID, username and password. If you are a dependent student, you also need your parents’ SSNs in order to electronically sign the form. 

You must also have the following documents ready when filling out the FAFSA. 

  • Your driver’s license
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must be an eligible non citizen and provide your Alien Registration number
  • Federal tax information for you and your spouse if married or for your parents if a dependent (IRS W-2, IRS 1040, foreign tax returns)
  • Records of any untaxed income (child support, interest income, veterans non education benefits for you and for your parents if a dependent)
  • Information on cash, savings and checking accounts (stocks, bonds, college 529, real estate with the exception of the home you live in.)
 

Who is Eligible to Receive Unsubsidized Loans?

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are for eligible students enrolled at least half time at a school that takes part in the federal direct loan program. Unlike subsidized loans, the unsubsidized student loan are available for

  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • Professional students
  • Dependent undergrad students (if your parents are ineligible for a Direct PLUS Loan)

Let’s say your financial aid package includes federal loans, your school could tell you how to accept the loan. For first time borrowers this is a two step process. First, you go through entrance counseling. This is a tool to ensure you understand the obligation to repay the loan. Second, you sign a loan contract called a Master Promissory Note agreeing to the terms of the loan.

How Much Can You Borrow in Direct Unsubsidized Loans?

Your school determines the amount you may borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive. The school also sets the loan type(s) if any as well as the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow in any academic year. 

That said there are annual loan limits and total amounts that one may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). These limits reflect what year of school you are in and your status as a dependent or independent.

Unsubsidized Annual Loan Limits

The following loan limits may vary over time according to the Federal Student Aid.

First Year Undergraduate: Ranges from $2,000 to $6,000 with a total limit of $5,500 to $9,500.

Second Year Undergraduate: Ranges from $2,000 to $6,000 with a total limit of $6,500 to $10,500.

Third Year and Beyond Undergraduate: Ranges from $2,000 to $7,000 with a total limit of $7,500 to $12,500.

Graduate/Professional (Independent students): You may borrow up to $20,500 each year. 

Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits 

Dependent (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans): $31,000

Independent undergrads (and dependent undergraduates whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans): $57,500

Professional and grad students: $138,500

How Does Interest Accrue for Student Loans?

First off, interest (which you pay to a lender) is the cost of borrowing money. It is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount. Any loan fees associated with your account may also impact the interest that accrues. Direct loans are daily interest loans which means that interest accumulates or accrues daily. Any unpaid interest you are responsible for and do not choose to pay may add to the principal (capitalized). As for interest rates, these are fixed for the life of the (federal) loan. But, do vary by type of borrower and loan as well as the loan disbursement date.

The following shows the interest rates for federal loans first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2024.

  • Undergraduate borrowers: 5.50%% for Direct Subsidized Loans / Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Graduate and professional borrowers: 7.05% Direct Unsubsidized Loans only
  • Parents, graduate and professional borrowers: 8.05% Direct PLUS Loans

All variable and fixed rates may vary over time.

How Do You Pay Back Direct Unsubsidized Loans?

Once you graduate, leave school, or are no longer enrolled half time, you may have a six month grace period before you begin to pay back your unsubsidized loan. During this period, your servicer should notify you of your first payment due date. Payments are usually due monthly. However, there are a number of different repayment plans available. We go into more depth on that topic on our Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans. 

Why You Should Consider Borrowing Federal Student Loans?

If you must take out a student loan for college, you are likely determining whether to borrow federal vs private student loans. Keep this in mind, remember to borrow only what you need, be clear on what you have to pay back and set a budget. Here are a few things to consider as you make this important choice.

1. Federal loans tend to cost less. 

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau private loans from a bank tend to have variable interest rates which means interest and payments may go up over time. In contrast, the interest rate on federal loans is fixed.

2. Federal loans may be easier to repay.

When it is time to repay, private loans may not offer as many options to reduce or delay payments. You don’t have to begin repaying your federal loans until after you leave college or drop below half time enrollment. There are also various repayment options if you are having trouble making a payment.

3. Federal loans typically don’t need a credit check.

In order to receive a private loan you are likely to need a cosigner or credit check. If you don’t have a cosigner or a great credit score, you may not qualify.

4. Federal loans may offer larger amounts.

If you are a qualifying graduate or professional student, you may borrow up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans. For qualifying undergrads, the maximum amount you may be able to borrow each year in Direct Unsubsidized / Subsidized Loans ranges from $5,500 to $12,500 per year.

Sponsorship for International Students

International students hoping to study full time in the United States may find several ways to do so. Many students need to pay for their college education out of their pocket. Sponsorship for international students could help cover the high costs of higher education.

Many U.S. student loan programs and grants are typically available only to U.S. citizens. Some may have some opportunities for students, but these are generally not from the government. A financial sponsorship can may come from a variety of sources. The key benefit here is that the sponsor typically helps to cover some or all of the student’s expenses.

What Does It Mean to Sponsor an International Student?

Sponsorship for international students are usually from a group or organization that agrees to help pay for the student’s costs. It may be an individual. It may also be a company or an agency. This party is typically willing to offer money to the student. The funds may be used for books and tuition. Sometimes it may help cover living expenses if attending a US college.

Sponsorships may be very valuable. It is typically hard to find. Students who secure it may be able to make their dream of getting a higher education in the U.S. possible. There are may be a few things to keep in mind about them, though. The funds usually have to be available right away. Schools will may not wait for funds to become available later.

A student who may have the expectation of employment cannot use those promised funds to pay for education. Rather, they must be able to make tuition payments. More so, they often have to show financial support is available for various degree programs.

Students interested in these funds should work with organizations willing to offer a sponsorship. Many schools publish a cost of living estimate each year. This info may help you make decisions about how much funding a sponsor may need to provide. These expenses plus the cost of tuition and fees can may be a good estimate of the funds needed from the sponsor.

Do International Students Need Sponsorships for Internships?

Students who plan to study and seek employment opportunities in the U.S typically need to have a sponsor for it. Many students may also need to have J1 Visa. This student visa may allow a student to enter into training programs while they are an intern.

To get this visa, students must first apply for a J1 Visa sponsorship. This is done through the U.S. Department of State. It is also done through a state department sponsored organization.

Sponsorship for international students looking for internships could be confusing. In short, students must typically apply with a program sponsor. These sponsors are usually responsible for selecting those who will enter into the J1 Exchange Visitor Program. They may then provide support to the student while they are in the U.S. A person may apply for the J1 Visa sponsorship. Then, they may need to provide documentation for their visa.

This is called the DS 2019 Certificate of Eligibility. The next form is the DS 7002 Training and Internship Placement Plan. This document likely requires all of the details of the process. It typically includes where the student will train. It may includes information about when they will hold the internship.

It may also require the student to provide information about the employer host. Students can may apply for this through their Consulate or Embassy whether first year of beyond. No visa is granted without these documents. This makes it important to get this information completed properly. This process is required for all who plan to intern in the U.S.

Who Can Sponsor an International Student?

Many nonprofits, private organizations, and U.S. and international government may offer sponsorship for international students. It is typically difficult to obtain this type of support. Here are some organizations that may provide sponsorship for international students to receive an education.

U.S. Government Funding

Rarely it is possible to find support from the U.S. government. Many financial aid such as Pell grants are meant for U.S. citizens. There may be some funds for students from some companies. This may come through the U.S. Department of State. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development may help.

Some students may find funding this way. These programs control the student’s application process. They also may have very strict rules about the school selected. It will may also limit how the funds may be used. According to Education USA, students who qualify may get up to 100 percent of their tuition covered. It may be worth checking into either of these programs to find financial help. This is typically a good starting point.

 

Funding from an International Government

Some students may be able to secure funding from the government of their home country. This varies significantly. Some countries may help cover the cost of their citizens to study abroad. This may be done for experience. Sometimes it may be done to encourage students to get a more advanced education. They may also offer it if they do not have a program for the student’s interests.

A country’s Department of Education usually offers these programs, if available. Sometimes a Ministry of Education may also offer it. They may help find partnerships with U.S. schools. These partnerships can may be very lucrative. Students may qualify for a significant amount of funding if these connections exist. This may lead to free or reduced costs for education.

Sponsorship for International Students from Private Organizations

Another option for finding a sponsorship for international students come from private organizations. Many companies may seek out international students for key job positions. They may also offer scholarships for them. They typically want to build relationships between countries. Some organizations could want to create new avenues for untapped talent. There are many reasons private companies may do this including being a potential employer.

Often, companies may do this if their interests are tied to a country’s goals or economics. They may also set very strict rules for this. Students should learn what the company’s goal is before choosing this option. They may have very specific goals for the student after completing their course of study. Missions and values should generally align with the student’s goals as well.

These types of private organizations typically set the rules for where these funds may come from. It also includes how the funds may be used. Sometimes the conditions may tie the student to the private organization for years after. They may control many aspects of the student’s experiences.

Some organizations may cover all of the costs of the student whether you are part time or full time. That includes costs related to tuition and books. It may also include funds for relocating to the U.S. Some could offer internships as part of the program of study. If so, the J1 visa rules still apply.

Sponsorship for International Students from Nonprofit or Other Organizations

There are some nonprofit organizations that may help cover these costs. They may offer sponsorship for international students who wish to study in the U.S. Most often, these are companies located outside of the U.S. Some may do this if they will benefit from improved global travel or international between cultures. Many non government organizations have a goal or benefit in mind. Students should learn what these rules are.

They should gather information on the organization and its goals. Some of these programs could be somewhat limited. Many may offer to pay 100%of the student’s costs. This may include books, fees, and tuition. Some will also cover the cost of housing.

They may even provide a stipend to use for needs. It can be hard to find these types of organizations. Some are available through the education department. Most often, students need to have a working relationship with the organization. This may open doors for them to get this type of support.

529 College Savings Plan

529 college savings plan

For many students, it helps to have some funds set aside to help cover the cost of education. Financial aid may be available to those who are eligible. A 529 is a specific type of savings plan that may be a great fit for many people. It is important to understand what it is and how it works to determine if it is a viable route for your needs.

What is a 529 College Savings Plan?

A 529 plan is a type of tax-advanced savings plan. The goal of this type of plan is to encourage the saving for furniture education costs. These plans are sometimes called qualified tuition plans. They are sponsored by a state, a state agency, or an educational institution. They fit under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

In short, a person may wish to put funds aside into these plans now so that the named student may then use them later when they enroll in their education.

As a state-sponsored plan, the terms and conditions for how these plans are used differ in each organization. It is necessary to read through the terms and conditions for the plan you select within your state to know what to expect with them.

What Are Some Benefits of a 529 Plan?

The key benefit of this type of plan is that it is tax advantaged. That means that the funds are put into the account and allowed to grow there without having taxes levied on them. The hope is that interest builds on the account and grows its value over time. Then, when the student uses the funds for qualified tuition and other costs, they do not have to pay taxes on those funds as they are withdrawn. Limitations and restrictions apply.

What Are the Types of 529 Plans?

There are two types of 529 plans that you may elect based on availability in your state: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans. Here is a look at the differences.

Prepaid Tuition Plans 

This type of plan lets the saver purchase units at participating colleges or universities. Sometimes savers purchase credits. Many times, the participating colleges and universities are public or otherwise in-state institutions. Savers purchase those credits for future tuition and mandatory fees required by the school. They purchase them at the current prices for the listed beneficiary on the plan.

Prepaid tuition plans do not allow for the payment of future room and board costs at colleges or universities. Also, it is not possible to use those funds to prepay for tuition at an elementary or secondary school.

Many times, these plans are sponsored by the state governments. Savers and sometimes beneficiaries need to have residency in that state (requirements differ). These plans do not have any federal promise to them, though some states may promise the funds if paid into a prepaid plan that the state is sponsoring. This is not the case in all situations.

If there is a financial shortfall and there is no promise in place, the saver may lose some or all of the funds they put into the plan. Also, note that with prepaid tuition plans, the student may not receive as much of the funds saved for them if they do not attend a qualified and participating school within the plan.

Education Savings Plans

The second option is an education savings plan. It allows the saver on the account to open an investment account. The funds put into the investment account are meant for the listed beneficiary’s qualified higher education expenses. This may include the student’s tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board costs. In many cases, the withdrawals from these plans may be used to cover the cost of education at any college or university. In some cases, colleges and universities overseas may quality.

Students may apply as much as $10,000 per year per beneficiary to these costs. This may be at a public, private, or religious elementary or secondary school as well as colleges and universities.

With education savings plans, the saver may be able to select from a range of investment portfolio options. This may include exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. They may also elect a protected bank product.

These education savings plans are sponsored by state governments, though some have residency requirements for the saver and beneficiaries. Some states do not provide promises on these funds.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a few questions about 529 college saving plan options, take a look at these questions. You may find they offer some insight into the way these plans may work.

Who May Open a 529 Plan Account?

A 529 plan may be opened by a parent, grandparent, friend, or relative. In addition, it is possible to open these accounts on your own for your own savings for educational expenses.

Which states offer a 529 college savings plan?

All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor at least one type of 529 plan. In addition to this, there are some private colleges and universities that also sponsor prepaid tuition plans. You may wish to check with your state to learn more about the specific options available in your area.

These plans are tax-advantaged plans that are available across the country. States, state agencies, as well as some educational institutions sponsor these plans. This is done under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Are 529 plans only for kids?

No, it is possible for anyone to use 529 plans in the family, including you. These plans typically cover the educational expenses, including the cost of college or some types of post-secondary education. That includes the tuition costs for private and secondary school at a public, private, or religious school.

Also, note that the person who opens the account is called the account holder or sometimes the saver. The person that the account is named for – and who may use it – is the student or beneficiary. The account holder and the beneficiary may be the same person. In other words, you may be able to open this type of account for yourself.

What may I use my 529 plan assets for?

There are many ways that you may be able to use a 529 plan. Many times, these are used to save for educational expenses for the student, which may be any student in the family. There are a range of qualified education expenses that you may use for this. This includes tuition. The funds within the account may be used at any religious, private, or public school, including college, post-secondary education, elementary, and secondary schools.

There may be other types of qualified higher education expenses. This may include room and board as well as any mandatory fees, books, computers, and software. These are considered mandatory, not optional, purchases for education.

What happens to the funds invested in my 529 plan if my child receives a scholarship?

This may differ from one state to the next. When it comes to merit-based scholarships, the 529 savings plan does not have an impact on the amount of scholarship you may qualify for. These are not need-based scholarships. As such, they typically do not play a role in the use of a 529 plan.

Need-based scholarships may be based on a student’s financial needs. Having a 529 plan in place may reduce the amount of financial assistance provided simply because the student has those funds set aside. That may mean that you may not qualify for all of the need-based scholarships you would without those funds. Be sure to check with our state’s 529 plan to determine how this is handled.

Does investing in a 529 plan impact financial aid eligibility?

Each school treats the funds or assets in a 529 account differently. It is important to check with the details of the state plan to know the specifics. In many cases, investing in a 529 plan generally impacts a student’s eligibility for any type of need-based financial aid for their college education.

One key to consider about this is loans. Many times, for college education, a large part of the offering in a student aid package includes loans. By working to save funds through a 529 plan throughout the student’s lifetime, there may be less need to rely on loan loans that need to be repaid down the road.

What restrictions apply to an investment in a 529 plan?

Many 529 plans have some type of restriction on them. It is quite important for those who plan to use them to read through each of these individual plans to understand what their specific rules and restrictions are before making the decision to use them.

For example, there are often limitations and restrictions related to the underlying investments. Fore ample, some may have pre-set investment options. Many do not allow users to switch between options often. Current law states that account holders are only allowed to make changes to their investments two times per year or when there is a change to the beneficiary receiving the funds.

Another common restriction is on withdrawals. Often, those with a 529 plan may withdraw funds from the account for qualified higher education expenses or for tuition costs. This may apply to only elementary and secondary schools. If they do so outside of these limitations, there may be taxes and penalties to pay as a result.

How does investing in a 529 plan affect federal and state income taxes?

Those who invest in a 529 savings plan may be able to apply tax benefits. These vary at the state level. It is often necessary to work with your accountant to be sure that you are taking the correct course of action for applying these savings opportunities.

Both state and federal laws related to 529 plans may change over time. Be sure to understand the tax implications of investing in these plans by speaking to an advisor. Some states offer tax benefits for 529 contributions. This may include deducting contributions from state income tax. At the federal level, the withdrawals from the 529 savings plan are not considered income, and therefore they are not taxed when they are used for qualified expenses.

Average Debt in America

What Is the Average Debt in America Per Household?

The average amount of debt per household in the U.S. was $104,215 in 2023, according to a report conducted by Experian. That includes mortgages and vehicle loans. It is an increase of 3.4% over the previous year. The average debt also includes any loans and credit cards a person has. This often lumps student loans into the mix as well.

Another way to consider how much debt Americans have is to consider the amount of overall debt owed by all Americans. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in 2023, household debt across the county rose to $17.7 trillion. This includes mortgage debt as well as non housing balances. Of that, about $17.5 trillion in household debt, such as mortgage debt.

Overall, reports indicate that 340 million Americans have some type of debt, including mortgage and car loans. The Urban Institute notes that 64 million Americans have at least some credit card debt.

Why is Debt on the Rise in the U.S.?

There are many potential reasons why debt continues to increase. According to the Federal Reserve, a large amount of the debt consumers have is due to an increase in mortgage balances, thanks to the purchase of homes that cost more now than they did just a few years ago. However, it may also be due to the increase in inflation, which has reached a 40 year high in 2022, which means that many consumers are spending a lot more than they did before to maintain the same standards of living.

How Much Student Loan Debt Do Americans Have?

According to a report from Experian, the average consumer student loan was $38,787 in 2023. That decreased by -0.6% in 2020 from $38,792. According to White House data, the average student who leaves college with an undergraduate degree program has almost $25,000 in debt.

One of the reasons student loan debt did not increase as rapidly from 2020 to 2021 as it did in prior years is that the U.S. Federal Government put a pause on federal student loan repayment and interest rates. That, along with the hold on collections activity on those student loans, created a bit of a break for consumers on increasing student loan debt. However, for those individuals that did not pay down their debt during that break, it continues to be a component of their ongoing overall debt.

Why Is Student Loan Debt So High in the U.S.?

The cost of higher education continues to rise. According to White House information, the cost of both a four year private and a four year public school has tripled from 1980 through 2022. While many students may have benefited from Pell Grants, which used to cover as much as 80% of those costs, that type of financial aid only covers about a third of the cost of higher education now. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. That means more students are paying out of pocket or through third party loans to cover their overall costs.

 

Will Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Help with Debt?

The Student Debt Relief Plan provides loan forgiveness for qualified borrowers of up to $20,000. The program may help some families to see relief from debt up to the amount of debt forgiven. The amount may differ for each student.

How Many People Have Student Loans?

The White House notes that there are more than 45 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. That may account for both those who just left school and those who have been out of school for a long time. The reports also indicate that, of those who have student loans, about 16% of them are in default. That includes about a third of all senior citizens who still have student loan debt that they have not repaid.

Consider a few key figures:

  • 45 million people have student loans in the U.S.
  • About 16% of all student loan borrowers are in default
  • About 1/3 of all senior citizens still carry student loan debt
  • The typical Black borrower still owes 95% of their student loans 25 years after they graduate
  • About 66% of people who have a Pell Grant come from a family that earned under $30,000 per year.

What Type of Debt Do Americans Owe?

There is a wide range of debt types that Americans owe. They commonly include mortgage loans, credit card debt, student loans, and vehicle debts. That is a combination of secured and unsecured debt that’s impacting monthly budgets for many of today’s consumers.

Take a look at how much debt the average consumer had in 2023, according to the Experian data:

  • Mortgage Debt: $244,498
  • Home equity loans or lines of credit: $42,139
  • Student loans: $38,787
  • Vehicle loans and leases: $23,792
  • Credit card debt: $6,501
  • Personal loans: $19,402

Americans owe a wide range of debt types, and having various forms of debt is not in itself a bad thing. However, those with mounting debt could struggle to continue to make payments.

How Much Debt do People Have Compared to Income?

Using just a dollar amount to represent the amount of debt a household has does not necessarily mean it is unaffordable. Those with a higher debt to income ratio, though, may have more of a struggle to combat. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, In 2021, the overall debt to annual income ratio was 145%, which means that consumers had 145% more debt than they had income.

What Is Considered a Normal Level of Debt for Households?

The optimal situation is that consumers do not carry debt but instead pay off what they borrow each month. However, that is not always the case. There is no specific feature considered normal debt levels. However, the Federal Housing Association recommends having debt, including mortgage payments, under 43% of total income.

As noted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, lenders set their own expectations for debt to income ratios. Some may have a significantly higher threshold than others. In general, the lower this figure is, the more funds a consumer has to manage their monthly expenses.

Average Debt by Income Percentile

There are many ways to consider how much debt Americans have. One way to consider this is to look at how much debt families have compared to their income. The Survey of Consumer Finances provides some insight into this. It looks at the amount of debt based on the net worth percentile. It found that the amount of debt a person has increases based on their net worth.

Here is a look at how much debt people have based on their income:

  • Those who have less than 25% of their net worth in debt, the average debt was $66,940.
  • For those who have between 25% and 49.9% of their net worth in debt, the average debt was $89,070.
  • For those who have between 50% and 74.9% of their net worth in debt, their average debt was $132,520.
  • For those who have been 75% and 89.9% of their net worth in debt, the average debt was $412,650.

Which States Have the Lowest Debt and the Highest Debt?

There are some states with lower household debt than others. Debt amounts range widely throughout the U.S. The states with the least amount of debt include:

  • Mississippi
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Arkansas
  • Ohio

Some students have a higher amount of debt than others. The states with the highest amount of debt include:

  • District of Columbia
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • California
  • Washington

Are There Americans That Live Debt Free?

Without a doubt, there are many people throughout the U.S. that do not carry debt. That means they do not have credit card debt or even a mortgage. The number of people who do not have debt changes each year. However, the Experian study indicated that under 25% of all American homes are living without debt. That does not include people who only have a mortgage and no other debt.

What to Do If You Need Help with Debt

Many people who have debt struggle to make payments each month on what they owe. This is financially taxing and may be hard to overcome. There may be some resources to help you.

Student loan forgiveness

If you have student loan debt, learn more about the numerous student loan forgiveness programs that are available. You may do that at the Department of Education website. It may be possible to earn debt forgiveness, discharge, or cancellation of your debts.

Student loan defaults

If you have debt that is in default from student loans, The Federal Student Aid department at the U.S. Department of Education offers insight into what your legal options may be.

Student loan forbearance

It may also be beneficial to consider student loan forbearance. This may allow you to stop making payments for a short period of time. You may learn more about forbearance at the Department of Education website as well.

Other debt help

More information on repaying your debt is available at USA.gov. You may also find a wide range of debt supportive tools and education at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How Do You Get Student Loans Without a Job?

Get Student Loans

With a competitive job market, many people are wondering whether it is the perfect time to attend college. These students are unsure about present and future job prospects along with rising student debt. Also, you may not presently have a job. So you are unsure if you may be eligible for student loans without a job? Learn more about how to receive a student loan without a job.

Can You Get Student Loans Without a Job?

Getting a student loan without a job may be possible when you have a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who may be willing to make your payments. Private lenders will accept this payment arrangement. They are willing take on the financial risk when two people make payments. The recent COVID 19 pandemic has forced many businesses to close and furlough staff. This situation has forced students to worry about paying off their student loan debt. It may also force some students to postpone their college courses until the economy improves.

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted an student unemployment study in January 2020. Unemployed high school graduates made up 3.8 percent of the study. College graduates had a 2.9 unemployment rate during the same month. With these worries, students wonder how they may pay for their college expenses. Student loans without a job could fill in the gaps or pay the entire costs. Students may seek a loan from a private lender. You may also be eligible for federal aid if you qualify. Private loan lenders may offer student loans even if you’re unemployed or if you have bad credit history. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

How Do I Qualify for Student Loans Without a Job?

One way to qualify is to have a cosigner. Private lenders take into consideration a person’s employment history and credit history. This information allows lenders to figure out the amount of the loan. A cosigner is anyone who meets the eligibility criteria for the student loans without a job. The cosigner may be your parents, grandparents, or another family member. It may also be a spouse or family friend. The cosigner typically have to meet the following criteria:

Income minimum limits and debt to income ratios may vary between lenders. You may need a cosigner if you don’t have a job. Ensure that the cosigner is someone that you trust.

Can You Get Federal Student Loans and Private Student Loans Without a Job?

Both private and federal aid lenders may provide student loans to unemployed students. You should double check if you meet the eligibility requirements of each lender. 

What Federal Student Loans May You Receive Without a Job?

U.S. Department of Education will not review your credit report. The organization will also not check income history. They provide Stafford loans based on financial need. You also typically don’t need a cosigner. The only exception to this rule is if you plan to take out a Direct Plus loan with poor or no credit history. In these instances, you may need to have an endorser, which is similar to a cosigner.

Types of federal student loans that you may be eligible for if you don’t have a job include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: A federal student loan for undergraduate students. You may have to show financial need. The federal government will pay the fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: A federal student loan for undergraduate and graduate students. You do not need to prove financial need. This federal student loan usually has fixed interest rates for the life of the loan.

Federal student loans typically have lower interest rates. This option also provides more variable payment options than private loans. You need to fill out a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). Then you may send it to the eligible financial institution. The eligible financial institution may determine the amount of the federal loans.

 

What Private Student Loans Are Offered to Unemployed Students?

Private student loans may be available for unemployed students. You may need to have a cosigner to receive the loan. Citizens Bank and Sallie Mae may provide student loans. You may also seek out financial loans from a credit union. Private lenders may check your credit history and employment history for loan eligibility.

Other private lenders may check your future income potential instead of doing a credit check. This factor occurs when you don’t have a credit history or a co signor. Lenders understand that you may find employment after college. In this instance, you may be able to obtain one and submit a loan application.

How Do I Repay Student Loans Without a Job?

You may have to repay the personal loan using the funds from a savings account. The cosigner may also make monthly payments for you during your unemployment. Then you can take over the remaining loan amount or repay the cosigner. You could ask for forbearance or deferment for federal student loans. Forbearance may suspend your federal loan payments. The interest will still accrue on the loan as you will need to pay it later. Deferred federal loans will not accrue interest.

You may also qualify for loan forgiveness programs or an income driven repayment plan for federal loans. There might be less private student loan repayment options for unemployed students. Some student loan lenders may offer unemployment protection or economic hardship forbearance. You may check with specific loan servicers and student loan options. They may inform you about the length of their repayment term’s grace period. Also, don’t forget to check the repayment terms in the loan agreement which has the contracted interest rate. 

  • Loan Forgiveness Programs: Loan forgiveness programs may forgive the remaining loan amount. You may have to make a certain number of previous payments to qualify. Private loan providers typically do not offer loan forgiveness programs. Federal loan forgiveness programs include the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • Income driven Repayment Plan: An affordable payment program based on your income and family size. The PAYE plan applies to federal loans. Sallie Mae offers a $25 payment option while you’re in school and during the grace period.
  • Unemployment Protection/Economic Hardship Forbearance Programs: Some private lenders may offer deferment or forbearance programs. They’re available if you may experience unemployment or economic hardships. The Citizen’s Bank Student Loan offers deferment options. They may defer interest and payments for 6 months after graduation.

What Other Options May Help Pay for College?

You may try to pursue other financial aid options. Grants and scholarships typically do not need you to pay back the funds if you graduate. Yet, certain grants, such as a Pell Grant, may need repayment if you drop out of college. Other options may include:

  • Waiting to go to college until after finding a job
  • Placing the extra money into a savings bank account until you have enough for college
  • Obtaining a part time job, either online or at a brick and mortar establishment

The pandemic has caused increased economic uncertainty on a global scale. Many students are reconsidering their career options right now. You may select the loan options that best fit your current job goals. Then you could receive the desired degree at a great college.

FAFSA: Parent and Student Assets

FAFSA: Parent and Student Assets

Reporting Assets on the FAFSA

The FAFSA requires you complete sections regarding your family’s assets and net worth of investments. Many families are confused about what they should and should not include when responding to these questions. Here’s a simple breakdown of what you should and should not include.

What are Student Assets on FAFSA? What are Parent Assets on FAFSA?

Cash, Savings & Checking Account Balances

When asked to list your (and your spouse if applicable) and your parents’ (if applicable) current cash, savings, and checking account balances…DO respond with the combined amounts as of the date you are filing the FAFSA.  These cover parents assets on FAFSA. 

They ask you to report cash because some families actually keep sizable amounts of cash in safe deposit boxes or otherwise outside of banks.

Net Worth of Investments – Considered Assets

This is where the FAFSA gets tricky and sometimes confusing. DO include the following investments:

  • Real estate other than the home you live in
  • UGMA and UTMA accounts
  • Money market funds
  • Mutual funds
  • Certificates of deposit (CD’s)
  • Stocks
  • Stock options
  • Bonds
  • Other securities
  • Installment and land sale contracts including mortgages held
  • Commodities investments (gold, silver, etc)
  • Qualified educational benefits or education savings accounts such as Coverdell savings accounts, 529 college savings plans, the refund value of 529 prepaid tuition plans

DON’T include these investments as assets on the FAFSA:

  • The equity available in the home you live in
  • The value of life insurance
  • The value of retirement plans such as 401k plans, pension funds, annuities, non-education IRAs, Keogh plans, UGMA and UTMA accounts for which you are the custodian but not the owner

You will also be asked about the value of your businesses and investment farms. Business and/or investment farm value includes the market value of land, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, etc. However, business/farm value does not include the value of a small business your family owns and controls more than 50% if that business has fewer than 100 full time or full time equivalent employees.

Also, the value of a family farm does not include a family farm you (your spouse and/or your parents) live on and operate.

Remember also that the FAFSA is asking for net worth of investments–the value of the investments minus any debt owed against them. Debt here means only debt owed against a particular investment or in the case of a business or farm where the business/farm was used as collateral to secure the debt.

 

36 Companies That Pay For College

pay for college student loan

Looking for Jobs That Pay for College?

One of the perfect ways to pay for college is to find companies with tuition reimbursement. This has never been more important than now, with college costs on the rise. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the 2021 to 2022 academic year, average undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $26,000 at public colleges and $55,800 at private nonprofit colleges!

As luck would have it, there are quite a few companies that pay for college. They offer tuition assistance programs (TAPs) or tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit. Why would they offer such a lucrative perk to someone working? It’s really quite simple.

Many employers understand that this type of incentive may tempt you to work for and stay longer with the company. We know we’d feel loyal if someone gave us $12,000 for college. Wouldn’t you? If you have to work while going to school, consider looking into jobs that will help pay for college.

What is Tuition Reimbursement?

Tuition reimbursement is an employee benefit like healthcare, 401K and paid time off. It means a company “pays you back” or reimburses eligible employees a certain amount towards the cost of tuition.

Since the amount may not cover all higher education costs, another term for this type of program is tuition assistance. Also it is not part of your normal salary. But some companies set these funds aside to help their employees pay for college tuition.

There is no cap to the amount of an educational benefit. However, the IRS requires you to pay tax on the amount if over $5,250 as of 2021. Your employer then has to list the benefit as part of your income unless the amount is less than $5,250. As a result, many employers use this amount as a maximum payout.

How does Company Tuition Reimbursement Work?

Each company’s tuition reimbursement program may be different. It tends to reflect their human resource policies, company size and industry. It typically works by the employee paying upfront for their college classes. Then the employer may reimburse partial or full amounts when you complete the class or semester.

Smaller companies may offer to pay for college related to a salaried employee’s current job. So let’s stay you work in finance. Your company might only pay for the college credits needed for you to earn a CFA certification.

In comparison, larger companies that pay for college’s full tuition may be a great option. These programs pay for the four year tuition of an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree such as an MBA. Because many students work while at school, an online college degree may also qualify.

If a company does agree to pay up front there may be some fine print. For instance, if you fail or quit, your benefit may turn into a loan which you have to repay.

36 COMPANIES THAT PAY FOR COLLEGE

Check out these well known companies and their jobs that will pay for college.

1. UPS

Part time employees of UPS are eligible to receive up to $5,250 in tuition assistance per year, up to a lifetime maximum of $25,000. Eligibility begins on the date of hire. Also, many full time UPS employees started at the company as part time or non manager employees, including managers and executives!

2. PUBLIX

According to the company’s website, Publix reimburses the cost of college classes, technical training and online programs. Whether an undergraduate or graduate degree. The program is available to all associates. Any associate with at least six months of continuous service, and who works an average of 10 hours per week is eligible. Associates enrolled in a four year college may receive up to $4,000 annually, with a lifetime limit of $16,000.

Associates enrolled in undergraduate courses at a two year community college, technical program or individual course program may be reimbursed up to $2,200 annually, with a lifetime limit of $4,400.

3. WELLS FARGO

Wells Fargo offers several scholarships to children of employees, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 each. They also offer their employees up to $5,000 in reimbursement annually, for eligible tuition expenses.

4. SMUCKERS

Employees may be eligible for reimbursement of tuition costs for Company- approved college courses. In addition to that, they offer a scholarship program for children of employees. And also a lifetime supply of delicious strawberry jam! (ok we made up that last part…)

5. COMCAST

Comcast offers an Education Assistance Program. However, few details are available on their website.

6. STARBUCKS

Employees based in the U.S. working an average of 20 hours per week at any company operated store and who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree are eligible for the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

Introduced in June 2014, in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) this opportunity offers all eligible U.S. partners (employees) to earn their college degree with full tuition coverage. Employees may pursue ASU’s online degree programs for undergraduates.

7. VERIZON

All regular full and part time domestic Associates who work at least 17 hours per week may be eligible for tuition assistance at Verizon from their date of hire. Associates must be on the active payroll and not on a leave of absence when the course begins. They also have to stay on the payroll for the duration of the course. The job and location factor into your pay and benefits.

8. BANK OF AMERICA

Tuition repayment is available from the Bank of America. However there are few details on the website.

9. BEST BUY

BestBuy offers tuition assistance and discounts. Eligibility for these perks depends on work status, length of service and position within the company.

10. DISNEY

Disney offers 100% of tuition paid upfront at Disney Aspire network schools. The benefit applies to full and part time hourly employees.

11. Home Depot

If you like to do home improvement work, one of the companies that pay for college might include working at Home Depot. The company budgets $6,000 tuition assistance per year for qualifying full time associates, $3,000 per year if part time and $2,500 per year for immediate family members.

Home Depot selected Bellevue University to partner with them in this program. The university agreed to allow employees to defer payment to them until after they receive your education assistance. The school also allows those in the program to transfer in eligible college credits with no fee.

12. AT&T

AT&T employees may receive payback for approved education costs with the company’s tuition assistance plan.

13. WALMART

Wal-Mart partners with Guild Education to offer eligible associates a choice of flexible, online education programs from schools through their education benefit, Live Better U. For what equals $1 a day (or less!), eligible associates may get their high school diploma or earn a college degree. One may also study to prep for ACT and SAT classes, learn a language, or earn college credits with College Start.

14. CHIPOTLE

Through the program with Guild Education, Chipotle employees may pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees, take college courses, earn a GED, or study English as a second language. At last check, the company offered up to $5,250 per year.

15. AMAZON

For eligible employees, Amazon may pay up to 95% of tuition and fees (up to a yearly maximum) towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study, leading to a great career path.

16. MCDONALD’S

The fast food chain is not to be left out with it’s ‘Archways to OpportunityTM’ program. It aims to help anyone who works at a company owned or independently franchised restaurant. Programs are available to McDonald’s employees and the employees of independent franchisees. Student/employees may also improve English skills, work to earn a high school diploma (online too!) or college degree.

17. TARGET

Target is another of the larger companies that offer tuition assistance. If you’re eligible, the company may help pay for job related courses at an accredited college, technical school, or university. The annual max they reimburse reflects the type of coursework you enroll in. Other benefits include a GED reimbursement program and student loan refinancing.

18. APPLE

There’s an Apple University so it’s no surprise the company also covers some eligible formal education. As far as the eye can see the education must relate to advancing your career at Apple. Then, the company says it reimburses you for certain educational expenses, including tuition.

19. ORACLE

Oracle reimburses tuition fees up to $5,250 per calendar year for approved programs of study. Management approval is required.

20. RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES

Raytheon has interests in Intelligence, space, and defense. The company offers educational assistance for approved courses or degree programs and certifications geared to enhance skills.

21. FIDELITY

Fidelity offers student loan assistance as well as reimbursement on tuition.  According to Glassdoor, the company supports associates in pursuing a part time course of study toward a certain work related degree or certificate program.

22. PROCTOR AND GAMBLE

P&G offers a reimbursement plan. It allows full time employees to seek continuing education courses or programs related to their current or potential next assignment within the company.

23. DELOITTE

Deloitte offers a Graduate School Assistance Program (GSAP). It aims to send “high performing” consulting professionals to graduate school. GSAP participants receive full tuition reimbursement after two years of employment at Deloitte following graduate school. Once a graduate, Deloitte offers participants the option to return to the company as Senior Consultants. The program also provides a technology allowance after students leave grad school. And, the company negotiates discounts for grad school entrance exam prep classes as well.

24. BP

BP offers an Educational Assistance Program. It aims to assist employees in taking advantage of studies that will benefit both the employee and the company. Although the company may provide these benefits, it makes no commitment to promote, transfer or increase salaries by doing so.

25. FedEX 

FedEX subsidizes tuition for eligible employees. The program helps pay for higher education if it aims to help the employee advance within the company.

26. LOWE’S

At Loewe’s, all regular employees are eligible to take part in the tuition reimbursement program after one year of work. Courses that count as eligible include core classes and electives required to attain a degree. The degree can be an associate, bachelor, masters or doctoral degree from an accredited school.

Both associate and bachelor’s degree programs may be in any major. But the company restricts master’s/doctoral degrees to topics that aim to prep the employee to advance within the company.

27. CVS

CVS’ Total Rewards program aims to help employees improve and keep fit and healthy. Their website does not provide too many details but does say they offer Educational support.

28. CHICK-FIL-A

Each year, Chick-fil-A awards two types of scholarships to qualifying restaurant Team Members. They are True Inspiration Scholarships ($25,000) and Leadership Scholarships ($2,500). In 2020, 6,700 Chick-fil-A Team Members across 47 states (plus D.C. and Canada) received scholarships, totaling $17 million per the company’s website.

Recipients may use the funds at any accredited two or four year college, university, or technical/vocational school. The company also has a network of colleges and universities that offer discounts.

29. CARMAX

Carmax pays for eligible tuition expenses. That means you need pre approval and to study at an accredited school. All associates (even if on commission) may qualify to use the program.

30. JetBlue

JetBlue Scholars is the airline’s program of college assistance. Students can get credit for courses completed at other colleges, licenses and certifications, and even on the job experience, including JetBlue training. Student employees may take approved courses online for college credit that the company pays for. You also take the final semester online at a JetBlue partner school. Scholarships may be available for those who qualify.

As of 2019, the company planned to add the JetBlue Scholars Master’s Pathways. This program partnered with select schools who offer online graduate programs. It also would allow crew members to pursue a master’s degree.

31. CHEVRON

At Chevron, if you’re eligible to receive a severance pay benefit, you may also take part in the SESP Educational Assistance Program. This program offers reimbursement of up to 75% of the cost of tuition. It also covers learning platform subscription, required books and fees (up to a total of $5,000) for courses and training to help you prepare for other job opportunities as part of your career transition. Also, the coursework does not have to relate to your job at Chevron.

32. QUALCOMM

One of the benefits of Qualcomm United States is tuition help. The company reimburses up to $5,250 per calendar year for tuition, books and parking for courses that count toward continued education. This includes certification, an associate or bachelor’s. Qualcomm may cover up to $10,125 toward a graduate degree. To access the benefit, an employee must work at least 40 hours/week, be active and get both the courses and school pre approved.

33. BAXTER

Baxter’s Educational Assistance Program invests in employee growth by reimbursing up to $5,250 per year for undergraduate courses at accredited colleges. A separate TAP, that requires management approval, provides funds for graduate courses.  The company (through it’s giving arm) also runs a merit scholarship program. It provides scholarships for post high school education for children of Baxter employees around the globe.

34. PAPA JOHN’S

Papa John’s partners with Purdue Global to offer all corporate members, after working 90 days and averaging 20+ hours per week. They reimburse 100% of tuition if you earn a degree online.

35. EILEEN FISHER

Clothing brand Eileen Fisher offers Wellness and Education Reimbursement Programs. On the wellness side, they cover a range of products and services like massage. And on the education side, classes, including yoga teacher training, photography, mindfulness retreats, jewelry making and languages.

36. GAP INC.

The Gap Inc. requires employees to apply for their tuition benefit. One of the terms of the program is that within 90 days of of the course(s) end date, the employee must show grades and proof of completion. Otherwise, they become responsible to pay the cost.

Why Do Companies Pay for College?

Jobs that pay for college want to keep employee turnover low and also motivate staff with a full benefits package. Turnover may cost a company to recruit and train as well as potentially cause a slowdown in productivity.

The thinking is that a TAP program may tempt employees to stay longer with the company that pays for college. At the same time, having the benefit may make a company appealing to new hires.  Another reason is to also ensure employees have current skills that meet the need of the day. This in turn may save the company money by allowing them to promote from within.

 

How Do You Ask Your Employer to Pay for College?

If the company you work for does not pay for college, you might have to ask and discuss the benefits. Here are a few tips how to ask your job or companies that pay for college.

1. Be reliable 

There’s no sense asking for a benefit without a proven track record. Show up on time, communicate and grow trust so that the company values you and wants to retain you.

2. Look for online options

Employers may worry that the demands of school may shrink your ability to do your job well. Look for weekend and online programs that won’t interfere in your workday.

Figuring out the degree/courses/skills you want your employer to pay for is something to do ahead of time. Then you can present this data to them, showing how and what you want to bring to the table to help the company reach its goals too.

3. Do your research first

Go into your meeting prepared with all the reasons your employer could benefit from your college education too. You may learn how to lead better, do more technical work, and also understand the latest trends and research, etc.

4. Calculate the return on education

You should show the benefit of what the company may get out of investing in your education. You may show how the courses could help you be more effective in your work. Also, gaining new and enhanced skills could contribute to your current job.

5. Pledge loyalty

A company is not going to invest in you if they think you might not stay on the job after earning your new degree. Make sure you understand the corporate structure as well as tell your employer what job within the organization you are pursuing.

6. Stay practical

If you sense your employer may be receptive, stay practical about school choice. In other words, you might want to suggest a certificate program or in state public 4 year vs a private school.

7. Be ready to sign a contract

Companies that pay for college often have extensive terms and conditions in their contract. Also, you may have to sign a contract if you use corporate funds for your studies. Read the fine print, negotiate and address your concerns before you sign on the dotted line.

 

The Psychology of Lying

Even the most honest person has probably lied at least once in her or his lifetime. Sometimes lying feels justified and harmless—we call them “little white lies.” Sometimes lying feels necessary in order to keep the peace between a spouse, friend, or family member.

Psychology of Lying - Infographic

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But as evident in any headline-making scandal, lies may be damaging and have been known to ruin marriages, friendships, and careers. Let’s examine the psychology behind lying: who lies, what we lie about, and why we lie.

Who Lies?

It’s not necessarily clear from research the prevalence of lying. Some studies show that we all lie, and we lie nearly every day. Others conclude that the majority of people are essentially honest—they don’t lie at all, or they don’t lie all that much.

Studying lying isn’t necessarily easy. Many such studies involve having people keep a diary of when they lie over a certain period of time. But there’s no way to tell whether people are being honest in their self-reporting—and people who lie might lie about whether they do and how often they do it.

However, some general trends have emerged about who lies.

What Do We Lie About?

People lie about all kinds of things, depending on who they are lying to. A common lie that both women and men use is “I’m fine.” But there are some differences between the lies men and women make.

Men have admitted to lying about their whereabouts (“I’m stuck in traffic” / “I’m on the way”), a partner’s appearance (“No, your butt doesn’t look big in that”), and gifts they’ve received (“It’s just what I’ve always wanted!”).

Women also lie about gifts they receive, but also about feeling ill (“I have a headache”) and about finances (“It wasn’t that expensive”). It seems that when a man or woman thinks that the truth will make their partner angry, they lie about what they find to be harmless.

 

Why We Lie

Psychologist Robert Feldman has spent many years studying lying. His research showed that when people felt their self-esteem was threatening, they began to lie at higher levels.

Feldman also found that women often have different motives for lying than men, observing:

“Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better.”

—Psychologist Robert Feldman

People lie in relationships for a number of reasons.

  • Fear of disappointing or angering their partner
  • To avoid conflict
  • To cover up bad behavior
  • They don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings
  • For the thrill of it

Keep a lie journal for a week. Write down every lie you tell, who you told it to, and then, delve into the psychology of why you felt compelled to tell it. After that, if you’re hungry for more psychology knowledge, you can search for a psychology program that fits in with your life!

Sources

http://www.blifaloo.com/info/lying-why.php https://time.com/4805380/lying-telling-the-truth/ https://www.ambitionsaba.com/resources/how-often-do-people-lie https://www.uab.edu/news/research/item/12398-new-research-shows-most-people-are-honest-except-for-a-few https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/questions-character/202211/are-most-people-liars https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8982912/#:~:text=A%20meta%2Danalysis%20on%20honesty,4%25%20more%20deceptive%20than%20women. https://www.goldenstepsaba.com/resources/lying-statistics https://huckleberrycare.com/blog/age-by-age-guide-to-lying https://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/when-do-teens-lie-to-their-parents-and-when-do-they-tell-the-truth-574982/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-nature-of-deception/202303/psychopaths-and-pathological-lying http://smg.media.mit.edu/library/DePauloEtAl.LyingEveryday-Life.pdf http://smg.media.mit.edu/library/DePaulo.ManyFacesOfLies.pdf http://cbsnews.com/news/science-proves-it-men-lie-more-than-women/ http://condor.depaul.edu/tcole/lying.pdf

How to Earn Credit for College with Life Experience

I went to the school of hard knocks. Life is the best teacher. You may have heard these adages before, and there is some truth in them. Many of us do learn from life experiences. While the learning may not always be welcomed at first, we may look back and see how much we’ve grown. We might even be amazed at the knowledge we gleaned—even if the process was filled with potholes. What if you could use those life experiences and turn them into college credits via a “life experience” degree program?

With many nontraditional students returning to college—single moms, professionals seeking new career paths, full-time employees who want to finish their undergrad work—new challenges arise. Trying to juggle family life, work, and earning an online degree isn’t easy. However, if you could transform certain life experiences into legitimate, academic credits that would be accepted by quality, accredited colleges, you may find yourself inspired and motivated to earn that Bachelor’s or Master’s degree you have your heart set on.

College Credit

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Life experience programs involve Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). These are educational concepts designed to recognize and give credit for the knowledge and skills that individuals have acquired outside of traditional academic settings. These mechanisms provide a means for learners to demonstrate their proficiency in specific subject areas and potentially earn college credits for their prior experiences.

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) generally refers to the broader concept of recognizing various types of prior learning, including knowledge gained through work experience, military training, certifications, and self-directed study. It acknowledges that learning occurs in diverse settings and not solely within the traditional classroom environment.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a specific process within CPL that involves assessing and validating an individual’s prior learning to determine its equivalency to college-level learning. PLA methods may include examinations, portfolios, interviews, or demonstrations of skills. The goal is to evaluate and quantify the knowledge and competencies a person has acquired outside of formal academic courses.

Both CPL and PLA aim to support adult learners, non-traditional students, and those with significant life or work experiences in gaining academic recognition for their existing knowledge and skills. These approaches contribute to a more flexible and inclusive educational system by allowing individuals to accelerate their degree completion, reduce the time and cost of education, and align their academic journey with their real-world experiences.

Self-Assessment

What questions should you ask yourself to determine if earning college credit for life experience is right for you?

  • Is my knowledge up-to-date?
  • Is my learning similar to a certain class described in my college’s course catalog?
  • Does my learning correlate to the subject or major I will be studying at my university?
  • Do I understand the ideologies behind what I have done as well as the concrete steps I took to gain my life experience?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, participating in a life experience degree program may be an option for you. Of course, only certain online colleges and universities offer these programs, so you should check with the college you are interested in to ensure they have such a program and that they will accept your life credits.

Ways to Turn Life Experience into College Credit

1. Standardized national exams You could earn college credit for your work experiences by taking a standardized national exam in an area that relates to the skills and knowledge you acquired through your work or other life experiences. Two such exams include:

Portfolio

Prepare a portfolio that documents your life experiences, achievements, and skills relevant to the courses or subjects you are seeking credit for. Include resumes, certificates, transcripts from non-academic training programs, and any other relevant documents.

Military experience Using military experience for college credit is a common practice, and many institutions have policies in place to recognize the skills and knowledge gained during military service.

Start by obtaining your military transcripts, such as the Joint Services Transcript (JST) for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard or the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript for the Air Force. These transcripts outline your military training and experience. Then check out the American Council on Education (ACE). This organization provides recommendations on how military training and experience may be equivalent to college-level credit.

Competency-based education (CBE)

Competency-Based Education (CBE) is an educational approach that focuses on learners’ mastery of specific skills and knowledge rather than traditional time-based structures. In CBE programs, students advance upon demonstrating their proficiency in the subject matter, allowing for a more flexible and personalized learning experience. They could skip units or sections of courses that cover what they already know. Look for colleges that offer CBE programs. Once you are in a program, you may be tested to assess your current knowledge.

Work experience through corporate training

Some institutions have procedures in place for evaluating and granting credit for corporate training. The American Council on Education Learning Evaluations helps colleges determine which college credits to offer in exchange for these types of programs. 

Conclusion

You may look around you at work and realize that you know more about your job than your co-workers with college degrees. If so, you should consider earning credits for your life experiences and check into college life experience programs that you might enroll in. It’s never too late to earn your degree. With so many flexible, online, college degree programs, you should have many options for finding a program for you that works for you! 

 

8 Adult Scholarships for Adults Returning to School

Can Adults Get Scholarships? 

There are scholarships for adults returning to college after a gap. Adult scholarships may offset the cost of tuition, fees, and books. Even childcare. 

These awards are for many types of adults. Ones who did not earn a degree. Or, are “independent” per federal financial rules. Some awards help adult learners by funding a two year or four-year degree. So, you may have past credits to use. Or none at all. 

Others are for adults who want to enter or reenter the workforce. These may help finance a certified trade, professional, or technical program. 

Many adult scholarships are for the nontraditional student. Or, an adult who 

  • Is 24 years and over
  • Earned a GED or certificate but not a high school diploma 
  • After high school, delayed going to college 
  • Has family and financial limits  
  • Works full time  
  • Attended college but part time

Most college applicants are high school graduates. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) shows that the percentage of individuals aged 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased from 30% to 38% between 2012 and 2022. In 2021, the percentage ranged from 48% for Asians to 20% for American Indian/Alaska Native individuals. However, adult students often face financial challenges when returning to school, making loans less ideal. Scholarships are grants, meaning you don’t have to repay the money as long as you adhere to the terms. 

Types of Adult Scholarships 

Any scholarship comes with rules about who can apply. And adult scholarships are the same. Some awards are for adults who are also part of a group. Adult women in STEM, for instance. Or single parents. Others are set aside for specific ages, or stages of study. Like adults ‘over 35’.

Here are a few of these types of adult scholarships. What they award. And, how to apply. 

Federal Financial Aid for Adult Students 

Pell Grants are for undergrads with high need. So, while an adult, you may still qualify. To know if you are eligible, you submit a FAFSA. Or, Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The form becomes available on October 1st for the upcoming school year. It serves two purposes: determining your family’s income and comparing it to your college’s attendance cost. Award amounts may change each year, but until June 2024, the maximum is $7,395. 

Reentry Scholarships 

Reentry scholarships are designed to support adults who have taken a break from education and now wish to return to college. These scholarships often have specific eligibility criteria, such as an age range typically between 25 and 50 years old or a specific time frame of being out of school, such as two or five years. However, age is not the sole determining factor; applicants are usually required to demonstrate both academic promise and financial need to be considered for these scholarships.

Scholarships for Single Parents 

Numerous scholarship providers understand the challenges faced by single moms or parents – balancing work, finances, and raising kids. As a result, they allocate scholarships to those in dire need. A prime example is Helping Hands for Single Moms (HHSM), which assists low-income single moms in pursuing a college education to achieve financial independence and build a positive family legacy. 

Top Adult Scholarships for 2024 and Beyond

Here is a sampling of 8 scholarships for adult learners. Check out the criteria and apply before the deadlines.

1College Jumpstart Scholarship


College Jumpstart Scholarship is an annual merit award. It pays $1,000 and as a nontraditional student, you can apply. Winners can use the money for any accredited school. So, a two or four year degree. Technical or vocational school.

Amount:750

Deadline:October 17, 2023

Requirements: To apply, you must be a US citizen. You must also commit to use education to better your life. 

2Adult Skills Education Program


Imagine America Foundation offers a national aid program. ASEP, or Adult Skills Education Program. The program is available at about 400 career colleges. It offers a single tuition grant of $1,000. And you can use at partner schools to offset costs of job training.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline:Varies

Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

3PEO Program for Continuing Education


Each year the PEO Sisterhood offers awards to women. One is the PCE. Or, PEO Program for Continuing Education. The PCE is a need based grant. It pays up to $3,000 and the number of recipients varies. An aim of the PCE program is to help women go back to school. And gain marketable skills.  

Amount: $3,000

Deadline:Varies

Requirements: Applying for the PEO awards doesn’t require PEO membership, but non-members need to find a chapter sponsor and meet award criteria. One of the requirements is demonstrating non-student status for 24 consecutive months.

4Osher Reentry Scholarships


Osher Reentry Scholarships are available at partner colleges. They are in 50 states and Washington DC. The awards help adults age 25 to 50 resume a bachelor’s degree. So, many have been out of school for 5 years or more. The number of Osher scholars changes each year. But the awards are renewable. And amounts go up to $50,000.

Amount: up to $50,000

Deadline:Varies

Requirements: To get an Osher award, you need to show a mix of financial need and promise.  

5Executive Women International Scholarship


Founded in 1938, EWI brings women in business together. To do this, EWI partners with colleges and local chapters to offer scholarships. One is the ASIST scholarship for adults in transition. There are 13 such awards and they range from $2,000 to $10,000. Another is the EWISP scholarship for high school seniors. It awards over $2,000 in college aid each year.

Amount: $2,000 – $10,000

Deadline: Scholarship program will resume at the beginning of 2024 

Requirements: To apply, you need to find a local chapter. Like the one in Tampa, FL and apply. 

6American Legion Auxiliary Nontraditional Student Scholarship


American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) helps veterans, military and their families. To further this mission, they offer scholarships to members. The Nontraditional Student Scholarship is an annual award. It goes to a single recipient and pays $2,000.

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: March 1 

Requirements: To apply, you may either be pursuing a two or four year degree. Or, training in a certified trade, professional or technical program.

7ATHENA Adult Scholarships


The Chamber Foundation helps Hudson Valley residents pay for education. One of their programs is the ATHENA Adult Scholarship. It is an annual award and pays $1,500.

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: June 1 

Requirements: To qualify you need to be both female and live in Dutchess County. You also must be a high school or college grad, out of school for at least 5 years.

8Courage to Grow Scholarship


The Courage to Grow Scholarship is a $500 award. It goes to one person each month. And is easy to apply to. 

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 31

Requirements: To do so, you must explain in 250 words or less why you deserve to win. You also need to be a US citizen. Applicants can be either a junior or senior in high school or college student. But need a GPA of 2.5 or better. 

Guide Tribal Colleges and Scholarships for Native Americans

In the United States, only 17% of Native American students pursue higher education after high school, and they constitute only 1% of the undergraduate population. The Postsecondary National Policy Institute indicates that even fewer Native American students continue to graduate school, with financial obstacles often playing a significant role. However, there are potential solutions in the form of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and opportunities provided by Tribal colleges, which can assist more Native American students in accessing college education. Financial aid options may be available to those who meet the eligibility criteria. 

Scholarships for Native American Students

Scholarships provide college funding without the burden of repayment. Numerous scholarships tailored for Native Americans focus on their specific ethnicity and can be offered by educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Here are some Native American scholarships worth considering: 

  • Truman D. Picard Scholarship. Undergraduate students pursuing studies in natural resources and belonging to any recognized tribe are eligible to apply for the $2,500 annual award. The deadline for application is yet to be posted, so please visit the ITC for updates.
  • United South & Eastern Tribes. Every year, the USET Education Committee provides financial awards to successful applicants from one of the 30 USET Member Tribal Nations. The deadline for applications is January 15. To be eligible, students must have a satisfactory GPA and be enrolled or accepted into a college degree program. 
  • Zuni Tribal Scholarship. American Indian students belonging to the Zuni Tribe can apply for the Zuni Tribal Scholarship. The award amount varies, and applicants must be enrolled in college. The deadline for applications is October 30, and the scholarship requires yearly renewal.
  • Full Circle Scholarship Fund. The American Indian College Fund offers this scholarship with varying award amounts, and the application deadline is annually on May 31st. To be eligible, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA. 
  • Catching the Dream Program. Native American high school seniors can benefit from three different scholarship opportunities through this program. To qualify, a high GPA is necessary, and priority is given to those pursuing STEM topics. The award amount varies, and the application deadline is September 15.
  • Chickasaw Nation Scholarship Program. Chickasaw Nation members who maintain a 3.0 GPA and take three or more credit hours per semester are eligible for this award. The amount varies depending on enrollment status and GPA. Application deadlines fall on February 15, July 1, and September 15. 
  • Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship. Students who are members of federally recognized tribes are eligible to apply for this scholarship, which offers up to $5,000 per year and requires a minimum GPA of 2.7. The 2023 application deadline has already passed, so please refer to their website for any future updates. 
  • Indian Health Services Scholarship. Scholarships are available for American Indian and Alaska Native health students, with varying award amounts. Applicants are usually required to submit an essay and demonstrate strong academic performance. The application process generally takes place during the winter each year.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution American Indian Scholarship. The application period for this scholarship typically commences in November. It offers a one-time $4,000 award and is open to Native American students from any tribe with a minimum GPA requirement of 3.25 or higher. 
  • Association on American Indian Affairs Scholarships. The association usually provides scholarships for Native American full-time students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Unfortunately, scholarship applications for the fall 2023 through spring 2024 term are now closed. Please visit their website for any updates regarding future opportunities. The award amount varies. 
  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program. Native Americans are typically eligible for this scholarship as part of the minority student category. The scholarship may prioritize fields of study where their ethnic groups are underrepresented. The award amount and application deadline vary depending on the specific scholarship opportunity. 
  • American Indian Education Fund Scholarship. This scholarship is usually available to individuals with tribal enrollment for themselves or their parents. It provides an award of up to $2,000 per year. The scholarship application period begins on February 1st annually, with a priority deadline of May 31st. However, the application remains open until January 30th of the following year. 
  • Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars, Inc., National American Scholarship. Tribal members who are enrolled in at least 8 semester hours and maintain a 3.0 average are eligible to apply for this renewable $5,000 award. The application deadline is June 15 each year. 
  • Gates Post Graduate Scholarship. The esteemed award typically offers $5,000 to $30,000 per year for students engaged in post-graduate training in STEM fields. Applicants must apply by June 1 and demonstrate a commitment to pursuing STEM disciplines.

Grants for Native American Students

Apart from scholarships for Native Americans, there are also grants available for eligible individuals. Grants function similarly to scholarships and usually do not require repayment. In addition to meeting GPA and Native status criteria, many grants also take financial need into account. Here are some grants to consider: 

  • Bureau of Indian Education Grant Program. The BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) offers a grant program specifically for Native Americans with at least ¼ Indian blood. To be eligible, students must be accepted or enrolled in a college program pursuing either an associate or four-year bachelor’s degree. Demonstrating clear financial need, often through the FAFSA application, is also a requirement for this grant. Additionally, individuals with blindness or vision loss may qualify for this program.
  • Blackfeet Nation Higher Education Grant. Members of the Blackfeet Tribe can typically apply for this grant, which offers an award ranging from $2,800 to $3,000 to be used for their undergraduate education. The application process may involve demonstrating financial need and submitting an essay. 
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Higher Education Grant. This grant typically provides up to $2,400 per academic year for full-time students who are tribal members. Additionally, the tribe may offer an adult vocational training grant with the same amount of funding. 
  • Indian Higher Education Grant Program. This federal grant program offers help for Native American students with a proven financial need. 

Native American Fellowships

A fellowship typically awards a student money for college in return for service or work in a specific field. Students may need to get a job in a specific area or spend time volunteering in return for their funds. Some Native American fellowships to consider include:

  • American Indian Graduate Center Fellowship Program. This program typically grants students pursuing graduate degrees in specific fields with awards ranging from $500 to $5,000. The application deadline for this grant is June 1.
  • Frances C. Allen Fellowship for Women of American Indian Heritage. he fellowship is provided by The Newberry, an independent Chicago research library. Make sure to submit your application by December 15, and your field of study should align with the library’s collections. 
  • Native American Residency Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. The fellowship typically offers a one-month residency, which includes room and board, a studio, and $500 for travel expenses, to Native American visual artists who want to study at the Vermont Studio Center. Applications are due in the fall.
  • AISES Scholarships. AISES often collaborates with various businesses and non-profits to offer STEM scholarships to Native American students. The scholarship amounts and application deadlines vary depending on the chosen program.

Financial Aid for Native American Students

Many different types of financial assistance may be available to Native American students. Getting sufficient help paying for school requires that students understand all of these options. It also requires following the correct steps to apply for aid. Here’s what a student should do to get help paying for school.

Determine Your Status as a Native American

Not everyone who has Native American heritage qualifies for these scholarships. You typically must be an enrolled member of a recognized Native American Indian tribe or an Alaskan Native group to qualify. Another option may be to apply using what is called “blood quantum.” This means the student is at least ¼ Native American. Typically this is because one grandparent is full-blooded Native American. Students who need to prove their ancestry could use the US Dept. of the Interior’s Trace Indian Ancestry page to search their heritage. They may then apply to their tribe to enroll as a tribal member.

Complete the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) establishes a student’s financial need and eligibility for federal programs, like the Pell grant. Many Native American aid programs require proven financial aid. Completing the FAFSA is the first step in proving need.

Understand the Types of Financial Aid

In addition to scholarships, Native Americans typically have these main types of student aid offered to them. These are:

  • Scholarships. Scholarships for Native Americans are awarded based on merit or ethnic status and usually do not have to be paid back.
  • Grants. Grants also typically do not get paid back. They are often based on financial need.
  • Fellowships. Fellowships pay students for work in a field specific to the group’s goals and needs.
  • Loans. Loans provide money for school that must be repaid, with interest, after graduation.
  • Work-Study. Work-study programs provide money for school in exchange for work at the college.

Check Out Other Sources for Financial Aid

While Native American students may have several financial aid options specific to them, there are other options too. Native American students should look for scholarship and grant options that does not use race or tribal status as a criterion. Scholarships and grants that look at a student’s grades, community service, and other activities could help cover the cost of school.

Challenges Native American College Students Face

Access to college and challenges with the cost of school both impact the native populations.

What are the biggest hurdles that are unique to Native American students when trying to gain admission into school?

Some of the challenges Native Americans face prevent them from getting into college. The cost of college, or the perception about that cost, is typically one hurdle. Sometimes the college admissions process is too complex for students to tackle on their own, and not having parents that went through the process may make this harder. In addition, reservation-based schools tend to have high staff turnover. Without strong relationships with guidance counselors and teachers, students may be less likely to find the perfect college or feel the importance of a college education.

What are some of the biggest challenges once these students are in school?

Many Native American students are likely to overcome these challenges and make it to school, only to find a new set of concerns. Many students find themselves on campuses with few Native students, creating a disconnect between their native culture and their new college community. Often, non-native students and teachers may not understand the cultural traditions of Native American students. If students need to miss class for cultural events, they may suffer socially or academically. Many Native students head to school as older adults. This tends to make finding appropriate, affordable housing difficult. Finally, many Native students may not be prepared well for the challenges of college life. They may feel overwhelmed with the new culture and academic courses.

American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund invests in the education of Native and tribal students. This is the largest charity for this group in the nation. They typically have scholarships for Native American students, but they may also have programming that connects students to the support they need to succeed in college and beyond. Of all the resources available, this is usually one of the most helpful for new Native American college students.

Support Organizations for Native American Students

Support organizations both on campus and off provide could help to get students over these hurdles. Students could reach out to these groups to receive support and find opportunities for advancement. Some of these groups include:

  • AICF. The American Indian College Fund is one of the most important and comprehensive support groups for native students.
  • AIHEC. The American Indian Higher Education Consortium provides a network of support to sunbonnets while also working hard to change federal policies so they better support Native students.
  • AIS. American Indian Services is a non profit group that creates programs and funding for Native Americans. The goal is to help them earn a quality education while maintaining their own heritage and culture.
  • AISES. American Indian Science and Engineering Society provides support for Native Americans who are pursuing education and careers in STEM areas.
  • PWNA. Partnership with Native Americans provides help and hope for those living on isolated or remote reservations. It gives aid to help improve the economic situation of these people.

What are Tribal Colleges?

Tribal colleges and universities are higher learning schools run by tribal leaders. This is a newer idea and an attempt to deal with some of the challenges Native students face.

How Could Tribal Colleges Help?

Tribal colleges typically assist students because they understand the traditions and cultures of their tribe or native group. This means students generally do not face conflicts between their education and their culture or beliefs.

Why are Tribal Colleges Important?

Tribal college sometimes provides the only college opportunity for local native populations. They are typically located close to the people who need them, sometimes even on the reservation, and have lower cost tuition. This all combines to likely make college more accessible for Native students.

List of Tribal Colleges

There are currently over 30 tribal schools throughout the United States. Many cater to the unique cultures of a specific tribal group, but all welcome Native and non-Native people. As long as students are wiling to embrace tribal culture, they may attend one of these schools:

 

Ilisagvik College

100 Stevenson St. | Barrow, AK 99723
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This tribal school typically serves the people of the North Slope Borough, which includes many who are part of the Inupiaq culture. It usually offers degrees in health, accounting, adult education, business, construction, emergency services, heavy equipment, info tech, liberal arts, office management, industrial safety, and Inupiaq cultural studies. Degree examples include:

  • Dental Therapy (AAS)
  • Inupiaq Studies (AAS)
  • Business and Management (AAS)
  • Allied Health (AS)

School Details:

  • Dual Credit program
  • NWCCU Accredited

Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Inupiaq

 

Dine College

One Circle Dr. Route 12 | Tsaile, AZ 86556
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This was the nation’s first tribal-controlled, accredited institution. It typically offers a range of general ed programs in arts, humanities, English, education, STEM, business, social science and Dine studies. Degree programs may include:

  • Public Health (BS)
  • Dine Studies (BA)
  • Business Admin (BA)
  • Elementary Ed (BA)

School Details:

  • Dual Credit program
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium

Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund Student of the Year Award

Tribal Groups

  • Navajo Nation

 

Tohono O’odham Community College

Hwy 86 | Sells, AZ 85634
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This college sits on the 2.8 million acre Tohono O’odham reservation along the Mexico border. It typically offers degrees in the arts, business, science, health, education and social services, as well as several technical trades. Courses of study may include:

  • Business Admin (AB)
  • Life Science (AA)
  • Social Work (AA)
  • Tohono O’odham Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • Transfer programs to four-year schools
  • Direct Employment Programs
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • Gewkdag Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Tohono O’odham

 

Haskell Indian Nations University

155 Indian Ave. | Lawrence, KS 66046
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HINU is the country’s top tribal university with a 120 year history. It tends to have a wide range of degree programs including American Indian studies, business admin, elementary education, environmental science, and others. Degree programs may include:

  • Indigenous and American Indian Studies (BA)
  • Elementary Ed (BS)
  • Business Admin (BS)
  • Environmental Science (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • NCATE Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Multiple tribes

 

Bay Mills Community College

12214 W Lakeshore Dr. | Brimley, MI 49715
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BMCC provides degrees for those in the Anishinaabek culture. Degree options typically include business admin, early childhood ed, construction, Ojibwe language instruction, criminal justice and computers. Degrees may include:

  • Computer Info Systems (AAS)
  • Paramedic (AAS)
  • Criminal Justice (AA)
  • Great Lakes Native Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Online ed options
  • Scholarships:
  • Board of Regents Tuition Award
  • Herman E. Cameron Memorial Scholarship

 

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

 

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College

111 Bear Town Rd. | Baraga, MI 49908
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KBOCC is on the L’asnse reservation. It typically offers associated degrees in a range of fields, including Anishinaabe studies, business, environmental studies, and early childhood ed. Degrees may include:

  • Anishinaabe Studies (AA)
  • Business Admin (AS)
  • Early Childhood Ed (AS)
  • Liberal Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Ojibwa
  • Chippewa

 

 

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College

2274 Enterprise Dr. | Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
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This public college tends to reflect the culture and value of the Anishinaabe. It is a family-focused campus and typically has small class sizes. The programs include Native studies, business, science, and liberal arts. Degree programs may include:

  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Business (AA)
  • General Science (AS)
  • Liberal Arts (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • SCTC Board of Regents’ Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

 

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

2101 14th St. | Cloquet, MN 55720
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This school offers two and four year degree programs for students from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and other tribal groups. Degrees are typically available in elementary ed, business, corrections, geospatial tech, nursing, and nutrition. Degrees typically include:

  • American Indian Studies (AA)
  • Elementary Ed (AS)
  • Corrections (AS)
  • Nursing (AS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium
  • Scholarships:
  • Foundation Scholarships

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

 

 

Leech Lake Tribal College

6945 Little Wolf Rd. | Cass Lake, MN 56633
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Leech Lake Tribal College typically serves the Ojibwe community with degrees in the arts, humanities, tech, and natural sciences. The school offers many family friendly solutions, with a focus on the Anishinaabe values. Degree programs may include:

  • Liberal Education (AA)
  • Earth Systems Science (AS)
  • Business Management (AAS)
  • Early Childhood Development (AA)
  • School Details:
  • Named best Com. College in Nation by Wallet Hub in 2017
  • HLC Accredited
  • The American Indian Science and Engineering Society member
  • Scholarships:
  • LeRoy Staples Sr. and LeRoy B. Fairbanks Scholarship
  • Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund Scholarship
  • Clem Nason Memorial Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Ojibwe

 

Red Lake Nation College

23750 MN-1 | Red Lake, MN 56671
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This school provides Ojibwe language and cultural education. It typically focuses on two year degree programs that could transfer easily into four year schools. Many student services make it easier for students to attend. The school has two degree programs, which include:

  • Liberal Education (AA)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (AAS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Online ed options
  • Scholarships:
  • Presidential and Achievement scholarships

Tribal Groups

  • Red Lake Nation

 

White Earth Tribal and Community College

210 Main St. S | Mahnomen, MN 56557
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This school serves the White Earth Reservation and the communities surrounding it. It typically offers one associate degree program that provides a general education with a focus on core requirements. Many students transfer to a four year school after graduation.

  • Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • White Earth Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • MCT White Earth Band

 

Aaniiih Nakoda College

Hwy 2 and Hwy 66 | Harlem, MT 59526
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This school typically serves tribal and non-tribal members with a focus on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation area. It has degrees in environmental science, education, business, Native studies, health, and psychology. Degree programs may include:

  • Aaniih Nakoda Ecology (BS)
  • American Indian Studies (AA)
  • Business (AA)
  • Human Services (AA)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • USDA Extension Demonstration Farm
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Gros Ventre
  • Aaniiih
  • Nakota

 

Blackfeet Community College

504 SE Boundary St. | Browning, MT 59417
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BCC typically serves the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and surrounding communities with degrees in IT, business, education, health, humanities, STEM, and nursing. Childcare services make it possible for adults with families to attend. Degree programs usually include:

  • Accounting (AS)
  • Elementary Ed (AS)
  • Liberal Arts (AA)
  • Piikani Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • Online and hybrid courses
  • Scholarships:
  • First Time First Year Freshman Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Blackfeet

 

Chief Dull Knife College

One College Dr. | Lame Deer, MT 59043
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This tribal college typically provides degrees to members of the Northern Cheyenne reservation. The college is on the forefront of tribal language preserving efforts. Students may study the arts, political science, social science, STEM, business, paralegal, and Native studies. Programs are designed to transition students to four year degrees. Degree programs usually include:

  • Addiction Studies (AA)
  • AA Animal Science (AA)
  • Cheyenne Studies (AA)
  • Math (AS)
  • School Details:
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • American Association of Community and Junior Colleges
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Cheyenne

 

Fort Peck Community College

PO Box 398 | Poplar, MT 59255
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This college has two campuses and several degree programs. Students may study degree programs or earn certs while preserving the culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux people from the Fort Peck Reservation. Some of the school’s degrees typically include:

  • Business Admin (AA)
  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Bio Medical Science (AS)
  • Info Tech (AAS)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Assiniboine
  • Sioux

 

Little Big Horn College

8645 S Weaver Dr. | Crow Agency, MT 59022
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This school typically weaves the Crow culture into its training programs. It has a modern campus on the Crow Indian Reservation. Students may study a wide range of topics, including pre-nursing, info tech, Crow studies, ecology, and more. Degree programs likely include:

  • Business Admin (AA)
  • Crow Studies (AA)
  • Info Systems (AS)
  • Science (AS)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Crow

 

Salish Kootenai College

PO Box 70 58138 US Hwy 93 | Pablo, MT 59855
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SKC reaches the people of the Flathead Nation. It generally provides a range of degree programs spanning everything from psych to construction. Student clubs and on campus housing make education attainable for students. Degrees typically include:

  • Business Admin (BA)
  • Forestry (BS)
  • Tribal Historic Preservation (BA)
  • Psychology (BA)
  • School Details:
  • Dual Enrollment program
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • Scholarships:
  • CSKT Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Flathead Nation
  • Séliš
  • Ksanka
  • QÍispé

 

Stone Child College

8294 Upper Box Elder Rd. | Box Elder, MT 58521
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SCC is a tribal chartered college that typically focuses on preserving the Chippewa Cree culture and language. Students may study health, arts, Native culture, tech, education, human services, and business. A campus daycare and on campus room rental help may students succeed. Degrees typically include:

  • Elementary Education (BS)
  • Allied Health (AS)
  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Human Services Rural Behavioral Health (AA)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Scholarships:
  • April Dawn Stamper Memorial Scholarship
  • Fine Arts Scholarship
  • William O. Goggins Journalism Award

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa Cree

 

Cankdeska Cikana Community College

213 1st Ave. | Ft Totten, ND 58335
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CCCC trains the people of the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation. It typically has degrees in Dakota studies, social work, the arts, tech, health, and ed, with trade certs as well. Many cultural events keep students connected to their tribe. Degree programs usually include:

  • Dakota Studies (AA)
  • Social Work (AA)
  • Pre Nursing (AS)
  • Office Tech (AAS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges
  • Scholarships:
  • Spirit Lake Tribal scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Dakota

 

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

220 8th Ave. N | New Town, ND 59763
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NHSC is chartered by the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Ft. Berthold Reservation. It typically offers training in Native studies, ed, business, social work, STEM, and equine studies. On campus childcare and student housing are available. Degrees usually include:

  • Env. Science (BS)
  • Native Studies (BS)
  • Addiction Studies (AA)
  • Equine Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • ITCHE Shikake Scholarship
  • Dakota Indian Scholarship
  • TAT Tribal Chairman’s Ed Grant

Tribal Groups

  • Mandan
  • Hidatsa
  • Arikara

 

Sitting Bull College

9299 Hwy 24 | Fort Yates, ND 58538
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This college is based on the Standing Rock Reservation, but also has sites in South Dakota. It typically offers academic, career, and tech ed, with bachelor’s and associate degree programs along with certs. It also has one master’s degree, making it one of the rare tribal schools to offer grad work. Degree options usually include:

  • Env. Science (MS)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed)
  • Native American Studies (BA)
  • Social Work (BA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • Barden Scholarship
  • Build Your Brighter Future Scholarship
  • Crazy Horse Memorial Scholarship
  • Dakota/Lakota Scholarship
  • Doyle Butler Memorial Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Lakota
  • Dakota
  • Sioux

 

Turtle Mountain Community College

10145 BIA Rd. 7 | Belcourt, ND 58316
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TMCC trains the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and sits on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservation. This commuter college typically offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs. Degree programs may include:

  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Dual Credit program
  • Scholarships:
  • Tribal Scholarship Program

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

 

United Tribes Technical College

3315 University Dr. | Bismarck, ND 58504
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UTTC is a tech school focused on tribal education and cultural preservation. It typically offers associate degree options and certs. Degree programs might include:

  • Elementary Ed (AS)
  • Auto Tech (AS)
  • Human and Social Services (AA)
  • Graphic Design (AS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Online degree options
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Mandan
  • Hidatsa
  • Arikara

 

Little Priest Tribal College

601 E College Dr. | Winnebago, NE 68071
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LPTC typically offers associate degrees in language and culture as well as education, liberal arts, and business. The campus is on the Winnebago Reservation and strives to prepare students to transfer to a four year school. Degrees likely include:

  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Teacher Ed (AA)
  • Indigenous Science Environmental (AS)
  • Indigenous Science Health (AS)
  • School Details:
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • HLC Accredited
  • Nebraska Transfer Initiative
  • Scholarships:
  • Winnebago Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program

Tribal Groups

  • Winnebago

 

Nebraska Indian Community College

College Hill | Macy, NE 68039
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This tribal school has three campuses and has both associate degrees and certs. Students may use their degrees to pursue entry level positions or to transfer to a four year program. Degree options include:

  • Carpentry (AAS)
  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Para Educator (AA)
  • Business (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Scholarships:
  • High School Grad Success Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Omaha
  • Santee Sioux

 

Institute of American Indian Arts

83 Avan Nu Po Rd. | Santa Fe, NM 87508
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This is the only tribal college that is a four year fine arts institution. It typically serves all Native people, including Alaska Natives, and focuses on the Native arts. It has certs, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees, and all are in the arts. Degree programs may include:

  • Cinema and Tech (BFA)
  • Creative Writing (MFA)
  • Museum Studies (BFA)
  • Studio Arts (BFA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
  • Dual Credit programs
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Serves all Native people

 

Lowerpoint Rd. | Crownpoint, MN 87313
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NTU typicaly follows the Dine Philosophy of Education. It has a campus in Arizona as well as Crownpoint. It has master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associates degrees, and certs, including several in the Dine language. Students may study education, health, veterinary science, energy, IT, business, and Native culture. Programs include:

  • Dine Culture, Language, and Leadership (MA)
  • BAS Hotel and Restaurant Admin (BAS)
  • Animal Science (BS)
  • Env. Science and Natural Resources (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • ABET accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • PNM Scholarship
  • Tom Davis Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Navajo

 

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

9169 Coors NW | Albuquerque, NM 87184
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This school typically focuses on STEM opportunities for Native learners. It has certs and associate degree programs in tech and computers. It also has degrees in business. Programs may include:

  • Culinary Arts (AAS)
  • Vision Care Tech (AAS)
  • Geo Spatial Info Tech (AAS)
  • Pre Engineering (AS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Online degree options
  • Scholarships:
  • The Johnson Scholarship
  • SIPI New Student Scholar

Tribal Groups

  • All tribal groups served

 

College of the Muscogee Nation

1200 Hwy Loop 56 | Okmulgee, OK 74447
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This college typically offers general ed and tribal programming. Associate degrees and certs are both available, many in the Mvskoke language. Degree options may include:

  • Native American Studies (AS)
  • Tribal Services (AS)
  • Criminal Justice (AAS)
  • Gaming (AAS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation Scholarship Foundation

Tribal Groups

  • Muscogee (Creek)

 

Sinte Gleska University

101 Antelope Lake Circle | Mission, SD 57555
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This college typically offers master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs in the arts, education, computers, human services, and Native history and culture. Degree usually programs include:

  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Sicangu Lakota
  • Sioux

 

Sisseton Wahpeton College

BIA Rd. 700 Agency Village | Sisseton, SD 57262
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SWC serves members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation. It typically has associate degrees and certs in a range of fields, including business, finance, ed, and Dakota studies. Degree programs include:

  • Addiction and Diversity Counseling (AS)
  • Sustainable Env. Studies (AS)
  • Carpentry Tech (AAS)
  • Dakota Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Articulation Agreements
  • Online degrees offered
  • Scholarships:
  • N/A

Tribal Groups

  • Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux

 

Oglala Lakota College

3 Mile Creek Rd. | Kyle, SD 57752
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OLC serves the Pine Ridge Reservation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It typically has master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs, with a focus on Lakota language and culture. Students may study health, IT, business, ed, construction, STEM, and Native studies. Degree programs likely include:

  • Lakota Studies (BA)
  • Lakota Leadership and Management (MA)
  • K 12 Lakota Studies Education (BS)
  • Social Work (BSW)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Online degree options
  • Scholarships:
  • Board of Trustees Supplemental Scholarship
  • Johnson Entrepreneurship Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Lakota
  • Oglala Sioux

 

Northwest Indian College

2522 Kwina Rd. | Bellingham, WA 98226
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NIC is part of the Lummi reservation and typically focuses on protecting tribal values. Students can earn bachelor’s degrees, associates degrees, and certs in Native studies, tribal government, business, human services, and IT. Programs usually include:

  • Native Studies Leadership (BA)
  • Community Advocacy and Community Ed in Human Services (BA)
  • Native Env. Science (BA)
  • Tribal Gov. and Business Management (BA)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian Entrepreneurship Scholarship (NWIC)
  • Foundation Scholarships (NWIC)
  • S-STEM Scholarship (NWIC)

Tribal Groups

  • Lummi

 

College of Menominee Nation

N 172 Hwy 47/55 | Keshena, WI 54135
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CMN is on the Menominee Reservation with a campus in Green Bay. This school typically has bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs. Students may study education, nursing, Native studies, business, and STEM. Programs include:

  • Public Admin (BA)
  • Business Admin(BS)
  • Natural Resources (AAS)
  • Substance Abuse (AAS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • CMN Privately Funded Scholarships

Tribal Groups

  • Menominee Nation

 

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

13466 W Trepania Rd. | Hayward, WI 54843
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Programs typically include:

  • Native American Studies (AAS)
  • Accounting (AAS)
  • Business (AS)
  • Nursing (AS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • La Courte Orielles Ojibwe College Student Scholarship Fund
  • Johnson Scholarship Foundation Scholarship
  • Gay I. & Harry C. Leslie III Fund
  • Isham Chase Scholarship Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

Guide Schools & Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Facing challenges such as learning obstacles, physical differences, hearing loss, or vision impairment can make daily life more demanding. Moreover, pursuing higher education may present additional difficulties for individuals with disabilities. Fortunately, students in such situations have various support options to explore, which can aid them in navigating college life and managing associated expenses. Scholarships, specifically designed to assist those with disabilities, can be a valuable resource in this regard. In this article, we will explore the significance and benefits of scholarships for students with disabilities and how they can make a difference in their academic journey.

Rights of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities are entitled to several legally protected rights. While some are aware that these rights encompass protections against discrimination in the workplace and access to services during elementary and high school, not everyone realizes that they also extend to college students. Consider these acts 

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is a crucial act that prohibits discrimination based on disability in schools that receive federal funds. This anti-discrimination provision can be found in Section 504, which also grants students the right to create 504 Plans during their elementary and high school years. It’s important to note that if a school accepts federal grants, it is legally obligated to adhere to this rule. 

Americans with Disabilities Act. The (ADA) is a significant piece of legislation. Under Title II of the ADA, individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination by state and local governments, including public colleges and universities. Meanwhile, Title III requires public places, including schools, to provide necessary accommodations for disabled individuals, such as ensuring wheelchair accessibility. It’s worth noting that Title III also extends its protection to private schools that are not subject to Title II.

Does Your Condition Qualify? 

Many disabilities may qualify under Section 504 or the ADA. However, not all do. The ADA defines a disability as “as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” The Rehab Act defines it as “has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.” The act further explains that this can include loss of a body part, neurological conditions, mental and psych disorders, and even endocrine disorders. 

So does your disability qualify? Here is a list of disabilities that may be protected by one or both of these laws. It may not be exhaustive, so students may wish to talk to a disability rights advocate to determine if they have protection:

  • Deafness or hearing loss 
  • Blindness or vision loss 
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, HIV infection, or epilepsy 
  • Autism 
  • Dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disabilities 
  • Intellectual disabilities 
  • Missing limbs 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Muscular dystrophy 
  • Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychological conditions 
  • PTSD 
  • Mobility problems 
  • OCD 
  • Cerebral palsy 
  • Tourette’s Syndrome and other neurological disorders

Telling the School About Your Disability

To receive the necessary support from your school, it’s important to disclose your disability. If you’re seeking financial aid related to your disability, proper documentation may be required. Fortunately, financial assistance is available to those who qualify. Here are some useful tips to help you along the way:

Discuss Your Need with the Admissions Professional

Initiate a conversation with your admissions counselor, informing them about your disability and any accommodations you may require. They can guide you to the appropriate resources within the school. 

Submit Medical Documentation

Obtain relevant documents from your doctor that confirm your disability. These documents may be necessary for both the school and any scholarships you apply for.

Submit High School Plans for Services

If you had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 plan during high school, consider submitting them to the school. While they may not replace proof of disability, they can provide insight into the assistance you may need. 

Ask for Help Early

Request assistance and submit the required documents early in your application process. This allows the school sufficient time to evaluate the accommodations you may require and gives you the opportunity to obtain additional documents if necessary. 

Distance Learning with a Disability

Distance learning can be highly beneficial for students with special needs as it offers the opportunity to take classes from the comfort of their homes using a computer. This setup allows for breaks and flexibility in scheduling, catering to individual requirements. Moreover, the challenges of physical accommodation on campus or the difficulties of travel with a disability are eliminated.

Despite its advantages, distance learning may pose certain challenges for students with special needs. Some schools may not always be readily equipped to assist online students effectively. Additionally, not all distance learning platforms are designed to be disability-friendly. To address these issues, schools must ensure the use of technology that is compatible with assistive devices, such as readers for visually impaired students or closed captioning for those with hearing impairments. Making distance learning accessible to all students is essential for promoting inclusive education. 

Helpful Accessibility Apps

Some apps can help make it easier for students with unique needs to pursue their education. Consider these:

  • Speak It! This text to speech app lets non-verbal students type words the app speaks for them. 
  • Dragon Anywhere. This app helps students who struggle to write. It translates spoken words into written text. 
  • Talking Calculator. This app turns the phone into a talking calculator, which works great for visually impaired students. 
  • Voice Dream Reader. This tool scans text and reads it to the student, which helps students with reading and vision challenges. 
  • Petralex. This app amplifies sound for hearing impaired individuals. 

Federal Disability Benefits That Could Help Pay for College

Students who are recipients of Social Security Disability benefits can continue to receive them even while attending school. However, it’s important to note that SSDI is typically provided to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from working. The Social Security Administration may assess whether a college student who can attend classes is also capable of holding a job. While students who reside with their parents and are enrolled full-time in college may still qualify, others might not meet the eligibility criteria. If you receive SSDI, you have the flexibility to utilize the payment for various expenses, including college-related costs. 

The Importance of Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

Living with a disability can result in increased expenses, as regular doctor’s appointments and the need for assistive devices can add to daily living costs. However, financial aid can provide crucial support for students with disabilities, enabling them to overcome these challenges and pursue their educational aspirations. It’s important to note that financial aid options are available for those who meet the qualifying criteria, offering valuable assistance in managing the financial burden and making education more accessible for students with disabilities. 

Getting Help with Your Scholarship and Financial Aid Form

For students seeking assistance with filling out scholarship applications, FAFSA, or other financial aid forms, reaching out to the financial aid office at their school or their high school’s guidance counselor is advisable. These professionals are equipped to offer the necessary support and guidance needed to navigate the application process successfully. 

Other Financial Aid Options for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities have the opportunity to apply for various types of federal student aid to assist with their higher education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education offers federal student loans and grants that can provide essential support to eligible students. Some of the available options include: 

Additional Resources

Students with disabilities who need additional help with school or want more info about potential scholarships should contact these groups.

  • American Association of People with Disabilities. AAPD has a wealth of resources for disabled students. They have advocates who argue for disability rights and support networks for people with disabilities. Students can take part in summer internships.
  • Easter Seals. Easter seals help adults and students with disabilities find services. They can also assist with getting students properly diagnosed. 
  • The Arc. The Arc serves people and families touched by intellectual and developmental disabilities, including 100 different diagnoses. This advocacy group provides employment programs and education support. 
  • Special Needs Alliance. This network of attorneys provides help for students and adults with a documented disability who need to understand their rights under the law. 
  • Comprehensive Transition Programs. These programs give students with intellectual disabilities help with the entire college process, from admissions to coursework. This is a federally funded program that students apply for through the participating school. 
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities. The NCLD provides help, support, and funding for people living with learning disabilities.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

If your disability qualifies for financial aid programs, there are a number of scholarships for students with disabilities to consider to help you pursue your career goals. These scholarship opportunities are a good place to start for financial assistance. 

Attention Deficit Disorder

  • Rise Scholarship Foundation Inc. This scholarship offers a $2,500 scholarship to students with ADHD or ADD who also have one additional learning disability. This scholarship is awarded annually and requires applicants to maintain a 2.5 grade point average.
  • Anne Ford Scholarship. This scholarship provides an annual award of $2,500 for four years. It is available to eligible high school senior students with ADHD or another documented learning disability. To qualify, students must be enrolled in a full-time, four-year degree program at an accredited school. The application deadline typically falls in the fall. 

Autism Spectrum

  • Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism. was established in memory of an autistic boy who went missing in 2013. The Perecman Firm, a law firm, initiated this scholarship, offering $5,000 annually to autistic individuals or family members of someone with autism. The application deadline is July 31.
  • Kelly Law Team Autism Scholarship. Open to all individuals with autism, offering two $1,000 awards from the firm. To apply, candidates need to submit an essay detailing how they would utilize the scholarship. The selection process involves online voting, and the essay with the most votes receives the award. The deadline for essay submissions is December 20.
  • Making a Difference for Autism. This scholarship is available for both high school and college students with autism. This $500 scholarship is awarded multiple times throughout the year, and students have the opportunity to apply more than once. The application deadline is in April.
  • Organization for Autism Research. This offers a $3,000 award for students on the autism spectrum who are enrolled as full-time students. The next application cycle is set to open in December 2023.
  • Dan Archwamety Scholarship. This offers a $3,000 award for students on the autism spectrum who are enrolled as full-time students. The next application cycle is set to open in December 2023.

General Disabilities

  • INCIGHT Scholarship. The INCIGHT College Scholarship is available to eligible students in WA, OR, or CA who have any ADA, IDEA, or DSM-V defined or protected disability. To retain the scholarship, students must complete 30 hours of community service. 
  • AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability. This is designed for students with disabilities who are pursuing a full-time undergraduate program or a full or part-time graduate degree. Applicants must be at least college sophomores at the time of application, and the scholarship award is $1,000.
  • AbbVie Immunology Scholarship. This group offers up to $15,000 in financial support to students who are living with inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. The application period for this program will begin on October 24, 2023.
  • Student Award Program of the Foundation for Science and Disability. This award of $1,000 is given to fourth year undergrad students or graduate students. Students must be studying STEM or computer science and must have a disability to apply.
  • John Lepping Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is specifically intended for students with disabilities. To apply, students need to submit an essay describing their disability and how it has financially impacted their family. Eligibility is limited to residents of New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. The award amount can be up to $5,000.
  • BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Scholarship. This scholarship offers a $10,000 education award and is merit-based, available to students with any type of disability. To qualify, students should be enrolled in four-year degree programs related to computer science, business, or a STEM field.

Hearing Impairment

  • Anders Tjellstrom Scholarship. This award of $2,000 per year is open to students with Baha System implants. A GPA 3.0 GPA (unweighted) or above is required.
  • Graeme Clark Scholarship. Students with cochlear nucleus implants can apply for this $2,000 award.
  • Linda Cowden Memorial Scholarship. This one time $1,000 award is for deaf or hard of hearing students. They must be preparing to work in the hard of hearing community and live in middle TN.
  • Sertoma’s Scholarship for the Hard of Hearing or Deaf. This is one of the top awards for hearing impaired students. To be eligible, students must have a minimum of 40dB bilateral hearing loss and be enrolled in a full-time bachelor’s degree program. The scholarship offers a generous $1,000 award. 

Learning and Cognitive Disabilities

  • P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education. This award is for students with language related learning disabilities who wish to pursue college education in the arts. The $1,000 award is based on financial need. 
  • Guthrie Koch Scholarship. This award is for students who have PKU and control it with a low protein diet. It is open to undergrad students.
  • Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship. This scholarship fund awards $2,500 a year for two years to students attending community college with a learning disability. The deadline is in the fall.

Physical Disabilities

  • 1800wheelchair.com Scholarship. This $500 award goes to students who use wheelchairs or power chairs for mobility. The student must apply by May 30. No specific disability is required. 
  • Disabled Student Scholarship. This $500 award is offered to any student who has a debilitating condition and wishes to pursue education. A physician’s statement of the diagnosis is needed to apply.
  • Karman Healthcare Mobility Disability Scholarship. Students who use mobility devices due to their disability can apply for this award. They must write an essay and apply by Sept. 1. A GPA of 2.0 or higher is needed. The award is $500. 

Tourette’s Syndrome

  • Dollars 4 Tic Scholars. This program through the Kelsey D. Diamantis TS Scholarship Family Foundation awards at least one $1,000 award every year to a student with Tourette’s Syndrome. The program has two application deadlines each year, one in the fall and one in the spring.
  • Kenny’s Dream Foundation. This scholarship provides up to $1,500 for college expenses for students with TS. Applicants must have a doctor’s diagnosis of the disorder.

Vision Loss and Blindness

  • Fred Scheigert Scholarship Program. The Fred Scheigert Scholarship Program awards $3,000 to three students with visual impairments. Students can apply between Jan. 1 and March 15. This is a highly competitive award and requires a phone interview. 
  • American Foundation for the Blind. AFB offers multiple scholarships for legally blind students ranging from $2,000 to $7,500.
  • National Federation of the Blind. This group has merit scholarships for blind students ranging from $3,000 to $12,000.
  • Lighthouse Guild. The Lighthouse Guild awards 17 students with blindness or low vision up to $10,000 to use for undergrad or graduate training. The award is based on academic merit.
  • American Council of the Blind Scholarship. ACB offers a scholarship program that awards between $2,000 to $7,500 for students who are legally blind. They must maintain a 3.0 average and be a full time student.

Schools for Students with Disabilities

While schools are required under the ADA to be accessible for people with disabilities, not all are as disability friendly as others. These are some schools to consider based on disability.

Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD/ADHD requires special tutoring and services, which can be found at these schools:

 

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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A robust disability services program makes SIU Carbondale perfect for students with ADD and ADHD. It has a robust list of majors, including bachelor’s, masters, and PhD degrees. Degree programs include:

School Details:

  • HLC Accredited 

Autism Spectrum

These schools embrace neuro diversity: 

 

Drexel University

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Drexel University offers a wide range of social skills services to students with autism. Its Disability Resources department strives to help disabled students have a positive college experience. The school has over 120 graduate degree and certificate programs and 80 undergrad degrees. Programs include: 

School Details:

  • MSCHE Accredited 
  • Online Degree Programs: BS, MS 

 

Daemen College

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Daemen College has a disability support service specifically for autistic students. This small, suburban school has a strong focus on the healthcare field. It has multiple majors, including these: 

  • Visual and Performing Arts (BA) 
  • Business Admin (BS) 
  • Social Work (BA) 
  • Health Promotion (BS)
  • School Details:
  • MSCHE Accredited 

Disability Programs

 

General Disabilities

The disability support at these schools aims to help students with varied disabilities: 

 

University of Arizona

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University of Arizona may be a great option for disabled students. It has over 250 undergrad programs as well as master’s and PhD level programs. Some of the degree programs include: 

  • Bio Chem (BS) 
  • Engineering Management (BS) 
  • Accounting (BS) 
  • Business Admin (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited 

 

Disability Programs

 

Hearing Impairment

Students who struggle to hear may find these schools accommodate them well:

 

Gallaudet University

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Gallaudet University has specific programs for students with hearing impairment, with all courses taught in both spoken English and signed English. It is the only university that targets deaf students specifically. Other disabilities are also accommodated, and hearing students are welcome. Degree programs include: 

  • American Sign Language (BA) 
  • Education (BA) 
  • Psychology (BA) 
  • Theatre Arts (BA)
  • School Details:

 

Midwest Institute

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Admission Requirements:

  • High school or GED considered but not required
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 90%
  • Average Annual Cost: $16,645
  • Median Salary After Completing: $16,700 to $29,119
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Massage Therapy
  • HVAC

 

Learning and Cognitive Disabilities

Learning differences require additional support at school, and these schools have risen to the challenge: 

 

University of Iowa

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Students with learning disabilities may achieve a Big Ten college experience through the University of Iowa. This school has a disability program for cognitive disabilities that focuses on career training. Undergrad degree programs include: 

  • Civil Engineering (BSE) 
  • Public Health (BA) 
  • Secondary Ed (BS) 
  • Sports Studies (BA)
  • School Details:

Disability Programs 

Physical Disabilities

Navigating a campus with a physical disability is challenging, but these schools strive to make it easier: 

 

University of California Berkeley 

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UC Berkeley has recently performed campus improvements to make its campus more wheelchair friendly. This means students with physical disabilities can get around campus easily. This school has over 350 degree programs across 184 departments. It holds the distinction of 31 alumni who earned Nobel Prizes. This school has many undergrad degree programs, like: 

  • Social Welfare (BA) 
  • Environmental Science (BS) 
  • Business Admin (BS) 
  • Bio Engineering (BS) 
  • School Details:

Disability Programs 

  • N/A

 

Tourette’s Syndrome

Though there are no specific programs for students with this condition at any colleges, students with Tourette’s Syndrome could find excellent support at: 

 

West Virginia Wesleyan College

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West Virginia Wesleyan has 56 undergrad majors for students to consider. It also has four master’s programs and a Doctor of Nursing Practice option. Many programs to assist students with special needs as well as Mentor Advantage Program tutoring services could help students with TS get off to a good start. Degrees include: 

  • Exercise Science (BS) 
  • Business Administration (BS) 
  • Physics (BA) 
  • El Ed (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited 
  • Online Degree Programs: BS, BA 

 

Disability Programs

 

Vision Loss and Blindness

These schools offer good accessibility for students with vision loss and blindness: 

 

Missouri State University

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Missouri State University has 102 bachelor’s programs, 61 master’s programs, and 7 doctoral programs. Its Disability Resource Center keeps visually impaired students well informed about things that affect their navigation of campus. Undergrad programs at this school include: 

  • School Details:
  • Online Degree Programs: Doctoral, MS, BS 
  • HLC Accredited 

Disability Programs

  • TRIO Student Support Services 
  • Disability Resource Center

 

 

University of Connecticut 

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UConn has a large campus with a small student to faculty ratio. The Center for Students with Disabilities helps modify the campus when needed for students with visual impairments. The school regularly has over 1,000 students with this disability. It has 14 schools and over 100 undergrad majors, including: 

  • School Details:
  • NECHE accreditation 
  • Online degree programs: MS

 

Disability Programs

  • Center for Students with Disabilities 

Grants for Women

Grants for Women

Find Information on Grants and Scholarships That You May Qualify For

Are There College Grants and Scholarships for Women?

There are many grants and scholarships for women. Grants are typically needs-based, for women who need financial help. Providers may also set aside grant money for women who are part of a certain group, such as moms, battered women, Veterans, minorities, and women who put their degrees on hold. Scholarships, on the other hand, are generally merit-based and reward academics, community service, or talent.

Where Can I Find College Grants and Scholarships for Women?

As a woman, you have many sources to check for grants, including government, nonprofits, agencies, businesses, foundations, schools, and trusts. You might also look for grants based on your major, ethnic group, and status. Using as many personal factors as you can think of might focus your search and help you find grants that suit your goals. For more information on financial aid, grants, and scholarships, you can download our FREE Education Success Kit.

How Do You Earn Grants and Scholarships for Women

Securing a grant as a woman requires meeting specific qualifications, as each grant provider has unique criteria. Generally, many grants are available to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Some may require proof of residency, such as providing a copy of your ID. Need-based grants target low-income women, often requiring proof of financial need such as income tax statements or copies of FAFSA paperwork.

Merit-based grants typically consider a woman’s GPA, so including copies of official or unofficial transcripts with your application is essential. Certain grants aim to support women in male-dominated fields, where women are still underrepresented in the workforce. Some grants may request additional materials like references, a resume, and a personal essay. You might also have a section to showcase your awards, achievements, and extracurricular activities. Be sure to submit your complete application by the specified deadline, which may involve mailing a physical package, utilizing an online system, or both.

Why Is Grant Money Available to Women

Grant money for women aims to help females meet their educational and career goals (if you qualify, of course!). The millions of dollars available to those who qualify may also fill the gap where women don’t have as many opportunities. Take the workforce. Despite a strong presence, women are still a minority in some fields.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women’s labor force participation rate was 56.1% in 2021, about the same as in 2020 (56.2%).1 Occupations like software developers, lawyers, and executives still have fewer female professionals.

For example, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM occupations. In 2021, 35% of STEM workers were women, compared to 65% for men—that’s nearly half. The good news is that women’s numbers have been growing—in 2011, only 32% of STEM workers were female, compared to 68% of men.2 Then there’s pay inequality. In 2020, the median wage and salary earnings of men in STEM occupations was $64,998, compared to $59,931 for women. The discrepancy is even greater in one area of STEM—science and engineering (S&G). In S&G occupations, men earned a median wage and salary of $99,923, while women earned $75,562.3

Why Consider College Grants and Scholarships for Women

Grants and scholarships typically provide women with funding opportunities to finance their college education without the burden of repayment, unlike loans. Research indicates that obtaining a college degree could significantly enhance lifetime earnings and reduce unemployment rates.

Meanwhile, the cost of tuition for four-year programs continues to escalate. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition at public colleges could amount to approximately $9,400.4 Grants and scholarships could help alleviate some of the financial strain by covering expenses such as tuition, fees, housing, and supplies. Additionally, they could assist women in managing other financial obligations like childcare and transportation to and from school.

Unemployment Rates and Weekly Earnings by Education Level (2022)

Education Level Unemployment RATEMEDIAN Weekly Earnings 
Doctorate 1.0% $2,083 
Professional Degree 1.4% $2,080
Master’s Degree 1.9% $1,661
Bachelor’s Degree 2.2% $1,432
High school diploma (or equivalent)4.0% $853
Source: BLS.gov, 2022
*Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary

Grants and Scholarships for Women in 2024 and Beyond

We’ve compiled a list of college grants and scholarships for women with deadline dates in 2024 and beyond. 

Grants

AAUW Career Development Grants

AAUW is the American Association of University Women. They were established in 1881 and have advocated for women’s and girl’s rights since. Career Development Grants range from $2,000 to $20,000. The grants are for women with a bachelor’s degree who want to re-enter the workforce or prep for or further a career. If you are a woman of color, you are pursuing your first advanced degree, or you are in a nontraditional field, you might get priority. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who earned their last degree before June 30, 2016. Funds are available for tuition, fees, books, supplies, local transportation, and dependent care.

Deadline: November 15

Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards

Each year, Soroptimist provides over $2.9 million in education awards for more than 2,000 women each year. Some of the challenges recipients face include poverty, domestic and sexual violence, and addiction. The Live Your Dream Awards are for women who are the main breadwinners in their families. Recipients could use the money to offset any costs related to higher education, such as books, childcare, tuition, and transport. There are three levels of cash awards; the finalist may receive up to $16,000.

Deadline: November 15

P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education

The P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education is a need-based grant for women whose education was interrupted. It aims to help women go back to school to complete a college degree or certificate that boosts their marketable skills. The maximum grant amount is $3,000—lesser amounts may also be available. If you qualify and receive a grant, the money must go to education-related expenses including childcare, mandatory uniforms, and transport to and from class. 

Deadline: Varies

Jeannette Rankin Foundation Award

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation (JRF) Awards are for low-income women aged 35 and over. About 75% of JRF scholars are single moms, but you don’t have to be one to apply. You need to be a US citizen or legal permanent resident who is pursuing a technical/vocational diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. Along with financial information, expect to submit references and transcripts. Grant amounts awarded are $3,000.

Deadline: February 16

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation

The Patsy Takemoto grant is for mothers with minor children who are pursuing their first degree and meet income requirements. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded based on financial need, personal circumstance, educational goals, and civic goals. Award amounts are paid each of two semesters and may be used for direct school and living expenses.

Deadline: August

Scholarships

P.E.O. STAR Scholarship

P.E.O. is the Philanthropic Educational Organization. A member group, their mission is to help women with at least a bachelor’s degree complete a doctoral-level degree. higher education. A non-renewable $2,500 award, the funds could help offset tuition, fees, books, or necessary supplies. You may qualify if you have a 3.0 GPA or above and plan to attend an accredited US or Canadian college. Applicants also need the vote of a local P.E.O. Chapter. 

Deadline: October 15

P.E.O. Scholar Awards

P.E.O. Scholar Awards are a one-time merit award for women in doctoral-level programs. These awards offset some of the cost of study and research. Eligible women are leaders in their field, whether in university academics, science, medicine, law, global economics, history, literature, government, or the arts. The award amount is $25,000. You need to be nominated to be eligible and show the potential to make a positive impact. 

Deadline: Spring

Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) Inc.

The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, Inc. funds female survivors of intimate spousal abuse who seek higher education. Amounts range from $250 to $2,000 per school term. To qualify, you need to have a sponsor. A sponsor is a 501(c)3 charity (domestic violence victim services provider) that you’ve worked with for six months in a row. This person agrees to partner with WISP and you during your time in school. You also have to pursue your education at an accredited school and be separated from your abusive spouse for one year.

Deadline: Rolling

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

This scholarship, offered by Zonta International, is awarded to women internationally who are pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree in business. 37 scholarships are awarded in the amount of $5,000 each. Applicants must be pursuing a business program and enrolled in their second year of undergraduate study through their final year of a master’s program.

Deadline: Varies

Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA) Scholarships

The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers scholarships to women pursuing an accounting degree. Five scholarships are available; you may apply for more than one scholarship as long as you meet the criteria:

  • Women in Transition, awarded to incoming freshmen who are the primary breadwinners of their family and are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in accounting; the amount is up to $16,000 over four years
  • Women in Need, awarded to women in their sophomore year who are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and are the primary breadwinners of their family; the amount is $2,000 per year for two years
  • EFWA Undergraduate, which funds several one-year undergraduate students working toward a Bachelor’s degree in accounting; amounts vary between $1,000 and $2,000 each
  • American Dream, awarded to women who are attending a two-year community college and hope to transfer to a Bachelor’s degree program in accounting; the amount is $1,000

Deadline: April 30 

Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program

The Army Women’s Foundation (AWF) Legacy Scholarships provides awards to women soldiers (past or present) and their children. The funds aim to offset costs related to higher education. Scholarships are available for certificate programs, community college, undergrad degree programs, and graduate programs. Amounts vary depending on the specific scholarship. The scholarships take into account your GPA, community service record, letters of recommendation, and need level. 

Some of the named scholarships include:

  • The M.M. Costello Scholarship, which is awarded to a recipient pursuing a major in healthcare; the scholarship amount is $3,000
  • The Professional Contract Services (PCSI) scholarship, which awards two scholarships of $5,000 for disabled women veterans
  • The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion Legacy Scholarship, which honors the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, awarded to women who are serving in any category of the U.S. Army or are a lineal descendent of women who have served; the amount is $2,500

Deadline: January 21

Women Marines Association (WMA) Scholarships

WMA offers nine scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 for women who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps or spouses and descendants of a Marine. The scholarships provide qualified applicants with the opportunity to pursue education at a college, university, or college-level trade school. Applicants must be sponsored by a WMA member.

Deadline: March 31

Sources

1https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-databook/2022/home.htm2https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf23315/report/the-stem-workforce3https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf23315/report/stem-median-wage-and-salary-earnings4https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=765https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm

 

Graduate Scholarships for International Students

Are there Graduate Scholarships for International Students?

International students interested in attending graduate school in the U.S. have the opportunity to apply for scholarships, which provide free funding that doesn’t require repayment if the terms are met. 

Numerous scholarships cater to non-U.S. students seeking master’s, PhD, or postgraduate certificate programs in the U.S. Additionally, there are specific scholarships available for international students pursuing different levels of education, such as master’s degrees or doctoral studies.

On the other hand, there are scholarships designed for U.S. students aspiring to pursue graduate degrees abroad, like the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for studying at Oxford University. In this context, a U.S. student becomes an international student when they pursue their education outside the country. 

An international student (for admissions and financial aids purposes) into the U.S. is

  • Not a U.S. citizen
  • Not a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Does not have a refugee visa
  • DACA recipient (in some cases)

Types of Graduate Scholarships for International Students

There are different kinds of scholarships that international grad students might look for.

University scholarships. Some schools offer scholarships to grad students from other countries. Financial scholarships. Usually, these awards go to people with a high financial need. But they may also check out your GPA. Merit scholarships. These may look at financial facts but want students with strong minds and high GPA or GRE scores. Country based scholarships. These awards may only be available for people in certain countries Privately funded scholarships. Often from businesses or foundations with funds set aside for certain groups (E.g. minority groups, by major) Part scholarships. These may take the form of a contest, sweeps or give away (E.g. Scholarship Points)

How can I apply for an international scholarship for graduate students?

To apply for one of these scholarship, you need to meet certain criteria. And apply on time!

That said, eligibility varies from one scholarship to the next. If you apply for a university scholarship, you may need to have:

  • The U.S. equivalent of a bachelor’s degree (for acceptance into a master’s program)
  • The U.S. equivalent of a master’s degree (for acceptance into a PhD program)
  • Passing scores on an English proficiency exam (TOEFL / IELTS)

To decide who gets a scholarship, many providers also look at a student from all sides. Academic achievement, leadership, and financial need are common things that are considered. You may also need to be studying in a certain field with a track record of making a difference.

Why Consider Graduate Scholarships for International Students?

Around 1,056,165 international students are currently enrolled in U.S. schools, making a significant contribution of $40.1 billion to the U.S. economy, while also enriching campuses and workplaces with diverse cultural perspectives. 

Graduate students aspiring to study in the U.S. encounter various challenges, including dealing with unfavorable exchange rates to U.S. dollars, facing out-of-state costs, obtaining visas, and ensuring secure housing and other essential details. 

In the U.S., the tuition fees students pay for graduate school often vary based on their residency status. If you are a resident of the state where you study, you qualify for in-state tuition, which averages around $12,394 at public institutions. 

On the other hand, if you are not a resident, you are required to pay out-of-state costs, which can be higher. Currently, the average cost of graduate school at a private institution is approximately $26,621. 

Which U.S. Schools Give Graduate Scholarships to International Students?

Many U.S. schools give scholarships to int’l grad students. Here are 5 of them:

Capella U, online. Capella Progress Rewards are scholarships for eligible new students and are not need based. Value: $3,000 to $20,000. Walden U, online. Walden awards up to $25,000. They fund grad study in K through 12 or public policy. American U, Washington DC. AU offers merit based awards which int’l students may apply for. U of Southern California. USC offers a wide range of scholarships in many disciplines of grad study. NYU, NY. NYU offers Wagner Scholarships which are merit based awards.

11 Graduate Scholarships for International Students for 2024

1 Fulbright Foreign Student Program


Every year, the Fulbright Program grants up to $50,000 per year to approximately 4,000 foreign students. The selection process is based on merit, but eligibility criteria and the selection process differ from country to country. 

Fulbright follows an annual application cycle, typically opening about fifteen months before the start of the grant, although there may be some exceptions.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: The deadline is about 11 or 12 months before the grant’s start date.

Requirements: Preferred students may need to meet a wide range of criteria. Some relate to academic merit. While others speak to project feasibility, and available grant funds. Non U.S. citizens with legal residency status in the U.S. are not eligible for Fulbright grants.

2 Rotary Peace Fellowships


Every year, Rotary offers up to 50 fellowships for master’s degrees and an additional 50 fellowships for professional development certificate programs. 

These prestigious awards provide global leaders with the opportunity to study peace, conflict, and security issues at one of the Rotary Peace centers 

The grants offer comprehensive financial support of up to $50,000 per year, covering tuition, fees, room and board, round trip transportation, as well as all internship and field study expenses. 

Amount: up to $50,000 per year

Deadline: The 2025-26 Rotary Peace Fellowship application will be available online in February 2024

Requirements:  Master’s degree applicants need at least three years of full time work in a related field. Or volunteer experience and a bachelor’s degree. Their program lasts 15 to 24 months and includes a 2 to 3 month self designed field study. Certificate applicants need at least five years of full time work in a related field. Or volunteer work. You’ll also need to furnish a CV. This program is for the seasoned leader who wants to gain hands on tools to promote peace.

3 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans


The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program celebrates the valuable contributions of immigrants and their children to the United States. Each year, they choose 30 New Americans who demonstrate the potential to make substantial contributions to US society, culture, or their academic disciplines. These outstanding graduate students receive financial support of up to $90,000 over two years, and they also become part of a supportive and enduring community of New American Fellows. 

Amount: up to $90,000

Deadline: Oct 26

Requirements:  Recipients are immigrants or their children. The Fellowship supports one to two years of grad study in any field. It can be in any advanced degree granting program in the U.S.

4 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship


The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship offers approximately 36 fellowships each year, open to all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents, and DACA recipients. The program aims to provide one year of financial support to doctoral candidates working on their dissertations, with a focus on those who demonstrate great potential as future scholars and educators. 

Recipients of this fellowship will receive a one-year stipend of $25,000, along with an invitation to the Conference of Ford Fellows and access to Ford Fellow Regional Liaisons. 

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: January 7

Requirements: Open to all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and DACA recipients.

5 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program aims to cultivate Africa’s future leaders, with a preference for students who possess excellent academic records and a strong commitment to creating positive impacts in their communities. 

The award’s total value is approximately $50,000, although the number of available awards may vary. The program offers comprehensive support, encompassing financial assistance for tuition fees, books, and other educational materials, as well as social and academic support to the selected scholars. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Depends on the institution

Requirements: Each partner has its own criteria. But, for a grad (master’s) degree, students must be 35 years old or under at the time they apply.

6 Global Citizen Scholarship


MPower Financing is a mission-driven fintech company and a leading provider of global educational loans, with a dedicated focus on supporting international students in achieving their career aspirations. 

Annually, they offer several scholarship programs, and their flagship initiative is the Global Citizen Scholarship, featuring three prestigious awards: a $5,000 scholarship, along with $3,000 and $2,000 scholarships. 

These esteemed scholarships will be granted to one outstanding student from each of the following regions: India, Asia (excluding India), Latin America/Caribbean, and Africa, with the condition that the recipients must be enrolled at a school supported by MPOWER. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Depends on the institution

Requirements: Each partner has its own criteria. But, for a grad (master’s) degree, students must be 35 years old or under at the time they apply.

7 Women in STEM Scholarship


In addition to its mission of empowering international students, MPower Financing also strives to foster innovation. As part of this commitment, they proudly present the Women in STEM Scholarships each year, offering three esteemed awards: a $6,000 scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship, and a $1,000 scholarship. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 15, 2024

Requirements: You do not need to be a borrower to apply. Awards go to female int’l/DACA students who are enrolled or accepted to study full time in a STEM degree program at a school MPOWER supports. The program can be in any field of STEM that leads to a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD.

8 Korean American Scholarship Fund


Each year the Korean American Scholarship Fund offers awards. KASF scholarships range from $500 to $5,000. They are open to qualifying Korean American students. This includes foreign students from Korea. 

Amount: $500 – $5,000

Deadline: April-June Recurs Annually

Requirements: Enrollment in a full time program in the U.S. during the scholarship application year is a criteria. Other criteria are financial need, grades, school activities and volunteer service. If extra funds are available, non Koreans may qualify for these scholarships. This includes offspring of American vets who served during the Korean War.

9 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program


The Humphrey Fellowship Program caters to young and mid-career professionals from select foreign countries, offering them a unique opportunity to spend a year in the U.S. 

Although it is not a degree program, Fellows can enhance their leadership skills through various activities, including taking courses at their host institution, participating in conferences, networking, and exchanging insights. 

The program’s ultimate goal is to cultivate a global mindset through international study, providing an enriching experience distinct from a typical graduate school journey.  

To support participants during their fellowship, a stipend of approximately $50,000 is provided, covering tuition, fees, living expenses, books, insurance, air travel, and even a one-time computer subsidy. Additionally, a professional development allowance is included to support field trips, visits, and conference attendance. 

Amount: $50,000

Deadline: Application deadlines vary by country

Requirements: Check site for eligibility requirements.

10 American Association of University Women Educational Foundation


AAUW is a national grassroots organization. It has been helping to empower women as individuals and as a community since 1881.The International Fellowship Program is one of AAUW’s award programs. 

The program is for women who are going for grad or post doctoral study in the U.S. on a full time basis. It supports women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

There are also a few awards for study outside of the U.S. (excluding the applicant’s home country). These go to women who are members of Graduate Women International

Up to 5 International Fellowships for master’s/first professional degrees are available. They are renewable for a second year and award $18,000. Doctoral awards are $20,000 and Post doctoral $30,000.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: November 15

Requirements: Preferred applicants are women with a history of working to advance women and girls in some way. For instance, through civic, community, or professional work.

11 PEO International Peace Scholarship


The PEO Sisterhood is a charitable organization. Its mission is to advance, educate and motivate women. Members of P.E.O. believe that education is a key to world peace.

One of the awards the PEO offers since 1949 is the International Peace Scholarship Fund. This program awards up to $12,500. Scholarships go to international female students wanting to study at a grad level in the U.S.

Amount: up to $12,500

Deadline: December 15 every year

Requirements: Preferred applicants show financial need. There are also lesser amounts awarded according to individual needs.

12 Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students in 2023

Can DACA Students Get Scholarships?

If you are a DACA grad student, there are potential scholarships available with varying eligibility requirements. Some Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students may not have citizenship prerequisites and could be open to Undocumented or Eligible Non-Citizens (as defined by FAFSA). 

Scholarships for DACA grad students vary in dollar amounts. Some may offset the cost of tuition and fees. While others may cover expenses like food, insurance, books and travel. 

Unlike a loan, scholarships usually don’t require repayment if you fulfill their terms, and a substantial scholarship could help you cover the expenses of pursuing a master’s degree or PhD. 

To be able to apply for a scholarship as a DACA grad student, you need to meet the criteria. These vary from each college and grad schools as well as from each state and local source.

9 Common Criteria for Scholarships that DACA Graduate Students May Need

As a DACA student, your status may not be the only thing you need to show. When you apply for a scholarship, you may need some (or all) of the these to qualify. 

  • Grades – GPA range
  • Leadership skills
  • Volunteer service 
  • Goal to pursue a master’s degree or PhD in a certain field 
  • Membership in an association
  • Strong writing skills 
  • Work history related to your major 
  • Being a resident of a certain state 
  • Financial need  

3 Types of Scholarships for DACA Graduate Students

There are three main kinds of grad scholarships for DACA students. Need based, merit based and contest scholarships. 

Need based scholarships assess financial need. They may still look at a student from all sides. But preferred students will show a desire to go to grad school but also a lack of money.  

Merit scholarships may place more weight on your academic achievement or talent. They may also look at your volunteer service background.  

Contests are another way for DACA students to fund grad school. These often ask you to sign up by making an account. You might enter a few at once to improve your odds. 

One example is ScholarshipPoints. Applicants complete a student profile which asks for name, email, birthday and grade level. This is all you have to do to enter for the $2,500 prize.     

Winning a scholarship contest may help with costs related to getting your grad degree. But, they may not be enough to pay the entire tuition bill.  

As an example, the Get Schooled No Essay Scholarship is a $2,000 award.  

If this is the case, you may need to also get a small loan. Luckily, as a DACA grad student there are borrowers to turn to. MPower Financing is one such option. 

Why Consider Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students? 

About 690,000 people have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. The average age of “Dreamers” enrolled in DACA is 24 year. About a quarter (24%) are ages 26 to 30, while one in ten (11%) are ages 31 to 36.  

Almost half (45%) of current DACA recipients live in two states: California (29%) and Texas (16%). Illinois (5%), New York (5%), Florida (4%) and Arizona (4%) also have pretty big DACA populations. 

Without scholarships, DACA students may have a hard time being able to pay for grad school. These students do not qualify for federal aid or loans. But scholarships may be easier to find in some states than others. 

There are at least 19 states where DACA students may receive in state tuition. Of these, only some states offer state grants to these students. Those states are California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington 

Other states make these students pay the same tuition as an international student. These are Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. Dreamers in these locations cannot access in state tuition. 

12 Scholarships for DACA Graduate Students for 2023

Are you a DACA student who wants to go to grad school? You may be eligible for state or school financial aid and private scholarships. To get started, check out these 11 scholarships for DACA grad students for 2023.

Dream.US National Scholarship

Undocumented immigrant students under 16 can apply for the Dream.US National Scholarship. It offers up to $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree and is open to those with or without DACA or TPS status. Don’t miss this chance to pursue higher education!

Amount: awards worth up to $8,250
Deadline: February 2024
Requirements: High school seniors and college underclassmen with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Other categories include low-income and immigrant students.  

Dream.US Opportunity Scholarship

Undocumented immigrant students, arrived before 16, may be eligible for the Dream.US Opportunity Scholarship! Open to high school seniors/graduates in locked-out states, offering up to $80,000 for a bachelor’s degree at Opportunity Partner Colleges. Apply now!

Amount: awards worth up to $20,000
Deadline: January 2024
Requirements: High school seniors & college freshmen in specific states with DACA status, minimum GPA of 2.8, low income, and immigrants. States: AL, AK, AR, GA, ID, IN, IA, LA, ME, MA, MS, MO, NH, NC, ND, OH, SC, SD, WV, WI. 

National Association of Hispanic Journalist Scholarships

The NAHJ supports professional growth of Hispanics in the news industry. NAHJ scholarship opportunities range from $1,500 to $10,000. They are open to both undergrad and grad students.   

Amount: $1,500 – $10,000
Deadline: February
Requirements: To be eligible, one must be going to school in the United States and Puerto Rico. Preferred applicants also have at least a 3.0 GPA. Preferred career paths are English or Spanish language print, broadcast, digital or photo journalism. 

Maria Elina Salinas Scholarship – $2,500   

Students applying for this scholarship must submit their essay in Spanish. Preferred applicants must show a strong intent to become a Spanish language journalist. 

eQuality Nursing Scholarships 

Each year, eQuality Scholarship Collaborative awards scholarships. In the year 2023, scholarships are being offered to four categories of students, each with unique eligibility criteria. If you have any doubts about your eligibility, feel free to reach out to them via email before proceeding with the application process or deciding against applying. 

Amount: $6,000
Deadline: Scholarship will resume in the fall
Requirements: Applicants must be a resident of northern or central CA. But may study in other places (there’s a list of approved sites). They must also be enrolled by the interview date and in good standing. Master’s programs with a BA/BS in a field other than nursing are eligible. RN re entry and RN to BSN or MSN programs are not eligible. 

Simplr AI and Technology Scholarship

Simplr is a Silicon Valley start-up involved in machine learning and AI. They offer a $7,500 scholarship award as a way to give back to the community.  

Amount: $7,500
Deadline: December 31
Requirements: Applicants can be pursuing an undergrad or grad degree in an accepted major. Computer Science (CS), Math, IT. Or is attending or will attend law school. Criteria include merit and financial need. Applicants must submit a winning essay showing their passion for one of a few topics. AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), Block chain tech and Intellectual Property (IP) law.    

MPower Global Citizen Scholarship 

The MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarships are available through MPower Financing. These scholarships support DACA and international students at partner schools.  

The scholarship is open to all international and DACA students, regardless of whether they are MPOWER borrowers, and aims to support the diverse experiences of international students. 

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: October 31, 2023
Requirements: You do not need to be a borrower to apply. The form asks prompted questions about goals and education history and includes a longer essay. 

MPower Women in STEM Scholarship 

The Women in STEM Scholarship is available to those planning to study STEM in the U.S. or Canada with legal permission to do so. This scholarship, offered by MPOWER Financing, aims to support women in STEM by providing up to $6,000 annually to help reduce financial barriers to international education. 

Amount: $6,000
Deadline: January 15, 2024
Requirements: College and graduate students with DACA status, particularly women, pursuing degrees in computer science, education, engineering, electrical engineering, biology, math, or healthcare are eligible for the scholarship.  

Prospanica Foundation Scholarships  

If you are a Hispanic/Latino student enrolled in a U.S. undergraduate or graduate business program, consider applying for the Prospanica Foundation Scholarships! Each year, eligible applicants who are Prospanica members can receive awards of up to $5,000. The scholarships have different criteria and award amounts, so check the FAQ for more details. Prospanica is a business-oriented organization dedicated to empowering and enabling Hispanic professionals to reach their educational and career goals. If you support their mission and need financial assistance for your education, we encourage you to apply! 

Amount: awards worth up to $5,000
Deadline: April 2024
Requirements: College students of Hispanic/Latino heritage, who are US Citizens, Permanent Residents, or DACA recipients, with a minimum GPA of 2.8, and pursuing an academic interest in Business are eligible for the Prospanica Foundation Scholarships. 

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

The Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is available for academically outstanding students pursuing a research-based Ph.D. or Sc.D. program in the U.S., with a career goal in teaching and research at the university level. The fellowship, offered by The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, grants $9,000 awards to support graduate studies for aspiring educators passionate about teaching. 

Amount: $9,000
Deadline: December 2023 
Requirements: Graduate students with an academic interest in Education or Social Science and holding US citizenship, Permanent Resident status, or DACA are eligible for this scholarship.

Davis Putter Scholarship 

The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund aids those who work to advance social and economic justice. The largest grant is $15,000 per year.   

A complete application includes a 1000 word essay that details progressive social activity. You must also provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts and show financial need.  

Amount: up to $15,000
Deadline: April 1
Requirements: Preferred applicants to these need based scholarships are student activists. Recent awards went to students active in efforts against racism, sexism, and homophobia. To apply, you need to be a current grad student or enrolled in a trade or technical program.  
 

American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation Scholarships 

AHLEF presents a range of scholarship opportunities annually, with a total of nine programs. These scholarships offer generous values, some up to $7,500. The recipients are students who are currently pursuing bachelor’s or graduate degrees in hospitality-related fields. For the upcoming year, AHLEF has allocated $1.3 million in scholarships, benefiting over 100 deserving recipients. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: The application process for the 2023-2024 batch is now closed. Stay tuned as applications for the 2024-2025 academic year will open later this fall.  
Requirements: Preferred applicants have strong grades, financial need, and relevant work history.  

Grad School Scholarships

Can I Apply for Grad School Scholarships? 

If you’re considering grad school, rest assured that numerous scholarships are available to support your educational journey. Certain scholarships cater to master’s degree programs, helping to alleviate the associated costs. Additionally, scholarships exist for PhD students, providing financial assistance for research endeavors. 

It’s worth noting that pursuing a graduate degree doesn’t necessarily require on-campus attendance. Many adults opt for online grad school programs, and scholarships are also available for those pursuing education in this format. 

Where Do I Find Grad Scholarships? 

Many scholarships come from grad schools themselves. But there are private donors and agencies that offer them too. In fact, if your field of study has an association of some type, it may be useful for a scholarship. Sometimes, these awards are only for members, so you may have a shot. 

Take the American Speech Language Hearing Foundation. They offer scholarships of $5,000. They go to grad students in communication science and disorders master’s or PhD programs. Because they are not loans, scholarships and grants typically don’t have to be paid back. You may have to abide by the terms of the grant or scholarship, though, so make sure to see what these are. 

How Do You Get Grad Scholarships for Grad School? 

To get a scholarship for grad school, you must apply. You may apply only if you meet the provider’s criteria for eligibility.  

Eligibility varies from one scholarship to the next but can include things such as:

  • Merit (e.g., GPA range, creativity shown in a portfolio) 
  • Financial need 
  • Intent to pursue a grad degree in a specific field (e.g., Business adminSocial workArchitectureProject Management, etc.)
  • Plans to research in a chosen area (e.g., Archaeological Research
  • Demonstrated qualities (e.g., History of leadership or Public Service
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident status 
  • Live in a certain location 
  • Be a member of the grantor organization or association

Graduate Scholarship Contests 

There are also scholarships that are more like contests. These may ask you to submit a video or some kind of portfolio, depending on the subject. One example is the Pelican Water Sustainability Scholarship. Applicants create a video to support the theme of water conservation for a chance to win up to $1,500.

Or, all you might need to do is create an account and put your name in the hat. One example is Scholarship Points, a $10K giveaway.   

Graduate Scholarships for Minority Students and Women 

Yet others are set aside for people that belong to a certain group. Like women, international students and minorities. An example is the Jonathon Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men. These tuition awards are for $5,000 to $10,000 each. They honor inventor Jonathon Lax an inventor and entrepreneur. Recipients are gay men pursuing more education who live in the five county Philadelphia region.

Another is the Holly A. Cornell Scholarship. This $7,500 annual award is from the American Water Works Society. It goes to talented female and/or minority students. Recipients must be going for their degree and research in the field of water supply and treatment.  

Why Consider Grad School Scholarships? 

A grad degree may lead to higher lifetime earnings and more job potential. One recent study compared salaries for people with and without a grad degree. It found that people with a grad degree earn more and experience less unemployment.   

Unemployment Rates and Weekly Earnings by Education Level 

Education LevelUnemploymentAvg Weekly Earnings
Doctorate1.0%$2,083
Professional Degree1.4%$2,080
Master’s Degree1.9%$1,661
Bachelor’s Degree2.2%$1,432 

But the average costs of grad school has been climbing. At last check, the average cost of grad school at a public in state school was $12,596. A degree program at a private school was $28,017. 

While scholarship amounts vary, they may bring your goals within reach. They can help pay for tuition, travel fees, books, and other expenses. Especially if you have other spending needs like housing and children. 

Grad School Scholarships for 2024 and Beyond 

This curated list has eleven of the top grad school scholarships you can apply to in 2022. We selected a broad array of grad majors. Make sure to expand your search if you do not see one in your field.

1 Global Citizen Scholarship


MPower Financing’s mission is to support international students and their career goals. Each year, they offers three Global Citizen Scholarships. One $5,000 scholarship, and a $3,000 and $2,000 one.

You do not need to be a borrower to apply. These scholarships will be given to one student from each of the following countries/regions: India, Asia (excluding India), Latin America/Caribbean, and Africa. All winners must be students at a school MPOWER supports. 

Amount:Varies

Deadline:July

Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

2 Women in STEM Scholarship


To support future innovation, MPower Financing offers three annual Women in STEM Scholarships. One $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 one, and one $2,000 one.

You do not need to be a borrower to apply. Awards go to female international/DACA students who are currently enrolled or accepted to study full time in a STEM degree program at a school MPOWER supports. This means any program in science, tech, engineering and math that leads to a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD.

Amount:Varies

Deadline:July

Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

3 Women Techmakers Scholarship


The Women Techmakers Scholars, sponsored by Google, honors Anita Borg. Anita’s vision was to create gender equality in the tech field.  

Women Techmakers Scholars in the U.S. will each receive $10,000 USD. Or $5,000 CAD (for students in Canada) for the school year. All recipients get an invite to the annual Google Scholars Retreat. 

Amount:$10,000

Deadline:Fall

Requirements: Applicants must plan to be full time bachelor’s, master’s or PhD students. Other criteria include a strong academic record and leadership skills. Plus, you need to major in computer science, computer engineering or a technical field.

4 Virginia Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife Scholarship Program


Each year the Virginia Department of Health awards Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife Scholarships. The program provides a scholarship award of about $5,000. The number of recipients depends on funding. 

Amount:$5,000

Deadline:June 30

Requirements: Applicants must agree to two things. One is to practice full time as a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife. The other is to work in an under served area of Virginia. Preferred applicants are state residents and minority students. They must be in family practice, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, adult health, and geriatric nurse practitioner programs.

5 ONS Foundation Master’s Scholarship


Each year the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation offers scholarships. These $5,000 awards go to RNs committed to oncology nursing. The number of scholarships varies – last year there were fourteen. 

Amount:$5,000

Deadline:February 1

Requirements: Applicants must be pursuing either a master’s degree in nursing or a post master’s certificate. They must also be enrolled at an NLN or CCNE accredited School of Nursing. 

6 African American Heritage Endowed MBA Scholarship


Each year the University of Washington Foster School of Business offers a non renewable scholarship. The amount varies from $7,500 to $10,000. The scholarship is for an African American student at the Foster School of Business. Preferred applicants show academic excellence and business leadership. The recipient will also partner with the Consulting and Business Development Center to provide consulting to an African American owned business in the Seattle area.   

Amount: $7,500 – $10,000

Deadline:April 15

Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility. 

7Davis Putter Scholarship


The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund helps those working for social and economic justice. The largest grant from the Davis Putter Scholarship Fund is $15,000 per year. These need based scholarships go to students who promote social change. Like being active in the struggle against racism, sexism, or homophobia.

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: April 1

Requirements: To apply, you need to be a current grad student or enrolled in a trade or technical program. A complete application also includes a 1,000 word essay that details progressive social activity. You must also provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and show financial need.

8Frederic G. MELCHER Scholarship


The American Library Association (ALA) offers 2 to 4 annual scholarships of $7,500 each. Called the Frederic G. Melcher Scholarships, they help grad students pay for an MLS or MLIS degree.

Amount: $7,500

Deadline: March 1

Requirements: Applicants must also plan to work in a children’s library. This work may be serving children up to and including the age of 14 in any type of library.

9Beinecke Scholarship Program


The Beinecke Scholarship set up in 1971 is a program of the Sperry Fund. The goal of the fund is to support grad education in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. There are 20 awards granted each year. Candidates must plan to pursue a research focused master’s or PhD program in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

Each Beinecke scholar receives $5,000 right before entering grad school, plus, an extra $30,000 while going to grad school. There are no geo restrictions on the use of the scholarship. Recipients may also combine the funds with other scholarships, assistantships, and research grants

Amount: $5,000 plus an extra $30,000 for grad school

Deadline: February 09

Requirements: To apply, applicants must contact their campus liaison at a partner institution. Each school in the program may nominate one candidate per year for the scholarship. Candidates must show financial need, scholastic achievement, and have a strong intellect.

10 Hertz Fellowships


Each year, the Hertz Foundation offers awards to fund the cost of pursuing a PhD. The Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award are merit based. They consist of a cost of education allowance and a personal support stipend. Successful applicants have the choice of two fellowships. One is $34,000 and a 9 month stipend. There is an extra $5,000 per year for Fellows with dependent children. The award is renewable each year for up to 5 years.

The second option is a coordinated fellowship. It offers a Hertz period which provides full tuition and $40,000/9 month personal stipend. There is an extra $5,000 per year for Fellows with dependent children. The award is renewable each year for up to 5 years. Plus, an NSF period which gives $8,000/ year supplemental stipend from Hertz. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: October 23

Requirements: Fellows must attend one of the Foundation’s currently participating schools or petition the Foundation to include a school in the U.S. that they desire to attend.

11 Vercille Voss IFDA Graduate Student Scholarship


The International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) awards a $2,000 scholarship. The annual award is The Vercille Voss Graduate Student Scholarship. It is in memory of Vercille Voss. She was a long time Illinois Chapter member and mentor to new members and students.  

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: March 31

Requirements: The scholarship program is open to enrolled full or part time grad students. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in interior design or a related design program. The completed application packet must include a few things, such as samples of your design work and a letter of recommendation. You must also write a 200 to 400 word essay that explains your goals, special interests, and volunteer service, and what inspired you to pursue a career in this field.

15 Military Scholarships to Apply For in 2023

What is a Military Scholarship?

A military scholarship essentially functions as a grant designed to assist military members in financing their college education. These scholarships vary in terms of award amounts, ranging from modest sums to comprehensive coverage of tuition, textbooks, board, and additional expenses.

While many military scholarships are exclusively available to active-duty service members and veterans, some extend their support to include spouses and dependent children. In fact, the latest statistics indicate that a substantial 87% of spouses and dependents have received financial aid, with a majority pursuing undergraduate degrees. It’s important to note that unlike loans, military scholarships do not require repayment. However, certain scholarships may impose specific terms and conditions that recipients must adhere to.

Some providers give scholarships to honor your service. Or, to honor the memory of a fallen hero. As a result, you may find unique programs in each branch of the military:

  • Air Force 
  • Army
  • Coast Guard
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy

Military scholarships also come from diverse other sources. From the VA and gov’t agencies. To colleges, nonprofits and private donors. Each award program comes with its own criteria. These tell you if you are eligible. And, how to apply.

ec-grants-scholarships

Types of Military Scholarships

Military scholarships come in various forms, primarily categorized as merit-based and need-based awards. Merit-based scholarships often take into account academic performance, while need-based scholarships address financial constraints in affording tuition expenses. These scholarships serve as valuable resources for financing college, career, or technical education.

Military scholarships can also serve distinct purposes. Some are designed to prepare recipients for civilian roles upon completion of their education, while others provide financial support in exchange for participation in officer training programs.

ROTC Scholarships 

Many colleges collaborate with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) to provide scholarship opportunities. The ROTC serves as a training program tailored for college students, and if you meet their eligibility criteria, you can pursue these scholarships. Basic requirements include U.S. citizenship and possession of a high school diploma, with GPA and test scores often factored into the selection process.

ROTC scholarships have the potential to cover tuition expenses, fees, and textbook costs for a four-year duration. Additionally, some recipients receive a monthly stipend to assist with various expenses. In return for this financial support, recipients commit to serving in the U.S. military and participate in ROTC training while pursuing their education.

While you serve after college, the number of years varies by branch. Here are a few examples:

  • Army ROTC scholarships holders serve 8 years (4 years of active duty and 4 years in the reserves) 
  • The Navy contract is 4 to 5 years of active duty 
  • Air Force ROTC service is 4 to 6 years of active duty. Plus, 10 years for cadets trained as pilots 

Scholarships for Military Spouses 

Scholarships designed for military spouses play a crucial role in alleviating the financial burden of tuition expenses. These scholarships, akin to other forms of financial aid, are often directed towards individuals with significant financial need. A military spouse is defined as the husband or wife of a member serving in the nation’s armed forces, encompassing spouses of active duty service members, veterans, as well as widows.

These awards can typically be found through each branch of the military, with programs like the Spouse Education Assistance Program standing out. Sponsored by the U.S. Army, this is a need-based scholarship specifically accessible to spouses of Army soldiers seeking to pursue a college degree.

Scholarships for Military Dependents 

Scholarships specifically earmarked for military dependents and survivors are instrumental in supporting higher education, whether for college or vocational school pursuits.

Military dependents encompass spouses and children of service members, extending to family members of those who are actively serving, retired, or have tragically fallen in the line of duty. To access these scholarships, you may be required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application aids in evaluating the appropriate financial assistance to be provided, although it is not always the sole determining factor.

In certain instances, a strong academic record, including test scores and GPA, along with a demonstrated history of community service may also be prerequisites.

Fortunately, numerous avenues exist for sourcing such scholarships, with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) being a notable resource. An example is the Fry Scholarship, designed for children and spouses of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, but specifically after September 10, 2001.

Scholarships for Veterans 

Scholarships support veterans who want to start, continue or finish a degree. They are for use at accredited schools and at many levels of study. 

There are also scholarships you may use at approved vocational or technical schools. These help veterans enter or advance a career in a skilled trade. Like TTT, Troops for Teachers. TTT is for current and former members of the Armed Forces. The program helps them shift to a career as a K 12 teacher. And is available in 31 states. To do so, it gives a $5,000 stipend or $10,000 bonus. Based on eligibility.

Often, the scholarships fill a gap. The one between GI Bill benefits and the cost of school. So, they may kick in to pay for tuition, housing and fees. To be eligible, you must have an honorable discharge from military service. But other criteria vary by program.

One is AMVETS National Scholarships. The American Veterans is a service agency that helps veterans. Each year they offer a few scholarships. Of them, two go Veterans, Active Duty, Guard/Reserves. One is only for their spouses. And another two only for their children and grandchildren.

College Specific Military Scholarships 

Numerous military-friendly colleges actively support military students by offering scholarships, some of which are exclusive to their institution. These scholarships may bear the names of local heroes or commemorate distinguished alumni who have served their country. These awards not only facilitate the educational pursuits of military students but often extend their benefits to direct family members as well.

To apply for these scholarships, individuals must gain admission to both the college and their chosen degree program. Following admission, eligible candidates can submit applications for the scholarship of their choice. In this context, a compelling essay with a clear and impactful message can significantly enhance your chances of securing the award.

Military Scholarships for 2023 

Below is a sampling of military scholarships that you might apply to in 2023/2024.   

HotelPlanner Graduate Technology Scholarship for Military Veterans

The HotelPlanner Scholarship Program caters to United States veterans and extends its reach to include their family members, including spouses, partners, and children aged 16 and older. This initiative disburses $1,000 to each of its ten chosen applicants on two occasions annually. The primary objective of this program is to provide financial support for pursuing a technology degree, regardless of whether it’s at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Amount: $1,000 each
Deadline: Summer – Apply by August 15th / Notified by September and Fall – Apply by December 15th / Notified March
Requirements: To apply, you need to show financial need. You also write an essay or present a video. This must explain how the military spiked your interest in tech.  

NMCCG Enlisted Dependent Spouse Scholarship

Annually, the Navy Wives Clubs of America, Inc. (NWCA) awards a total of 30 scholarships, including two specifically designated for spouses, widows, and widowers: the NMCCG Enlisted Dependent Spouse Scholarships. Eligible spouses can be affiliated with retired or enlisted members of the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard who are currently on active duty.

Amount: $500 – $1,000 each
Deadline: March 31st 
Requirements: To apply, you need to submit a copy of the military ID card. Also, attach a copy of your tax returns.

Blinded Veterans Association Scholarships 

The Blinded Veterans Association is a national agency. BVA members are blinded veterans. And help other blinded veterans. Each year, they award two merit scholarships. While they do not auto renew, you can re apply up to 4 times. One award is the Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship. It gives 6 people scholarships for $2,000 each. The other is the Thomas H. Miller Scholarship Program. This award goes to one person and is for $1,000. It  

Amount: $1,000 – $2,000 each
Deadline: April 
Requirements: To be eligible you need to be a dependent child, grandchild, or spouse of a blinded veteran. But do not need to be a member of the BVA.

Maryland Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship

Each year, the Maryland Higher Education Commission offers about 125 awards. The Maryland Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarships. Armed forced personnel who served in these conflicts are eligible to apply. As well as their sons, daughters and spouses. Awards amounts vary and adjust based on VA benefits. But may cover up to $10,655 per year.

Amount: up to $10,655
Deadline: March 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to fill out a FAFSA by March 1st each year. You can also renew the awards if you keep your GPA at 2.5 or higher.

Mike and Gail Donley Air Force Spouse Scholarship

The Air Force Association offers a few award programs each year. One is the he AFA Mike & Gail Donley Spouse Scholarship program. It awards two $2,500 scholarships on an annual basis. And aims to help Air Force spouses worldwide pursue a college degree at any level.

Amount: $2,500
Deadline: April 30, 2020
Requirements: The Air Force Spouse Scholarship program is designed to encourage Air Force spouses to pursue associate or bachelor undergraduate or graduate/post graduate degrees.

Pat Tillman Scholars Program

Each year the Pat Tillman Foundation offers awards. These are for military members, veterans and spouses. Tillman scholarship amounts vary. But give annual funding for academic expenses. So, things like tuition, books and living expenses. The average award amount last year was $6,567 per year. Others range from $1,500 to $23,000.

Amount: $1,500 – $23,000
Deadline: February 28
Requirements: To get one, you need to show selfless leadership. And dedicate yourself to make an impact. You will also have to write two essays. Plus, supply references, finances and have a 3.0 GPA.

NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship

The U.S. Navy Marine Corps Relief Society sponsors the Gold Star Scholarship Program. It is for the dependent children and spouses of Navy and Marine personnel. Ones who were killed in the line of duty. Awards range from $500 to $2500 per academic year. And, there are about 30 recipients each year. If you are studying oceanography, NMCRS offers another award. The McAlinden Divers Scholarship. It awards from $500 to $3,000. And is for active duty or retired Sailors, Marines and family members.    

Amount: $500 – $3,000
Deadline: May 
Requirements:  To get an award, the committee looks at two things. Financial need and academic merit (3.0 GPA and above).

American Legion Scholarship

Every year, the American Legion helps children of fallen soldiers. One way they do this is through the Legacy Scholarship. The Legacy Scholarship amounts vary as do the number of people who get one. But past awards were about $1,785.

Amount: Varies
Deadline: April 
Requirements: Awards go to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty. Or who have a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. 

Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship 

A grant from Mr. Frederick W. Smith funds the Purple Heart Scholarship. It is a competitive program, and awards $3,000. 

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: February 15
Requirements: To be eligible, you must meet a few sets of criteria. One is to be a Purple Heart recipient and member of MOPH. You can also apply if you are the spouse or lineal descendant of someone who is or was. But not a great grandchild. Other criteria include being a full time undergrad at an accredited US school. You may also need a GPA of 2.75 and up.

Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

CPOSF is a nonprofit. Their mission is to help qualified family members of US Navy Chief Petty Officers pay for education. Last year, they awarded 30 scholarships. Amounts were $2,000 each. 

Amount: $2,000 each
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: To qualify, you need to be a non uniformed spouse or dependent child. You also need to have a GED and be on track for an associate or bachelor’s degree. 

Make it Count Scholarship

The Make it Count Scholarship honors Spencer C Duncan. He was an Army Specialist, killed in action is August 2011. Each year, Grantham University offers 4 awards to deserving applicants. Valued at $5,000, you can apply the funds to any degree program at the school.

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: To apply, you need to meet admissions criteria. Then, qualify for the scholarship. The scholarship is also open to a parent, child, spouse or sibling. As long as their family member served or is serving in the US Armed Forces. 

Army Nurse Corps Scholarship 

Every year, the Army Nurse Corps offers scholarships. Its goal is to support nursing education. 

Amount The 2020 ANCA scholarships will be $3,000 per selected applicant. 
Deadline: March 31
Requirements: To apply, there are a few rules to meet. For one, you need to be serving or have served in any branch or rank of the US Army. You also need to be enrolled in an accredited bachelor’s, graduate nursing or anesthesia program. But, cannot be also receiving GI Bill benefits or an ROTC scholarship.

My CAA Scholarship

My CAA scholarship is an award for military spouses. It is part of the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. Awards only pay for tuition for credentials, certificates, or associate degrees. Or, to pursue a recognized license or industry certification. Certificates and credentials may be for post graduate work also. 

Amount: The scholarship provides up to $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000.  
Deadline:  Varies
Requirements: To qualify, you need to be a military spouse with a high school diploma. And, need the extra education to prep for a career. Spouses can be of service members on Active Duty, under Title 10 orders. Or, spouses of service members with pay grades of E1 through E-5, W1 through W-2, O-1 through O-2.

Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute – MERIT Scholarship

New York State’s Division of Veteran’s Services offers annual awards. One is the Military Service Recognition Scholarship (MSRS). MSRS awards vary but in amounts. But may pay about 20 people up to $21,250 each. MSRS awards are for family members of New York State fallen veterans of the US Armed Forces.

Amount: up to $21,250
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: The awards are for spouses and dependents of US Armed Forces or state organized militia. Ones who, at any time on or after Aug. 2, 1990, while a NY State resident, died. Or became disabled while engaged in hostilities or training for it. 

 

Education Tax Credits | AOTC & LLC

The United States government provides Education Tax Credits (ETCs) for eligible students and individuals who cover educational expenses. Tax credits offer a one-to-one reduction in your tax liability, effectively reducing the amount of taxes you must pay. If these deductions bring your tax liability below zero, you may even be eligible for a tax refund. These credits were established to incentivize students to pursue higher education and ease the burden of tuition costs.

There are two potential tax credits available to students: the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). To qualify for either of these credits, students must satisfy a range of criteria, some of which overlap while others differ.

To be eligible for either the AOTC or LLC credit, you must, at the very least, satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Qualified expenses for higher education, such as tuition and mandatory fees, must be paid by you, a dependent, or a third party.
  2. The eligible student must be enrolled in an eligible higher education institution, one that qualifies for federal student aid and possesses a Federal School Code.
  3. The eligible student, whether it’s yourself, your spouse, or a dependent, must be included on your tax return. An eligible student cannot be married and file taxes separately.

In addition to these fundamental criteria, there are further distinct conditions that must be met to qualify for the AOTC and LLC.

AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY CREDIT

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) represents a modification of a prior credit known as the Hope Credit.

Eligibility for the AOTC extends to students, spouses of students, and third parties (including parents of students) who have covered the qualified expenses, such as tuition and fees, for someone attending school. The individual claiming this credit must have made these payments either in the preceding year or within the initial three months of the year in which the taxes are being filed.

Once you meet the qualifications, you can apply for the AOTC once annually, limited to the first four years of a student’s college education. The student in question must be enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate and be enrolled at least half-time during one academic period (e.g., a semester) for the tax year.

This credit is calculated in two parts, meaning students can receive the tax credit on the following:

  1. 100% of the first $2000 of eligible expenses
  2. 25% of the next $2000 of eligible expenses

In short, the AOC is worth up to $2500 in tax credit per year. If you do not owe any taxes, you can have up to 40 percent of the tax credit refunded to you.

To remain eligible for this tax credit, your modified adjusted gross income must be $80,000 or less. For married couples filing jointly, it must be $160,000 or less.

LIFETIME LEARNING TAX CREDIT

The Lifetime Learning Credit is easier to qualify for than the AOTC.

Students become eligible for the LLC by taking at least one course during the tax year. Their course or courses can apply toward a degree or certificate, or they can simply stand alone. Said another way, students can earn this credit simply by taking a course or two to enhance their job skills.

There is no limit to the number of years students can apply for the LLC. Therefore, they can apply for one as they earn their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. They can also apply for it to supplement the costs of undergraduate or graduate courses.

To be eligible for the LLC, applicants’ modified adjusted gross income must be $52000 or less. For married couples filing jointly, it must be $104,000 or less. You can only claim an LLC for one student per tax return.

The LLC is worth up to $2000 per return. Unlike the AOC, it does not offer a refund if you do not owe any taxes.

Like the AOTC, the LLC is available to U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens. It is not available to students who are already claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return (such as a parent’s).

Key terms and forms for the LLC:

  • Modified Adjusted Gross Income: this is the adjusted gross income, found online seven of Form 1040. Use Publication 970 through the IRS to help find this number. It helps you identify whether or not you’re eligible for the AOTC.
  • IRS forms to use: Form 8863 (Education Credits) and Form 8863 Instructions (note that this is the same form you will use for the AOTC).

AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT VS. LIFETIME LEARNING CREDIT

CriteriaAOTCLLC
Maximum CreditUp to $2500 per eligible studentUp to $2000 per credit return
Refundable or Not Refundable40% of creditNot refundable 
Limit on MAGI for Married Filing Jointly$180,000$134,000
Limit on MAGI for single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)$90,000$67,000
Number of Years of College Education Available4Unlimited
Type of Program RequiredThe student must be pursuing a degree or certificate  The student does not have to be pursuing a degree or certificate
Number of CoursesThe student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period beginning in 2018Available for one or more courses
Qualified ExpensesTuition, required enrollment fees, required course materialsTuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance
Whom Can You Claim the Benefit for?
  • You
  • Your spouse
  • The student you claim as a dependent
  • You
  • Your spouse
  • The student you claim as a dependent
Who Must Pay the Qualified Expenses?
  • You or your spouse
  • Student
  • Third party
  • You or your spouse
  • Student
  • Third party

Source

Taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit help make higher education more affordable. Remember that to qualify for either, you must:

  • Pay qualified expenses for higher education
  • Have a student (or be a student) registered at a qualified college (one that has a Federal School Code)

Otherwise, the LLC is easiest to qualify for. To receive that tax credit, students can take as few as one class. They do not have to be pursuing a degree or certificate. And they can apply for the LLC for the duration of their academic career; there is no limit to the number of years it’s available.

The AOTC meanwhile, is more difficult to qualify for. To receive that tax credit, students must be enrolled at least half time for one academic period per year. They have to be pursuing a degree or certificate. And they can only apply for the credit for the first four years of college education.  

The IRS makes applying for the AOTC and the LLC relatively simple. Applicants can use Form 8863 for both, and instructions for applying are available online.

Be sure to take advantage of the government-supplied benefits.

Student Loan Consolidation

IS IT SMART TO CONSOLIDATE YOUR STUDENT LOANS?

Loan consolidation involves merging multiple loans into a single one. If you’ve taken out several student loans during your college years, consolidating them can simplify your life in the following ways:

  • You can turn several loans into a single loan
  • You can make a single monthly payment instead of many
  • You can switch variable interest rates to a single, fixed interest rate
  • You might be able to lower your monthly bill
  • If you have loans that don’t currently qualify for a federal loan forgiveness program, you could turn them eligible

Students with federal student loans have the option to apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan. This allows them to merge various types of loans, including Unsubsidized and Nonsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.

Often, students consolidate after their grace period is over. The grace period is when your loans are temporarily in deferment after you graduate.

What about private student loans? While not eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan, you can consolidate your loans through a lender. This is called refinancing.

HOW TO CONSOLIDATE STUDENT LOANS

1. IF CONSOLIDATING FEDERAL LOANS, START AT STUDENTLOANS.GOV

You can to fill out a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note online. You may need information such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and two personal references.

2. CHOOSE THE LOANS YOU WANT TO CONSOLIDATE

You may not wish to consolidate all of your federal loans. Why? Because some may come with extra benefits, like Perkins subsidized interest, or cancellation and discharge programs. You’ll lose those benefits after you consolidate.

Plus, if you have a loan with a higher interest rate than the others, you may wish to pay that off on its own. That’s because the interest rate of your Direct Consolidation Loan depends on the weighted average of the interest rates for all your loans. It may be smart to pay off that higher interest loan quickly, instead of including it in your Consolidation Loan.

What about private student loans? Since these don’t come with federal benefits, you could potentially refinance them all with a private lender.

3. CHOOSE YOUR STUDENT LOAN SERVICER

For federal loans, you can choose from several servicers. One possible option is FedLoan Servicing, which manages the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). If you plan to work toward PSLF, it may make sense to choose FedLoan Servicing.

For private student loans, there are several private student loan companies that do refinancing. When choosing a company to work with, consider factors like:

  • Interest Rate Ranges: The interest rate you qualify for depends on your lender, your credit report/eligibility, and the market. As of 2018, variable interest rates range from about 2.5 to 9.09%. Remember that variable rates can get higher or lower over time. Fixed rates, which stay the same, range from about 3.35 to 9% in 2018.
  • Loan Amount: Some lenders have minimum or maximum amounts you can refinance.
  • Loan Period: How quickly do you want to pay off your loan? Refinancers may have a minimum loan period, usually from five to 15 years. They may also have a maximum loan period. Remember that the quicker you pay off your loans, the higher your monthly payments will be. But, you’ll save on interest if you pay off your loans quickly.
  • Hardship Options: Does your lender have deferment and forbearance options? If you have trouble paying off your loan due to an event like the loss of your job, these options could help.
  • Fees: Compare late fees or other kinds of loan servicing fees.
  • Extra Benefits: What extras make a particular lender stand out? For example, some offer interest rate reductions if you hit milestone goals – like repaying the first 10% of your principle.

4. DECIDE ON YOUR REPAYMENT PLAN

For federal loans, there may be several ways to repay your consolidation loan. These include:

Standard Repayment Plan – Fixed payments, made over a period of 10 to 30 years Graduated Repayment Plan – Payments start out low and increase over 10 to 30 years Extended Repayment Plan – Fixed or graduated payments; pay off your loans in 25 years Income Driven Repayment Plans – Payments are recalculated each year based on factors like your income and family size

Private student loan refinancing companies do not have the same kinds of repayment options. That said, some lenders may offer more flexible plans.

5. SUBMIT THE APPLICATION

Once you’ve fully understood your options, it’s time to take the next step. Contact the loan servicer if you have questions or need help with your application.

LOAN CONSOLIDATION VS. LOAN REFINANCE

Both student loan consolidation and refinancing are ways to simplify repayment and change your loan terms. Consolidating only works for your federal loans, though.

If you want to combine several private student loans (or private + federal loans), you’ll have to refinance. Student loan refinancing means applying for a new private student loan and using it to pay off your other loans.

There are pros and cons to both. For starters, consolidation typically won’t lower your interest rate. Refinancing usually does, meaning you could save money over the life of your loan.

That said, refinancing student loans depends on factors like your income, credit report, and debts. In other words, your loan terms are based on your creditworthiness. That’s not the case when you consolidate federal student loans.

And, refinancing federal loans with a private lender could mean you lose out on key benefits – like subsidized interest or loan forgiveness.

Depending on the types of loans you have, a combination of consolidation and refinancing may be the ideal plan.

 Student Loan ConsolidationStudent Loan Refinance
Which Loans Can I Combine?Most federal student loansBoth private and federal loans
Can I Lower My Rates?Can I Lower My Rates? The interest rate on Direct Consolidation loans is based on the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans you’re combining. The good news? This interest rate is fixed, which means it can’t get higher over time. Yes, you may qualify for lower interest rates. It helps if you (or your cosigner) have a high credit score and low debt-to-income ratio.Yes, you may qualify for lower interest rates. It helps if you (or your cosigner) have a high credit score and low debt-to-income ratio.
Can I Save Money?Probably not (though fixed interest rates could help). Consolidation usually increases the length of your repayment period. Taking longer to repay what you borrowed could mean you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan.Yes, you could save money if you qualify for a lower interest rate. Paying off your loan quicker can also help you save money.
Can I Use Federal Loan Protections and Forgiveness Programs?

Consolidating federal loans other than Direct Loans may give you access to:

  • Income-driven repayment plan options
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

But, consolidating your current loans means you’ll lose credit for any payments you’ve already made toward income-driven repayment plan forgiveness or PSLF.

And if you have Federal Perkins Loans, you’ll lose benefits like subsidized interest and cancellation/discharge options.

When you refinance federal student loans with a private lender, you lose federal benefits and programs. These include:

  • Income-based repayment options
  • Federal loan forgiveness programs
  • Interest discounts or rebates
  • Federal deferment and forbearance options (if you have trouble paying back your loans)
Will I Pay Only One Bill?YesYes
Who Offers These Loans?The U.S. Department of Education (often through consolidation loan servicers). Your first step should be to apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan at StudentLoan.gov.Private lenders, like banks and financial institutions

STUDENT LOAN CONSOLIDATION: THE BIG PICTURE

Average aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in 2022-23 was:

  • $15,480 per undergraduate student
  • $28,300 per graduate student

PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN CONSOLIDATION LENDERS

LenderWhy this LenderEligible DegreesEligible Loans
LendKeyChoose from flexible repayment plans, like interest-only payments for the first four years. And, pay no origination fees.Undergraduate and/or GraduatePrivate and/or Federal
CommonBondThey offer up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of your loan. And, you’ll pay no origination fees or prepayment penalties.Undergraduate and/or GraduatePrivate and/or Federal
College AveThey offer 16 loan term options. Choose how long it will take to pay back your loan, between five and 20 years. Plus, qualify for a lower interest rate when you use autopay.Undergraduate and/or GraduatePrivate and/or Federal

Repaying Student Loans

Repaying Your Federal Student Loans

Get Informed, Then Get Matched To Online Schools Using Our Degree Finder!

PICKING A STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PLAN

When dealing with federal student loans, you’re presented with a menu of eight distinct repayment possibilities. Familiarizing yourself with these options is crucial in order to pinpoint the one that aligns most favorably with your financial circumstances. To accomplish this, it’s imperative to evaluate your individual requirements, encompassing an understanding of both your monthly budget and the time frame available for settling your loan.

An online tool at your disposal for aiding this decision-making process is the Repayment Estimator offered by the Department of Education. By inputting specifics such as your loan balances, interest rates, tax filing status, income, and family size, this tool serves to generate a comprehensive array of potential strategies:

  • Which repayment plans you are eligible for
  • The amount of your first and last monthly payments
  • Total amount paid
  • Any projected loan forgiveness
  • How long you have to repay your student debt

Since there are different plans and grace periods, it is crucial to get to know the features of each choice. Often, a student loan servicer can work with you, but it is a good idea to go into a meeting prepared. For quick reference, the main types of student loan repayment plans are as follows. Before you start, these differ from the ways you’d pay back a private loan, which we discuss further on in the article.

  • Standard Plan
  • Extended Plan
  • Graduated Plan
  • Income-Driven Plans
  • Income-Sensitive Plan

STANDARD REPAYMENT PLANS (SRP)

The Standard Repayment Plans (SRPs) serve as the default payment arrangement for both Federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL). These plans grant you the opportunity to clear your loan within a span of 10 years, during which you’ll be making fixed monthly payments. The exact amount of these payments is contingent upon your loan balance and is meticulously calculated to ensure complete repayment within the stipulated decade. However, it’s important to note that you might need to fulfill a minimum monthly payment of at least $50 throughout the entirety of your loan’s lifespan.

An appealing facet of the Standard Repayment Plan is its inherent flexibility. In the event of encountering financial hardships, you have the liberty to transition to an alternative plan. Conversely, if all unfolds as anticipated, you can bid adieu to student debt after the span of 10 years, subsequently diverting your focus toward other financial aspirations.

Another point to consider pertains to the matter of interest charges. When juxtaposed with the Income-Based Repayment Plans (which we shall delve into shortly), the Standard Repayment Plan tends to entail lower interest fees. This divergence can be attributed to the elongated duration of Income-Based Repayment Plans, which could potentially lead to higher accrued interest. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that this plan’s monthly payments might surpass those associated with certain alternative plans.

INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT PLANS (IDR)

For those grappling with student loan debt, income-driven repayment (IDR) plans can serve as a valuable tool. These plans achieve this by reducing your monthly payment obligations, offering immediate relief to your cash flow. Nevertheless, it’s essential to recognize that over the long haul, you might face implications like taxable income on forgiven loans and elevated interest fees.

Borrowers who qualify have access to four distinct income-driven repayment plans, designed to assist individuals who find it challenging to meet their payment obligations on their current income. In the overview provided below, the significance of your disposable income (discretionary income) becomes apparent when considering these options.

1. REVISED PAY AS YOU EARN REPAYMENT PLAN (REPAYE)

Under this plan, your monthly payments typically amount to 10 percent of your discretionary income, divided by 12. Any remaining balance is eligible for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years.

2. PAY AS YOU EARN REPAYMENT PLAN (PAYE)

Monthly payments, within the PAYE plan, are typically equivalent to 10 percent of your discretionary income, divided by 12. Any outstanding balance becomes eligible for forgiveness after 20 years.

3. INCOME-BASED REPAYMENT PLAN (IBR)

Within the Income-Based Repayment Plan, monthly payments usually correspond to 15 percent of your discretionary income, divided by 12. However, if you’re a new borrower, the payment percentage is lowered to 10 percent. Any remaining balance is subject to forgiveness after 20 or 25 years.

4. INCOME-CONTINGENT REPAYMENT PLAN (ICR)

This plan entails monthly payments equal to 20 percent of your discretionary income, divided by 12. Alternatively, it can be the amount you would pay under a fixed 12-year repayment plan (longer than the 10-year SRP). Any remaining balance becomes eligible for forgiveness after 25 years.

EXTENDED REPAYMENT PLAN (ERP)

The Extended Repayment Plan presents you with the option to spread out your loan repayment over a more extended timeframe compared to the Standard and Income-driven plans. In contrast to the 10-year term of the SRP, you have the ability to make payments over a span of up to 25 years. During this period, your payments can either remain fixed or follow a graduated pattern. Generally, this translates to more manageable monthly payments compared to what the Standard and Graduate Repayment Plans demand. Nonetheless, if your objective is to swiftly eliminate your student debt in order to allocate funds for purposes such as purchasing a house, retirement, travel, or other aspirations, this plan might not align with your goals.

GRADUATED REPAYMENT PLAN (GRP)

The Graduated Repayment Plan initiates your repayment journey with lower initial payments that increment every two years. In essence, you remain on a 10-year track (or a 30-year track for consolidated loans), but your monthly payments commence at a lower level and progressively rise. This payment structure assumes that as you advance in your career, you’ll be in a position to make more substantial contributions toward your loan.

UNDERSTANDING LOAN REPAYMENT

Your student loan billing is managed by your loan servicer, and each servicer follows its own payment procedure. It’s your responsibility to directly submit payments to your servicer; however, they often offer assistance if needed. In case you’re unsure about your servicer’s identity, you can verify it by checking your account on My Federal Student Aid.

How much will your payment be? Typically made on a monthly basis, your payment hinges on four key factors:

  1. The specific type of loan you obtained
  2. The total amount you borrowed
  3. The repayment plan you’ve selected
  4. The interest rate associated with your loan

WHAT IS A GRACE PERIOD ?

The time lapse after graduation and before you start making payments is a “grace period”. Usually it is a set time frame which gives you the space to settle your finances and select your repayment plan.

No grace period – PLUS Loans (possible eligibility for deferment)
6-month grace period – Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
9-month grace period – Federal Perkins Loans
Up to 3-year extension – Military service members

Caveat: While it may sound great to have this breathing room, interest will mount up if you have unsubsidized loans. It’s the same when you don’t pay a credit card balance on time.

In contrast, Perkins loans, direct subsidized loans, and subsidized Stafford loans don’t accrue interest during the grace period. You can, however, use your grace period to make interest payments. If this is easy for you to do, it’ll put you one step ahead when your grace period is up.

DEFERMENT OR FORBEARANCE ON FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

Do you need to postpone your payments? In some cases, one may be eligible to receive a deferment or forbearance. These are temporary pauses which allow you to stop making payments. Or, reduce your monthly payment amount for a specified period.

For instance, there’s a provision in the Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2019 which allows cancer patients to get deferments while they are in treatment. Part-time students, military persons and others may also be eligible for a deferment.

One thing to remember is that with a deferment, you may not be responsible for paying the interest your loan amasses. This applies only to specific types of loans. During a forbearance though, you are responsible for paying the interest that accrues on all types of federal student loans.

LOAN CONSOLIDATION

Do you have many federal student loans? You may be able to merge them into one loan with a fixed interest rate. The amount of the loan depends on the average of all the joined interest rates and there is no cost to you. To do so, you need to file a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note. Overall, this may simplify your repayment process.

PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program. It forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans for eligible student loan debt holders. How do you qualify for public service loan forgiveness? To be eligible for PSLF, you’ll need to meet several criteria:

  • Where you work matters. Qualifying employers include the government or not-for-profit organizations.
  • You must first enroll in a qualifying repayment plan. Examples include REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, ICR and SRPs.
  • You need to be a full-time employee. This means more than 30 hours per week.
  • Under one of these plans, you’ll have to make 120 qualifying monthly payments.

UNDERSTANDING FEDERAL INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT PLANS

Are your federal student loan payments high compared to your income? If so, you may want to repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan. Most federal student loans are eligible for at least one (of the four) income-driven repayment plans.

If your income is low enough, your payment could be all of $0 per month. Remember though, you’ll need to make calculations using your discretionary income as a guide. To calculate your discretionary income, find the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150 percent of the annual poverty line for a family of your size and in your state.

You may also want to familiarize yourself with the different repayment periods and payments. The table below is an overview of this information.

Income-driven Plan NameTerm LengthMonthly Payment CapDescription
Income-based repayment (IBR)20 years if you’re a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014
OR
25 yearns if you’re not a new borrower
After July 1, 2014
10% of discretionary income (for new borrowers) on or after July 1,2014 but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount
OR
15% of discretionary income if you’re not a new borrower on/or after
July 1,2014
  • Low monthly payments
  • Loans eligible for forgiveness after repayment period
  • Possibility of higher interest fees
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable
Income-contingent repayment12 yearsThe lesser of either 20% of your discretionary income
OR
what you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over the course of 12 years, adjusted according to your income
  • No income eligibility requirement may make it easier to qualify
  • You may be eligible for loan forgiveness
  • Parents with PARENT PLUS Loans can qualify once they consolidate their loans into a Direct Loan
  • Highest potential payment amount of all 4 plans
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable
Pay as you Earn20 years10% of discretionary income
  • Lowest payment amount for eligible borrowers
  • Loans eligible for forgiveness after repayment term
  • Only new borrowers can qualify
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable n qualify
Revised Pay as you Earn (REPAYE)20 years if the loans are for undergraduate study
OR
25 years if the loans are for professional or graduate study
10% of discretionary income
  • Lowest payment amount for eligible borrowers
  • Loan forgiveness terms depend on whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Monthly payments factor in your spouse’s income regardless of filing status
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable

APPLYING FOR INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT

To apply for one of the Income-driven Repayment Plans, there are some easy steps to follow. You won’t need an application fee, but the process requires you to complete it in one session. If you’re nervous about filling out official forms, you can download a PDF version of the Request and do it manually. Otherwise, here’s how to prepare.

  1. Create an FSA ID (or have your ID number handy)
  2. If you are married, make sure you have your spouse’s SSN and information
  3. Have your personal information and income figures handy
  4. Set aside at least 10 minutes
  5. Go to StudentLoans
  6. Log in to start the application
  7. Complete the Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request

Each year you’ll need to recertify, in order to remain eligible for the lowest possible monthly payment amount.

BASIC FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PLANS

Basic Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans often balance a monthly payment you can afford today and a lesser total amount overall than income-driven plans. That said, an IDR may lower your payments today even though in the long run, you may be paying more.

Basic Repayment Plan NameTerm LengthDescription
Standard Repayment10 yearsFixed Monthly Costs
Graduated Repayment10 or 30 years for consolidated loansMonthly payment starts out low and gets higher over time
Extended Repayment25 yearsYour payments are either fixed or graduated for the term of the loan

PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT OPTIONS

Private Student Loans do not qualify for federal income-driven repayment plans. Or forgiveness programs. Yes, a debt is a debt, but Federal Student Loans begin with the U.S. Department of Education. They also come with standard benefits and protections.

The reason for this is that to get a private student loan, you’ll usually deal with a bank. Or, you’ll borrow from a private financial institution. In general, neither comes with either income-based repayment plans or forgiveness options.

Also, because these institutions don’t have to offer financial assistance to student borrowers, there aren’t as many ways to repay the loan. This limits the ways you can repay your loan, although may have a few options if you start to struggle.

To help you better grasp how to potentially lower your private student loan payments, check out some suggestions below. These may give you some food for thought on how to better manage your monthly payments.

LOWER YOUR PAYMENTS YOURSELF

If you are up for giving it the ‘old college try’, setting a budget that covers your needs rather than wants is a good place to start. Some loan lenders also suggest that you make auto-debit payments which may lower your interest rate. This is useful if you can count on your income (and can generate more money). Not so good if you think you might be hit with overdraft fees.

LOAN REFINANCING

You do need to go through hoops (credit scores for e.g.) set by your financial institution. Yet refinancing student loans may help you manage any flux in your budget. This is where you’ll have to shop around for lenders to see what terms they offer – 5, 7,10, 15 and 20 are common. Some also allow you to merge private and student loans. As such, you may be able to find a lower interest rate, decrease your monthly payment, or both.

LENDER-SPECIFIC REPAYMENT PLANS

Some lenders may offer Repayment Assistance Options to help students manage their loan repayments. Some of these are similar to federal loans, only you’ll have to qualify with a
Lender such as Discover.

  • Deferment – A temporary postponement of payments
  • Forbearance – postpones your loan payments for up to 12 months during the entire term of your loan, though there are stipulations
  • Hardship – A temporary reduction of interest rates for up to 12 months, subject to stipulations
  • Early Repayment Assistance Program – A 3-month postponement of payments
  • Payment Extension –Allows students to bring their loan current by making 3 minimum monthly payments (or the equivalent amount of 3 minimum monthly payments) within a 90-day period
  • Reduced Payment – The Minimum Monthly Payment is reduced, subject to a $50.00 minimum, for an initial period of six months.


5 WAYS YOU COULD PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS FASTER

If the prolonged duration of paying off your debt is causing frustration rather than financial strain, there are methods to expedite your journey towards repaying student loans. To initiate this process, acquaint yourself with your projected payoff date, and then strive to bring it closer. Do any of these alternatives seem like opportunities to achieve this objective?

1. MAKE ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS ON YOUR STUDENT LOAN

While the allure of discretionary spending is ever-present, consider redirecting windfalls such as overtime pay, commissions, or tax refunds toward supplementary or lump-sum payments on your loan. Remember, every bit contributes to achieving the goal.

2. EXCEED THE MINIMUM PAYMENT

Should you find yourself with extra funds, contemplate making payments exceeding the minimum requirement either weekly or monthly. This approach provides you with the flexibility to decide how much you wish to contribute beyond the minimum. Alternatively, set up automatic payments slightly above the minimum. Even forgoing the cost of five weekly coffees accumulates over time.

3. EXPLORE LOAN FORGIVENESS OPTIONS

For those embarking on careers in fields like teaching or public service, as previously discussed, loan forgiveness might be attainable. Certain states also provide Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs). Naturally, eligibility criteria apply, but this avenue presents an opportunity to channel funds toward settling federal (and occasionally private) student loans.

4.UTILIZE TAX DEDUCTIONS

Ensure that you maximize any applicable tax credits and deductions. If you’re in the process of repaying student loans, you might qualify for the student loan interest deduction on your federal taxes. Assuming you receive a substantial tax refund, adhere to your plan while considering strategies 1 and 2.

5. REFINANCE YOUR STUDENT LOANS

Refinancing stands as a mechanism to expedite debt elimination while securing lower interest rates and monthly payments. To initiate this process, compare various refinance terms to identify the alignment with your goals. Notably, refinancing can alter your monthly payment structure. Therefore, verify that the revised payments are sustainable. If your financial situation is precarious, this step might exacerbate issues. However, if you possess solid credit and income stability, conducting research and exploring different options could prove to be a viable approach.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans serve as a means to fill the financial gap between federal financial aid and the actual cost of your college tuition. Prioritize exhausting financial aid from other sources, such as grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal loans. If there’s still a need for additional funds, considering private loans could be the next step in your college financing strategy.

Here’s what you need to know before getting started!

FEDERAL VS PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS

Federal student loans receive funding from the federal government, while private student loans are provided by lenders such as banks and credit unions. Additional distinctions between the two types of loans include: 

  • Overall Cost of the Loan.  Private education loans tend to have a higher overall cost. 
  • Interest Rates. Private student loan interest rates may be higher than federal rates. Sometimes, private loans have variable interest rates that change over the life of the loan.
  • Loan Repayment Terms.  Private loans often come with less favorable repayment terms compared to federal student loans, which may offer income-based repayment plans and other benefits. 
  • Borrower Eligibility. For private student loans, your credit score may impact your eligibility, and you might need a cosigner. In contrast, most federal loans do not require a credit check or cosigner. 

Make sure to explore all available government financial aid programs before considering private student loans. However, if federal loans fall short in covering your college expenses, a private loan could be a viable option. 

FINDING LENDERS

Numerous banks, credit unions, and financial institutions provide private student loans. To find the best fit for you, it’s prudent to compare interest rates, terms, and conditions among a selection of top-rated lenders.

COMPARE THESE PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN LENDERS:

  • Sallie Mae
  • SunTrust 
  • College Ave
  • PNC
  • Citizens

APPLY FOR A LOAN

When exploring private student loans, it’s essential to consider that not all loans are alike, and different lenders may offer products, features, and terms that align better with your objectives. As you delve into potential lenders, here are some crucial factors to bear in mind:

  • Your Eligibility. Assess whether you seek private student loans without cosigner requirements or if your credit history presents challenges. Some private loans may suit your needs more favorably based on your citizenship status, income, part-time or full-time student status, and other criteria.
  • Loan Cost. Scrutinize factors such as the loan’s interest rate, interest type (fixed or variable), and associated fees. These elements contribute to the overall cost of your loan. For instance, be cautious when opting for a low, variable interest rate if you intend to repay the loan over an extended period. Variable rates can fluctuate with the market, resulting in higher payments than anticipated.
  • Loan Features. Certain private loans offer advantageous features, such as cosigner release, deferment options in case of financial hardship, or early repayment opportunities. Additionally, many lenders provide auto-pay discounts, often reducing the interest rate by 0.25 or 0.50 percent. Compare multiple lenders to explore the various features available to you.

HOW TO APPLY FOR PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS

Prior to considering private student loans, it’s crucial to complete your FAFSA and make the most of any federal grants or loans you are eligible for. Additionally, don’t overlook the opportunity to apply for scholarships! If you find that you still require additional funds, then you can initiate the process of selecting a lender and applying for private student loans.

IF YOU’RE ELIGIBLE, HERE’S HOW TO GET A PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN:

  1. Get Ready to Apply. Generally, you can apply for private student loans online. To start, you’ll need to prove your basic eligibility – like citizenship and college enrollment status.
  2. Submit Documentation. You’ll need to provide your personal and financial information to your lender. Your lender may require documents like your Social Security number, a pay stub for proof of income or your monthly housing costs. They may also as for your school’s cost of attendance, the amount of financial aid you’ve already received, your cosigner’s details (if applicable), and other information.
  3. You’ll Receive a Decision. Your lender will need to process your application and analyze your financial and eligibility information, to let you know whether you’re approved. If you’ve applied for your private loan online, you may receive a result pretty quickly – sometimes in minutes! In other cases, a lender may need more information from you to move forward.
  4. Choose and Accept the Loan Terms. Once you’ve been approved for the loan, you’ll need to decide on your interest rate type (fixed or variable), loan term, and repayment plan. You and your cosigner (if you have one) will then sign the loan agreement.
  5. Wait for Disbursement. Your private student loans will be sent directly to your college or university. If you have borrowed more than your tuition actually costs, your school will generally refund the difference to you. You can return that money to your lender. Or you could use it to cover other college costs, like room, board, or your textbooks. It’s always best to borrow the minimum amount you need to cover your education related expenses.

PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS ARE AN IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY

Opting for private loans to finance your college education can make your academic journey possible. College opens doors to new career opportunities and a promising future. Nevertheless, it is crucial to be aware of the risks and responsibilities as a borrower. You must ensure that you are prepared to take out and eventually repay your private loans.

 

Military Benefits

Military education benefits offered under the GI Bill might help you pay for college and transition into the next phase of your life. But for many active service members or veterans, a traditional college experience isn’t the perfect fit. Online learning may better suit your lifestyle, schedule, and goals. And the good news is, online degree programs may be eligible for military education benefits.

ABOUT YOUR GI BILL BENEFITS

You may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service following September 10, 2001, and you are still on active duty; if you are an honorably discharged veteran; or if you were discharged with a service-connected disability after at least 30 days of service.

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) may be available to active duty military members or selected reservists. In the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) program, service members must pay $100 a month for twelve months and complete a minimum service obligation. In the Montgomery GI Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program, the VA makes monthly payments toward your benefits.

Both the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill programs may be used to pursue a variety of educational paths. These include college degree and certificate programs, vocational and technical courses, and even online or correspondence courses.

Check out our chart at the bottom of this article, to compare military education benefits programs you may qualify for!

HOW TO USE GI BILL FOR ONLINE SCHOOLS AND PROGRAMS

Wondering how to use your VA online school benefits? Actually, using the GI bill for online schools isn’t any different from using these benefits at a traditional college…as long as your school and program are eligible.

ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THESE STEPS WHEN APPLYING FOR BENEFITS:

  1. If You’re Ready to Apply, Do So. You can apply for VA military education benefits online, or else apply in person at your regional VA office. You can also call 1-888-GI BILL-1 (888-442-4551) to have an application mailed to you.
  2. If You Have Questions About Your Benefits, Talk to Someone. You can consult with the VA Certifying Official at your school of choice, to learn more about using your military education benefits. This person is usually in the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office. If you plan to study online or at a school far from home, that’s okay. Just contact the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office by phone or email. You can also seek assistance from an employee at your regional VA office.
  3. Wait for Your Claims to Be Processed. It usually takes about 30 days for VA to make a decision about your claims.

Servicemembers, veterans, and even military spouses and dependents may qualify for various military education benefits, many of which can be used to pursue an online degree program. But yes, it can get confusing. Use our handy chart to compare programs you may be eligible for. Remember to always check with The Department of Veterans Affairs to verify your eligibility and learn more about these and other programs.

LIST OF MILITARY PROGRAMS AND BENEFITS

PROGRAMELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTSREQUIREMENTS FOR MONTHLY BENEFITSBENEFITS CAN BE USED TOWARDTIME LIMITATIONS
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP); also known as Ch. 1607REAP ended on November 25, 2015. However, veterans who were attending an educational institution on (or on the term ending before) November 24, 2015, may remain eligible for REAP benefits until November 25, 2019.N/AN/AFor most service members, REAP benefits are no longer offered. Others have until November 25, 2019 to use benefits.
Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)You must meet these requirements:
– Entered service for the first time between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985
– Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987
– Contributed from $25 to $2700
– Completed your first period of service
– Were not dishonorably discharged
You must have elected to make contributions to this program from your military pay. The government matches your contributions, 2-for-1.Degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational courses, correspondence courses, and other programs that may potentially be pursued online.Benefit entitlement is for one to 36 months. After your release from active duty, you have 10 years to use VEAP benefits. After that time, your contributions will be refunded.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) ProgramYou must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
– A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability that arose out of active service in the Armed Forces.
– A veteran who died from any cause while a service-connected disability was in existence.
– A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty.
– A service member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
– A service member who is hospitalized or receiving treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for the disability.
If you are attending a college or vocational program, you must be attending full time, 3/4 time, or halftime. The number of your benefits will vary depending on this status.
Check with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to learn more about requirements and current benefit rates.
Degree and certificate programs,
apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. Spouses may take correspondence courses.
You may receive up to 45 months of education benefits, if you began using the program before August 1, 2018. If you began your program on or after August 1, 2018, you have 36 months to use the benefits.
Tuition Assistance Top-UpYou must be a recipient of the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill programs and be approved for Federal TA, among other potential requirements.You may receive up to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military for the course.College programs,
vocational programs, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, job training, flight training, and more
Top Up is limited to 36 months of payments. (For example, a six-month course would use up six months of your benefits.)
Work Study ProgramYou must be a full-time or 3/4-time student in a college degree, vocational, or professional program.
You must be in one of the following programs:
– Post-9/11 GI Bill
– Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
– Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
– Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
– Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
– Or other select programs.
You must perform approved VA-related work while you are in school. You’ll earn the Federal minimum wage or your State minimum wage, whichever is greater.College degree, vocational, or professional programsThe total number of hours you work cannot exceed 25 times the number of weeks in your enrollment period.
Entrepreneurship TrainingYou must be eligible for any of these VA Education Programs:
– Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
– Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
– Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
-The Post-9/11 GI Bill
You may receive benefits for courses offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Individual courses mustCourses offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)Varies
Yellow Ribbon ProgramYou must be eligible for the maximum (100%) benefit level under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Check with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more specifics.
In addition, your school must meet certain eligibility requirements. For instance, they must participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and certify your enrollment to VA.
You must be enrolled in a school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and you must have been accepted to the Yellow Ribbon program, in order to receive potential benefits.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay qualifying candidates:
– All resident tuition and fees for a public school
– The lower of the actual tuition and fees or the national maximum per year for a private school
Educational programs at schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon ProgramYour participation may be reassessed on a year-to-year basis, depending on factors like your enrollment, your school’s continued participation, and your remaining entitlement under the Post‐9/11 GI Bill.

Disclaimer: This is a private website that is not affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site is not connected with any government agency. If you would like to find more information about the benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, please visit the official U.S. government web site for veterans benefits at Veterans Authority.

FIND GI BILL ONLINE SCHOOLS AND START USING YOUR MILITARY EDUCATION BENEFITS

Finding online degree programs that suit your goals, academic interests, and VA education benefits may be easier than you think. Search online for Montgomery GI Bill and post 9 11 GI Bill online classes and programs. Or, let Education Connection help match you to colleges and universities for free!

Grants and Scholarships

How to Get Money for College Through Grants and Scholarships

Then, Get Matched To Online Schools Using Our Degree Finder!

According to some research findings, 35% of parents and students experience significant stress when it comes to financing college education. Fortunately, for those who find themselves in this situation, there exists a plethora of grants and scholarships designed to alleviate the financial burden of college expenses.

Continue reading to learn about some available scholarships and grants and how to apply.

ec-grants-scholarships

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS

Scholarships offer a fantastic chance to secure financial support for your college journey, thanks to their widespread availability. Additionally, these scholarship grants span a wide range, from a few hundred dollars to covering the entire tuition bill.

While scholarships with larger awards might be less common, there exist multiple channels through which you can uncover scholarships that align with your eligibility.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS?

Unfortunately, a common misconception among students is that they won’t be eligible for college scholarships unless they were the valedictorian or a standout athlete.

However, this belief is far from the truth.

The reality is that a multitude of scholarships exist that provide financial assistance for college based on various criteria, including those mentioned earlier. This implies that virtually anyone has the potential to qualify for a college scholarship, including you.

The process simply involves conducting some preliminary research to identify scholarships that align with your qualifications and then fulfilling the application requirements, typically including an essay or a writing sample.

HOW TO FIND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS

Finding scholarships, and learning how to apply, used to be a challenge as you’d have to flip through worn out and dated books at the library.

Now, there are plenty of resources online that are updated in real time and allow you to find the perfect scholarship for you.

One way is to use Unigo.com, a college scholarship database, which is the premier network for current and future college students as they figure out how to pay for college.

Other ways of finding scholarships include:

  • High school guidance counselor
  • College financial aid office
  • College guidance counselor
  • Federal agencies
  • Public library
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, or civic groups
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Professional organizations related to your field of interest
  • Your employer (or your parent’s employers)
  • Local organizations and clubs

EASY SCHOLARSHIPS FOR COLLEGE 

Check out some easy scholarships below and click on any to apply before the deadline.

UNIGO $10K SCHOLARSHIP 

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: Annually by December 31
To apply for this scholarship answer the question: If a historical figure was back to life in the present day, who is and what is their favorite app?

I HAVE A DREAM SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by January 31
Requirements: Dreams can have a powerful impact on our lives, as well as reveal your subconscious thoughts. Here’s your chance to earn a scholarship for sharing them.

SWEET AND SIMPLE SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by February 28
Requirements: The Sweet and Simple Scholarship Committee wants to hear about a sweet and simple gift you received that had a big impact.

SUPERPOWER SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $2,500
Deadline: Annually by March 31
Requirements: We’ve all thought about what superpower we’d like to have. Now, those thoughts may help you earn a scholarship!

ALL ABOUT EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: Annually by April 30
Requirements: It’s often been said that education is the key to success; What doors could earning a degree open for you?

FIFTH MONTH SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by May 31
Requirements: What’s so special about the number five? Now’s your chance to potentially earn some money to help pay for college by sharing what you think makes five stand out.

DO-OVER SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by June 30
Requirements: What if you had a chance to do-over a moment in your life? What would it be and how would the change impact your future?

FLAVOR OF THE MONTH SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by July
Requirements: July is National Ice Cream Month, so it only makes sense to ask: if you were to be an ice cream flavor, which would it be and why?

MAKE ME LAUGH $1,500 SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by August 
Requirements: The Make Me Laugh Scholarship is a great way to show how funny you are.

SHOUT IT OUT SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by September
Requirements: Whether it’s a message to the world or a simple greeting, this scholarship gives you the platform you’re looking for.

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $2,000
Deadline: Annually by October
Requirements: If you’ve ever envisioned a zombie apocalypse and how you would survive, here’s your chance to share it with the world.

EDUCATION MATTERS SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Annually by November
Requirements: Have you come across those who told you not to pursue your degree? How did you respond? Why does education matter to you?

TOP TEN LIST SCHOLARSHIP

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by December
Requirements: The Top Ten List Scholarship thinks you’re amazing and they want to hear the top ten reasons.

REVIEW YOUR COLLEGE

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: Annually by May 31 & November 30
Requirements: Tell other students about your experience so they can make better decisions about college.

TIP FOR APPLYING TO SCHOLARSHIPS

When writing an essay for a scholarship, always:

  • Keep in mind your audience
  • Apply as early as possible
  • Follow instructions
  • Double check your spelling and grammar

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS

Unlike some of the other types of financial aid, grants and scholarships come with a unique advantage – they do not necessitate repayment, provided you adhere to the specified criteria. For instance, certain grants may stipulate your enrollment as a full-time student or may be contingent upon your chosen academic field. Similarly, certain scholarships may demand the maintenance of a specific GPA. Hence, it’s essential to be well-informed about the requirements you must meet to fulfill your end of the arrangement.

Grants and scholarships, by virtue of not requiring repayment, are highly coveted avenues for funding both undergraduate and graduate education. Nonetheless, these two forms of financial aid possess distinctions. Notably, numerous scholarships are merit-based, implying that they are granted to students who have attained specific accomplishments or possess particular attributes.

For example, there are awards based on:

  • Where you live
  • Race or religion
  • Academic or athletic record
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Essay competition

On the other hand, grants are usually awarded as need-based. However, many schools offer both need-based and merit-based grants to students.

On the other hand, most of the federal grants are need based and for those students who meet certain criteria.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRANTS AND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS

BenefitCollege ScholarshipCollege Grants
Offered ByState Government, Institutions, Private SourcesFederal Government, State Government, Institutions
How Winners Are DecidedMerit-basedFinancial need-based (some exceptions)
Amount AwardedVariesVaries
Have to Repay?NoNo

GRANTS FOR COLLEGE

Grants work a little bit differently than scholarships, though they can be beneficial because you don’t have to repay them either. So, just like scholarships, they’re free money for college.

However, often these are based on financial need, though as mentioned, many colleges and universities also offer grants through the institution that are merit-based or a combination of merit-based and need-based.

There are two types of grants for college:

  1. Federal Grants
  2. Institutional Grants

As every school has unique grants, the list would be entirely too long to publish here. So, contact your financial aid office.

FEDERAL GRANTS

As most federal grants are awarded to students with financial need, they use the FAFSA to determine what amount of need you qualify for, just like the different types of federal student loans. Keep in mind that you need to complete the FAFSA every year to update the information.

TYPES OF FEDERAL GRANTS

There are four types of federal grants, each with slightly different requirements. Be sure to check the specific requirements to see if you qualify.

1. FEDERAL PELL GRANTS

Usually, these grants are only awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree.

2. FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (FSEOG)

The FSEOG program is administered directly by the financial aid office at participating schools and not all schools participate. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if your school participates.

Similar to the Pell grants, FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need and the school’s financial aid office will award the grant to students with the most financial need.

3. TEACHER EDUCATION ASSISTANCE FOR COLLEGE AND HIGHER EDUCATION (TEACH)

These grants are different than others because they require you to take certain kinds of classes in order to get the grant and then do a certain kind of job to keep them from turning into a loan.

Awarded to undergraduate teaching students, you are required to teach for a minimum of four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.

If this service obligation is not met, the grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

4. IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN SERVICE GRANT

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is only available to those whose parent or guardian served in the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

In addition, you need to have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time parent’s or guardian’s death.

FIND GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS TO HELP YOU EARN FREE MONEY FOR COLLEGE

Visit Unigo.com for a vast array of additional scholarship opportunities. Unigo boasts a database comprising over 3.6 million college scholarships and grants, totaling a remarkable $14 billion dollars in value. To streamline your search process, Unigo organizes its scholarship listings into detailed categories. Additionally, you have the option to create an account for personalized scholarship recommendations.

Your Guide to Federal Student Loans

Federal loans for students offer you the chance to borrow funds for college that you must repay with interest. Often, these federal loans offer a lower interest rate and more flexible repayment terms than private student loans.

Learn all about what types of federal student loans are available to find the best option for you and don’t forget to discover grants and scholarships to help you earn free money for college.

In 2015-16, 85% of first-time, full-time degree / certificate-seeking undergraduate students were awarded financial aid. Overall, 72.3%of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid.

ec-federal-student-loans

TYPES OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

There are two main types of federal student loans:

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program

These loans have unique requirements, interest rates, and maximum awards per year, which are explained below.

WILLIAM D. FORD FEDERAL DIRECT LOANS

This is the largest federal student loan program where the U.S. Department of Education is the lender. These loans include:

  1. Direct Subsidized Loans
  2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  3. Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Direct Consolidation Loans

Check out the table below to learn about the differences between these loans.

FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN PROGRAM

As opposed to direct loans, which have the Department of Education as the lender, the Perkins loans are school-based loans, which means that the individual school is the lender.

These loans are offered to undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. In addition, the amount awarded depends on the amount of funds available at a particular school.

Often, the students with the greatest financial need are awarded Federal Perkins Loans.

TYPES OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

Federal LoanCollege Degree LevelFederal Student Loan Program DetailsInterest Rate (First Disbursed on or After July 1, 2018 and Before July 1, 2019)Maximum Annual Award
Direct Subsidized LoanUndergraduateFor those with financial need5.05%$5,500 (depending on grade level and dependency status)
Direct Unsubsidized LoanUndergraduate, graduate, and professional degree studentsFinancial need is not required5.05% (6.6% for graduate or professional)$20,550 (depending on grade level and dependency status)
Direct PLUS LoanParents of dependent undergraduate students; and for graduate or professional degree studentsFinancial need is not required; borrower must not have adverse credit7.6%Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive
Federal Perkins LoanUndergraduate, graduate, and professional degree studentsEligibility depends on financial need and availability of funds at your school5.0%$5,500 for undergraduate students; $8,000 for graduate and professional students

PERCENTAGE OF GRADUATE STUDENTS WHO RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID

71.6% of all graduate students received some type of financial aid, including 44.2% of graduate students who took out some type of loan.

HOW TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

In order to apply for federal student loans, you must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based on these results, your college or career school will send you a financial aid letter, which may or may not include an offer of federal student loans.

This offer includes instructions on how to accept all or part of the loan. However, before you receive your loan funds, you will have to complete two steps:

  • Complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand your obligation to repay the loan
  • Sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan

As some students may not receive federal student loans as an option after completing the FAFSA, don’t forget about private student loans. While each lender and type of loan have different requirements than federal loans, private loans are available to all students.

BENEFITS OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

Some of the benefits of federal student loans include:

  • Interest rate on federal loans is usually lower than private student loans
  • You don’t need a credit check or cosigner for most federal loans
  • You don’t need to begin repaying your federal loans until you leave college or drop below half-time
  • If you demonstrate financial need, you may qualify to have the government pay your interest while you are in school
  • Many federal student loans offer flexible repayment plans and options to postpone your loan payments if you’re having trouble
  • You may be eligible to have a portion of your federal loans forgiven if you meet certain conditions and work in certain jobs

FAFSA Application Deadline

Normally, online FAFSA applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time on June 30 of a given year. For instance, the 2019 FAFSA deadline is midnight Central Time, June 30, 2019.

FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS – HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU BORROW?

Whether you’re taking out a private student loan or a federal loan, it’s important to consider the legal obligation you have to pay back then loans, so responsible borrowing is key.

Some of the things to consider when borrowing money for college:

  • Understand your total amount of loans and how this will affect your future finances
  • Research starting salaries in your field
  • Understand the terms of your loan
  • Make payments on time

Often there are flexible repayment terms for both federal loans and private student loans. This includes options such as, grace period, interest-only payments while in school, and interest rate reductions for automatic debit.

Looking for private student loans? Check out some of your options here!

Percentage of Students Stressed about paying for college

According to a 2017 study by The Princeton Review, 98% of college applicants and their parents said financial aid would be necessary to pay for college. Plus, 65% said financial aid was extremely necessary.

OTHER TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID

As the price of college tuition continues to rise understanding the types of financial aid and finding the right combination of financial aid to pay for your degree is just as important as finding the perfect program for you.

Luckily, there are plenty of other options of financial aid for you to choose from, including:

All of these options mean that you don’t have to worry if you need to supplement your federal student loan offer. Discover some private student loans to find the perfect one for you.

FIND THE FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE AND FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN THAT’S PERFECT FOR YOU

Finding the right mix of financial aid is one of the key aspects of earning your degree. That’s why it’s important to consider all of your options and be sure to do your research.

A good starting point is talking to your counselor or the financial aid office at your school, both of which should have specific details for you to explore.

In the meantime, check out some of our private scholarships and find the perfect degree for you.

© Education Connection 2024. All Rights Reserved.

*https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_311.15.asp

Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Disclosure: EducationDynamics receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”).  So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking.  Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study.  By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.

This is an offer for educational opportunities, not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

1 You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

2 This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with new loans that disburse between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Borrowers are not eligible to activate the benefit until July 1, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit http://www.chegg.com/legal/smtermsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

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