Regardless of which college or career school you choose, you'll probably need help paying for your tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. You're probably wondering how you're going to pay for these things. As we mentioned, the Department of Education offers a variety of student financial aid programs, if you qualify.
Federal student aid includes grants, work-study, and loans. You don't have to pay back grants. Work-study allows you to earn money for your education, and loans allow you to borrow money for school. You'll have to repay any money you borrow. See the sections on Pell Grants, Campus-Based Aid Programs, FFEL and Direct Loans, PLUS loans and the questions for more detailed information on the federal student aid programs.
You can learn about state programs by contacting your state department of education, and you can learn about other programs by checking with your high school counselor or the college or career school you plan to attend. You also might want to use a search engine on the Web with a key phrase such as "financial aid," "student aid," or "scholarships." Or, check the reference section of your local library under those same phrases.
Many private scholarship search services provide lists of sources of financial assistance for which you may apply. We do not evaluate other scholarship search services.
You can also find a lot of information on the Internet. Many colleges and career schools have Web sites. If you know someone who attends or attended a school you're considering, ask that person his or her opinion of the school.
You should ask about the school's accreditation, licensing, student loan default rate, and campus security.
Find out the school's job placement rates (the percentage of students who are placed in jobs relevant to their courses of study).
Find out about the school's refund policy.
Find out about financial aid availability at the school.
Find out about the school's return-of-aid policy.
Find out the school's completion and transfer-out rates.
Get a copy of the school's "equity-in-athletics" report.
You also might want to compare your expected debt for attending the school to the money you expect to earn once you complete the educational program. If you borrow money to pay for all or a portion of your education, you'll need to earn or have access to enough money to repay your debt. Check the Web or visit the library to learn more about the careers you are interested in. The US Department of Labor publishes the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which includes a list of career choices and information on typical wages or salaries for many occupations. The Labor Department also publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which gives job descriptions, including starting salaries and annual income averages.
Latest College & Financial Aid News
November 13, 2018
by Susan Dutca
Scholars will launch an interdisciplinary journal next year, called The Journal of Controversial Ideas, where authors will be able to publish their academic work under pseudonyms due to "recent threats against polarizing academics." There will be no restrictions on academic disciplines, and "both left-wingers and right-wingers" are welcome on the editorial board. [...]
November 6, 2018
by Susan Dutca
Research indicates that college students are expected to vote in record numbers in today's midterm election, in stark contrast to the nation's lowest youth turnout and voter registration in 2014. While forty percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they will "definitely vote" in the midterm elections, "doesn't mean they'll actually cast a ballot on Election Day." Here are a few of the issues in higher education on which voters will have a say: [...]
October 30, 2018
by Susan DutcaPhoto courtesy of The Nation
Graduate student assistants across the nation are pushing for a $15 per hour stipend, which they believe is a "minimum living wage." Graduate students have attributed the 29 percent stipend increase at Emory University to their successful campus advocacy. [...]