When most people think of paying for their children’s college education, they usually think of asking for donations or grants. These are helpful, but if your child doesn’t mind asking for handouts, they will not always be forthcoming. If you want to cover the costs yourself, you’ll need to get a student loan, and these can be tricky to pay off without incurring a large debt.

If you’re still paying off student loans and you’re trying to save for retirement, it can be tough to know where to put your money, especially if you’re trying to save enough to pay for higher education. If you’re thinking about going back to school, there are many different ways to do it. Here are a few options that can help you pay for college as an adult learner.

Paying for college can be a lot of work, especially if you are not yet a full-time college student or just started your career. It can be hard to know where to start with this monumental task. Thankfully, there are a number of financial aid options available that can help cover college expenses, from grants and scholarships to student loans.

Today, more and more people are among the adult students returning to college later in life. If you want to know how to go to college as an adult, you usually have to ask yourself how you’re going to pay for it when mom and dad probably won’t cover all or part of the cost. Fortunately, there are many ways to pay for adult education, from scholarships and grants to good old-fashioned student loans. Related to : What student loan borrowers want to know about Biden’s executive order Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Grants and subsidies

word-image-12071 Whether you’re going to school or returning, it’s always a good idea to find out about scholarships and grants early. Finally, this is financial assistance for which the beneficiary is not normally responsible for repayment. While most scholarships don’t cover the full cost of education, they can still offset thousands of dollars, and when it comes to such an important expense as education, every little bit helps. It’s a good idea to check with your prospective institution’s financial aid office to see if they offer adult scholarships, but there are also third-party programs you should look for. Consider adding them to your list. Photo credit: Konstantin Pankin/shutterstock.

1. Executive Women International Fellowship

word-image-12072 The Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarship, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, is awarded by local chapters of Executive Women International to adults who are facing economic, social or physical hardship and want to improve their situation through educational opportunities. Please contact your local office for full application information. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

2. Imagine AmericaAwards

word-image-12073 The Imagine America adult vocational training program is designed for adults enrolled in a vocational or technical school to retrain for a career or who are returning to school after a break. The program offers an annual $1,000 scholarship to students over the age of 19 who are enrolled at a participating school. Details on the application and step-by-step instructions can be found on the Imagine America website. Photo credit: Youngoldman / iStock.

3. Jeannette Rankin Scholarship for women

word-image-12074 The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund awards more than $2,000 in scholarships each year to low-income women age 35 and older who are pursuing a technical or professional degree, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree at an accredited university. Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com.

4. Employment allowance

word-image-12075 The Job-Applications.com Working Parent College Scholarship Award, which provides $1,000 toward tuition, is open to parents who work at least 12 hours per week and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Candidates write a 600-1,000 word essay on three keys to successfully balancing parenthood, work, and school success. The scholarship is awarded on a semester basis to parents attending a college, vocational school or similarly accredited program. Photo credit: Prostock Studio / iStock.

5. Study grant for single parents

word-image-12076 Custody X Change, a parenting planning tool, offers three scholarships a year to single parents, who can receive up to $1,000 in college credit. To be considered, you must submit an unofficial university degree or letter of introduction and a 400-500 word essay answering the question: How will you use your education to improve the lives of your family? Visit the Custody X Change website for information on who is eligible and how to apply. There are many other scholarships for adults. You can search on Google or five other search engines. As a SoFi member, you can enjoy free access to Edmit Plus, a tool that helps you identify available benefits and scholarships, evaluate financial aid, and more. Photo credit: x-reflexnaja / iStock.

Educational attainment for employees

word-image-12077 If you are an employee, you may want to look at the stack of paperwork that the human resources department sent you on your first day of work. Today, more and more companies are offering training benefits to their employees as part of their compensation package. Three common types of benefits are tuition assistance, tuition reimbursement, and student loan repayment. They each work in different ways, but all can help offset the cost of education from their own resources. As part of your student loan, your employer may work with some colleges or universities to offer you courses at a discount or for free, especially if they improve your job performance. For example, Starbucks is known for its tuition assistance program, which covers 100% of tuition for employees who enroll in an online program during their first year at Arizona State University. On the other hand, an education allowance means that your company will reimburse you for your education costs up to a certain limit. The Home Depot offers a tuition plan that allows employees to attend a college or university of their choice and receive up to $5,000 (for salaried employees), $3,000 (for full-time hourly employees) or $1,500 (for part-time hourly employees) per year. Finally, some companies offer student loan repayment programs, helping employees repay loans taken out from outside lenders. Many of these programs have specific requirements, such as a minimum number of hours or a certain GPA, so check the fine print. In addition, some universities offer credits for work experience and life experience, which can save you money by reducing the number of courses you have to take (and pay less for). Check with your university to see if they offer this benefit.

 

Photo credit: jacoblund/iStock.

Federal student loans

word-image-12078 Even if you’ve successfully applied for scholarships and received tuition grants from your peers, you may have more tuition costs than you can pay out of pocket. That’s where student loans come in – and the first place you can turn for a student loan is usually the government. Despite the common misconception that federal student loans are only available to students of traditional age, there is no upper age limit. And unlike many private student loans, no credit check is required to apply for federal student loans. Depending on your income, you may qualify for subsidized direct loans, which allow you to get a lower interest rate as long as you spend at least half your time in school and for six months after graduation. (Currently, interest is paid by the Department of Education). You will pay interest on the loan at the beginning of your monthly payments, but this subsidy can save you significant money over time. The U.S. government also offers unsubsidized direct loans that pay interest immediately, but the interest rates are fixed and often lower than those of private lenders. In addition, payments for most federal student loans begin after the borrower graduates or leaves school, while payments for many private student loans begin immediately. To apply for a federal student loan, you must complete the FAFSA. Many universities also require you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to qualify for financial aid at a specific institution. Applying can also help you qualify for vocational training. Photo credit: designer491/shutterstock.

Private student loans

word-image-4495 In addition to federal student loans, there is a wide range of private student loans, many of which may be easier to obtain for an adult with a more reliable credit history. While traditional-age students often need the help of a guarantor to apply, adult students do not and can get better terms if they have a good or excellent credit score. However, it is important to understand that private student loans sometimes have higher interest rates than other forms of financial aid, and interest rates can vary. Deferred payment and income-driven repayment plans are available to qualified federal student borrowers, but these options may be limited for private student loan holders, depending on the lender. It is always important to read all the fine print beforehand. Read more: This article was originally published on SoFi.com and syndicated by MediaFeed.org. Credit products SoFi SoFi loans are made by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Act, license number 6054612; NMLS number 1121636. For more information on legal issues and product-specific licenses, visit soFi.com/legal. Private student loans SoFi Please use credit responsibly. SoFi private student loans are not a substitute for federal loans, scholarships and work-study programs. You must have exhausted all federal student aid options before you can consider private loans, including ours. Read our frequently asked questions. SoFi private student loans are subject to program conditions and restrictions, and applicants must comply with SoFi terms and conditions. See SoFi.com/qualifications for more information. Click here to view payment examples. SoFi reserves the right to modify the admission criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its loan products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university, unless otherwise noted. Financial advice and strategies The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. You should always consider whether they are appropriate in the light of your own circumstances. External pages: Information and analyses provided through hyperlinks to third party websites cannot be guaranteed by SoFi, although we assume they are accurate. References are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as an endorsement. Mention of third party trademarks None of the brands or products mentioned are associated with, endorsed by or sponsored by SoFi. Third-party trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Photo credit: BrianAJackson/istockphoto. AlertMeGrowing up, you may have heard that you should plan on attending college when you turn 18, and then you should plan on going to college, and then you should plan on getting a job, and then you should plan on saving and paying for college. Now, you’re in your 20s, and you’re ready to get a real job, but you’re not sure what you want to do or how you want to pay for college. What do you do?. Read more about financial aid for adults and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an adult get student loans?

A recent report from the Department of Education (DOE) shows that more than 36 million Americans—or one in every five American adults—are currently financially responsible for repaying their student loans, and that number is poised to increase even more. Whether you’re an adult who’s thinking about going back to school, or one who’s already enrolled in college, most of us will eventually have to take out student loans to fund our education. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer alone. If you need some help figuring out how to pay off your loans, read on to learn how to find the right student loan company, how to pay off your debt faster, and what kind of credit you should have to qualify for the best terms Many adults have student loans as a result of pursuing higher education on their own. They may have taken out loans while still in school or while obtaining their bachelor’s or master’s degree, or they may be borrowing to cover tuition for their children. But anyone who has student loans knows they can be a huge financial burden, especially for those seeking to increase their knowledge and skills.

How do I pay for college if I have no money?

Money doesn’t grow on trees, and that’s why it’s really important to have a strategy in place before you graduate from high school. There are a bunch of things you can do to help prepare for college, like saving up for college, setting up an emergency fund or even saving up money for a rainy day. But perhaps one of the most important things you can do to prepare is creating a budget. The cost of college is a major concern for many families today. Many parents are confused about how come their kids don’t have the money to pay for a college education, and are unsure of how to start saving up for it.

Can adults get financial aid for college?

College is a big expense, and it can be tough to come up with the money to pay for it. You might qualify for financial aid from the federal government—the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is free, and many scholarship and grant opportunities are also available. There are lots of options for paying for college, and the financial aid process can be confusing and overwhelming. Some colleges even offer grants and scholarships to adults who are pursuing their higher education. Here are some options to consider:

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