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Alternative Ways to Fund and Achieve Higher Education

Going to college is a dream that is often derailed by unforeseen circumstances. When this happens we often end up not going at all or we do finish but have huge debts. Then add into the equation of not being able to find a job in your career field due to lack of work experience and it becomes even more frustrating. The amount of money spent varies based on the college attended.It is also based on the program being studied and the cost of the credits. These are some alternative ways to help achieve your undergraduate degree.

Funding 1. Working for a college: Parents if you are employed by a college one of the benefits is that you and your child can attend tuition free or for a discounted price. Check with your HR department to find out the requirements. 2. Grants, Work-study, Scholarships, and loans: There are subtle difference between these four forms of funding. Grants and work study programs are federal funded programs. Scholarships range from general to specific. These three don't normally have to be paid back unless you are awarded more money than you are eligible for. In order to apply an essay is usually required. Updated guides to these grants and scholarships can be found at the library or can be purchased online. Loans are usually based on income,. All four may be reviewed each year to make sure that eligibility requirements are being met. 3. Tuition Assistance Program (TAP): Many jobs offer TAP, you can apply for this benefit after passing your probation period. The amount that is borrowed does need to be paid back or they may require that you work a certain amount of years with the company. This would be a good option, if you are gaining experience in the career field that you want. 4. The Military:The GI bill is the most known part of education funding in the military. What most people don't realize is that some of the same careers in the civilian world are also in the military. They have programs dealing in medicine, engineering, computer science just to name a few. These programs are all hands on, so you are gaining a degree and work experience at the same time. If you are into science and technology then this is a good option. I am sure I don't need to mention that many of the things we enjoy in daily life started in the military. And many veterans tend to start their own businesses.

Taking classes 1. Online classes; Technology has changed the way we go to school. Online classes are the next generation of correspondence courses. Online colleges (Devry, University of Phoenix)* brick and mortar colleges (New York University)* all offer courses online. This is great if you don't have the time to physically go to a campus. You can take the classes needed and work at your own pace. 2. BOCES: Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, BOCES for short is the new version of technical and vocational schools. Because of the expense of running a technical school and the changes in technology many school districts couldn't afford these types of schools on their own. So this program allowed school districts to work together to offer adult education classes, college classes and even high school classes. These schools only focus on the subject that you are studying and not extra classes you don't need. So you are not paying for extra credits and you are saving time as well. This is a cheaper way for you to get your college credits and earn practical experience. In my case I was working as an EMT, right after high school. I took a nursing class for a year and earned my LPN, I transferred to a local college and got my RN in another year. I spent $20,000 in two years and got my LPN and RN licenses. If I had gone the traditional route I would have spent twice the amount and twice the time, and still not be guaranteed to get into the nursing program. Adult learners; One other way of saving time and money is to test out of college courses. If you have work experience, life experience, you are allowed to gain credits this way. It is up to the college how much they will give but you can gain as much as 40 credits, These are called Challenge exams or CLEP (College Level Examination Program). You can also present a working portfolio that consist of licenses, certificates and anything that proves you have that knowledge.

In the end you can still get a degree with the college of your choice, But do it in less time, spend less money, and get the needed work experience that will give you that edge over the competition. *Names trademarked are used as examples.

Ms. Lowery – “I reside in Los Angeles, Ca. I a am former middle school teacher currently working in social service. My hobbies are reading, dance, gardening, and traveling.”

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