Scholarships Are Excellent Source Of Financial Aid
If you are getting ready to attend college I'm sure you are wondering how on earth you are going to pay for it. Even graduating high school students are more and more often finding that they need to contribute in some manner to their college educations. Whether you will be taking out student loans, applying for scholarships or grants, or praying for some sort of work study program to come along there are a few things you need to know about financial aid at the college level.
First of all, financial aid can be a tricky beast. For this reason it is best to apply early and keep records of everything you send to the financial aid office. The information age has made things easier on one level and yet has eliminated the personal factor on other levels. However, if you own a personal computer you will find that Internet is an excellent source for financial aid and scholarship information. While the government offers a wide array of financial aid resources, there are many opportunities for you to get an education that do not revolve around government funding. You simply need to spend the time finding them.
Your local community is an excellent resource and a good place to start when it comes to financial opportunities for those preparing to attend college. Civic organizations and local businesses like to give out scholarships to promising students. Many of these have very specific requirements and you should pay close attention that you meet the qualifications before applying. There is no sense in wasting your time and that of the scholarship committee by applying for scholarships for which you do not qualify. Scholarships are preferable to student loans, as they do not need to be repaid. This is one of the most important things you need to understand when seeking financial aid for college. Loans are killers to your income for the first several years after graduation. The fewer loans you can manage to take out for your education the better. They are however there for those who couldn't possibly afford an education without them.
If you don't find the scholarships you are hoping to at the local level, you should check with the county in which you live, your state, and the school you plan to attend. There are excellent resources for each of these when it comes to financial aid. Within the college you will be attending you should consult your department head (for your chosen major) in order to see if there are any scholarships available. You will be surprised at the number of scholarships for which you may qualify. Apply for all that you meet the requirements in order to apply. Competition for these scholarships is often fierce but you never know when your letter of application might spark the interest of one of the panel members or you simply might be the most impressive candidate.
When applying for scholarships remember to read all the instructions carefully, make sure you have all the necessary documentation, and that you have checked and rechecked everything for accuracy and clarity. It takes time to make corrections and they can often be the difference in your being awarded a scholarship and the honor going to another student. Scholarships are by far the best route to go when it comes to applying for financial aid but you should be careful that you aren't placing all your eggs in one basket. Try for multiple scholarships, work-study programs, grants, and if necessary loans in order to achieve your educational goals.
Advantages Of Universities
A degree from a university means many thing to many different people. Only you can define the importance of a degree such as this to you and only you can determine whether or not now is the time for you to pursue a university degree. If you are unsure about how advantageous a university degree could be to your life let's look at some of the advantages to a university education in relationship to a community college education.
Money. The first obvious advantage of a university education would be in future earning potential. A four-year degree trumps a two-year degree almost every time. There would have to be exceptional circumstances for someone with a two-year degree to earn more over the course of a lifetime than someone with a four-year degree in the same exact field. While a degree does not guarantee employability, it does improve the odds as well as the income potential that is associated with the field you are entering into. If you have a two-year degree the decision to continue your educational pursuits can be a tough one but it is well worth the effort in the end.
Housing. This is another distinct advantage that universities offer over community colleges. In fact, many universities are now offering housing opportunities to students with families in addition to those students who have no families. Colleges and universities are offering all kinds of value when it comes to housing and meal plans. A great deal of the college experience is missed when you do not live on campus. For this particular reason students wishing to enjoy the experience that dorm life provides often consider universities over community colleges.
Diversity. This is another key component that is often missing at the community college level. International students find no real price breaks between universities and community colleges so they tend to opt for the housing and cultural atmosphere that universities present rather than going with the limiting educational, residential, and cultural experience offered by many community colleges. You will find students of different races, religions, cultures, and nations on the university level-far more than will typically be seen in a community college unless you are attending community college in a very culturally diverse city such as New York.
Culture. This is something that is often lacking on the community college level, as they are largely commuter campuses. You will not see quite the opportunity to experience art, music, the theater, and other wonderful experiences that universities pride themselves in offering to their students. There is nothing quite like the cultural offerings of most large universities and if you get the opportunity I hope you will take the time to stop and experience some of the wonderful things that being in a university community present you with an opportunity to experience.
Research opportunities. On a university level you will have the opportunity to participate in research projects with certain professors if your prove yourself worthy and express an interest. This is something that isn't as likely on the community college level as most professors in a community college are dedicated to teaching rather than research. You will find that the experience of working on a large-scale research project is unlike anything you are likely to experience again if you ever get the chance.
Confidence. There is nothing quite like a college degree from a university to help you become a more confident person both personally and professionally. This is something that really can't be achieved on the community college level but can only be experienced by getting a degree from a university. If you lack confidence when dealing with others or in your career, I hope that you will find that your university education is just the thing to help you feel more confidence on all levels of your life.
These are just a small sampling of the many benefits of attending a university over a community college education. I hope you will carefully consider these when making your decision about which is best for your personal education needs.
Graduate Degree Options
Many people find that in the courses of their careers they wish they had the ability to go back to school for even further education. Unfortunately, not everyone has the good fortune to live in the vicinity of a university that offers graduate level studies in the career they have chosen. Chances are that a good percentage of the population does not and if they do chances are even better that they have very busy personal and professional lives that make intensive graduate studies difficult to pursue at best.
If you are one of the many people that feel you have made your choice and are stuck with your undergraduate degree or that a post graduate degree is simply out of your reach, I hope you will read this article with great interest and learn that there options available to you no matter how far away from a university you live or how little time you have to devote to your graduate studies.
A graduate education is a very intensive course of study that is very narrow and specific. In other words, many students find that their graduate coursework is their favorite by far as it gets into the meat of the subject matter of their interest rather than merely hitting the highlights. Only a small percentage of the population at this point in time has a graduate education. Though this does not necessarily guarantee you any employability it can provide you with very specialized knowledge or skills that will help you perform your job better and qualify you for more interesting and specialized positions in your field of study.
If you would like to pursue a graduate education but feel you are too far from the nearest university that offers a comprehensive graduate education in your field, you might be surprised to find that the nearest graduate level curriculum is as far away as your living room or your favorite Internet caf
Great Reasons To Complete Your Degree
A university education is one of the best possible ways to insure your earning power upon graduation. There are all kinds of fields and all kinds of majors, some paying higher than others but as a rule, college graduates will earn more money over the course of their lifetimes than those who do not have a college education or degree.
We live in a world that increasingly demands more of its citizens. We need to have the ability to hold academic conversations on the corporate level that go well beyond the score in last nights basketball games. Companies' want well-rounded employees that epitomize all the great things that a four-year degree has to offer. For this reason, even those who have labored in order to gain an associate's degree are getting left behind in favor of those who have a more 'complete' education.
If you have already entered the work force there is still the time to increase your earning potential by seeking higher education. Colleges and universities today are offering more options for students wishing to return to college than ever before. In fact we are seeing an increasing number of college students that are classified as non-traditional students. We are seeing many more adults returning for the education they didn't receive the first time around, which is good news. It also means that more and more options are becoming available at night and on the weekends for those adults.
Even better is the fact that more and more often we are seeing courses being offered online for those who are seeking to complete their education. This allows even more options for those students who are desperately trying to balance careers, family, and education. As more and more opportunities such as these arise we will also see a growing number of graduate studies opportunities being offered in a similar fashion.
If you are thinking of returning to school after years of absence or perhaps attending for the very first time while managing an existing career there is no time like the present in order to do so. Not only will a college education give you greater earning potential in your lifetime it can also qualify you for promotions within the company for which you currently are employed.
The truth of the matter is that you really can't go wrong when it comes to going back to college and getting or finishing your degree. You can increase your earning potential, your promotion potential, and most importantly your self-image. There is something about having a degree that makes you feel better about yourself and your ability to provide for your family. Even if you never actually use your degree for anything other than a plaque on the wall, you will have the knowledge that you accomplished something that only a small percentage of the population ever gets around to completing.
If nothing else, your college education is worth every penny you will pay in order to have it for the wonderful sense of accomplishment that goes along with getting it. Your college degree won't make you a better person; just give you a better opinion of yourself as a person in many instances. If you need a confidence booster in your professional and your personal life, getting your college degree is often just the bump of confidence you need in order to accomplish many great things.
The Dollars And Cents Of A Four Year Degree
When it comes down to the importance of an education there is no denying that the longer you stay in school the better off you are when it comes to earning potential over the course of your lifetime. Recent estimates have presented some rather astonishing figures to support these claims however, and I for one think they are well worth mentioning.
Let's discuss first things first however. A high school diploma will net the average citizen $200,000 additional dollars of lifetime income on average. This is one small baby step when it comes to the educational process however. Some college, even without a degree will even increase that figure an additional $150,000 for a total of $350,000. If this isn't enough to convince you however try the facts and figures that are associated with the additional earning potential that a four-year degree introduces: $500,000. This addition makes a total of $850,000 more over the course of a lifetime in earning potential. I don't know about you but I find those figures to be quite a nice motivator for going back and finishing a degree.
While a person's education may not be an accurate indicator of his or her actual ability it is often used in the business world to narrow down a growing field of applicants for a sadly stagnate number of positions across the country. There are things you just can't see on a piece of paper and ability and capabilities are among those things. Businesses need a defining factor by which they narrow down the field of potential employees and that defining characteristic is often a college degree in the field of business or a complimentary major course of study.
While this may not seem fair to many who have the practical skills companies are seeking employees that can fill multiple roles in order to eliminate positions that have been occupied in the past. For this reason they want business people who have technical skills and a college education provides a brief introduction to many skills that are useful in these situations. Unfortunately, the only way to know whether or not you have these specific skills is if you list them on your resume while those who have a four-year degree are believed to have them by the merit of their educations.
The earning potential alone should be enough to turn your head when it comes to the importance of earning a college degree though there are many more excellent reasons to pursue the completion of your degree. If you haven't considered some of the other wonderful reasons for returning to college and getting your degree, perhaps the reasons below will provide a little additional motivation.
1) Challenge. There is very little in life that offers the challenge of returning to college after an absence. It is a frightening prospect for many and yet can be equally as exciting. You will find that the constant exposure to academic debate is a great way to feed your mind and open your eyes to new ideas. Challenge your preconceptions and challenge the limits of your own experiences by opening up your mind to the thoughts and ideas of others.
2) Learn New Skills. There is never a bad time to begin learning new skills no matter what they say about old dogs and new tricks. The truth is that as long as you open your mind to learning you are feeding it and that is a great thing.
3) Career advancement. Whether you realize it or not, a college degree is one of the quickest paths you can take to career advancement.
If the money wasn't enough to convince you of the impact that a four-year degree can make in your life perhaps the reasons mentioned above were enough to do the trick. Whether or not you realize how much a degree can affect your life the truth of the matter is that it can improve so many things about your life and how you view yourself and the world around you. Now is the perfect time to go back to school and earn your degree.
Student Loans Should Be Last Resort
Student loans are both a blessing and a curse to college students all across the country. On one hand, student loans allow you to have the money you need in many cases to attend college at all. On the other hand, most college students, particularly those entering college for the first time have inflated opinions of their starting salaries upon graduation and the bills they will face while living in the real world. In fact, most freshmen college students have no real concept of the limits of money in which to base their decisions as to whether or not they can realistically expect to repay those funds once they've graduated college.
The sad truth is that many college graduates find that for the first 10-15 years after they have graduated college, they are essentially indentured servants to their student loan debts. There are many reasons for this and different college graduates will find different things about their student loans when the appropriate time comes. First of all, those taking out student loans need to understand that a college degree does not guarantee a high starting salary. Beyond that, a college degree is no guarantee that there will be employers lining up to take your name and number upon graduation. The truth is that most college grads take anywhere from 6 months to a year to find a job in their fields and even then the starting salaries are often far less than anticipated.
Part of the blame for over-inflated expectations is the fault of universities attempting to validate their high tuition rates by displaying average starting salaries of only those that have successful offers in the field of study immediately upon graduation (which usually indicates a history of working with the company or another company as an intern prior to being hired) and not those students who have no prior work experience in their chosen fields. Part of the expectations is students reading job advertisements for experienced workers in a field and assuming that an education will provide the experience that employers require. Regardless of the reason, most starting salary expectations are not realistic in light of the current market.
The problem is that for many students a student loan is the difference in receiving a college education or not receiving one. For these students, there is no option. The price they will pay (with interest) for having student loans in order to get through the educational process will repay itself over the course of a lifetime if they are wise about making the necessary payments and stay on top of things such as consolidation loans and making payments on time.
Student loans are a great tool for those who have no other options when it comes to attending and affording to attend a university. On the other hand, for those who do not have an absolute need for the funds a student loan can provide they can prove to be problematic when trying to establish your career and your lifestyle upon graduation. This is a tool for education that should be used sparingly at best.
Whether or not you choose to take out student loans in order to fund your college education it is a good idea if you exhaust all other available resources first. Check out your options for grants, scholarships, and work-study programs before leaping into student loans to pay for your education.
The True Value Of A Two Year College
Higher education in this country is rapidly becoming a necessity in the business community rather than a luxury. There was a time when those who had a high school education still had the opportunity to build a better world for themselves and their families. Those days are rapidly becoming another dieing ember of the past. If you hope to have significant earning potential during your lifetime you are almost completely limited by your learning potential and the level of education you have received.
The good news is that you do not have to have an all or nothing approach when it comes to education. You can begin by taking baby steps when it comes to higher education. If you have a community college in your area, this is one of the greatest resources for beginning your college education at any stage in your life. Most community colleges offer classes at various times during the day and evening, even some on Saturday in order to accommodate students of different ages and backgrounds.
Community colleges also offer an excellent opportunity to begin your learning quest in a manner that is much more easily affordable to the average citizen than a full-blown university. These colleges are largely commuter colleges though there are several that allow students the experience of living on a college campus at a much lower price than most major universities charge for the same or very similar privileges.
Community colleges also allow you to explore your options if you aren't really sure what direction you wish for your education to take without paying such a high price for the process. If you know the career path you wish to take you might find a two-year degree program that can have you out of school and in a career much sooner than a four-year program will allow. If that isn't good enough news for you, many of the two-year programs of study that are offered at the community college level may very well transfer quite easily into bachelor degree programs at the university level.
Community colleges offer an excellent start for many people who are seeking higher education whether to further their careers or just to find fulfillment on a personal level in life. There are many wonderful programs in vocational fields as well as academic fields that can be explored and studies on the community college level.
For graduating high school students community colleges help students ease into the adjustment from high school to college without going through the culture shock that some universities can put students through. You will find that there are often many opportunities to meet educational as well as social needs on the community college level for students that are interested in pursuing a community college education.
You should also discover that community colleges are much easier to budget when it comes to setting aside funds and savings for either your personal college education or the educational expenses of your children. Having them attend a community college for two years then transferring to a University can save a great deal of money and provide you a little piece of mind that your children are still receiving an excellent level of education.
Seriously, if you are looking for an excellent value when it comes to education you would be doing yourself or your children a disservice if you do not check out the community college options in your area before taking the plunge and diving into the university lifestyle. You will find that community colleges often offer an equal level of education for the introductory classes that first and second year college students often take, they are a much better value for the money, and they are an outstanding values for those who are trying to juggle their education with family and work responsibilities.
Are Student Loans Becoming Necessary Evils
When it comes to getting a college education most people can agree that the costs can be staggering at best. Even the least expensive colleges in the nation can add up over a four or five year period of time creating crippling debt for those who do not qualify for some of the better grant programs of substantial scholarships.
The problem lies in the fact that the parents of most traditional college students make too much money to qualify for the free financial aid that is needs based and very few qualify for the limited number of scholarships that are available to students based on merit. Even among those that qualify competition and fierce and there are no guarantees. Enter the student loan. There are all kinds of student loans and unfortunately with rising costs associated with college attendence and the growing necessity of a college degree for success in this country it is becoming more and more difficult to pay the price that is associated with higher education.
There are three types of loans that are commonly found for college students. They include federal student loans, federal plus loans, and private student loans. Each type of loan has advantages and disadvantages that are unique to that particular loan. Below I will give a little information about each of the loan types and whom they may benefit.
Student loans. There are three different types of student loans: subsidized, unsubsidized, and Perkins loans.
Perkins loans are only available to students who display exceptional financial need. These loans are available at a 5% interest rate and are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Perkins loans are extended through the university you attend and will be repaid to the university unlike the other types of student loans, which are repaid to the lending agency.
Subsidized student loans are loans in which the interest is deferred until graduation or you cease to be a qualifying student. What this means is that while you are responsible for repaying the loan upon graduation the interest on these loans does not begin to accrue until your begin repayment 6 months after graduation or your cease to be at least a half time student of the university. You must qualify based on your income in order to receive a subsidized student loan. While the needs requirements for these loans isn't as grave as those required in order to receive a Perkins loan you must still qualify.
Unsubsidized student loans do not require qualification on a needs basis. You must be a student and enrolled at least half time in order to receive an unsubsidized student loan. The good news however for those who do not qualify based on needs for other student loan options is that this type of loan is available to all qualifying students regardless of need. The interest on these loans however begins to accrue immediately, which means they can really add up over time.
PLUS loans are loans that are taken out by the parents of students who need the funds in order to cover educational expenses. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the cost of attendence minus any financial aid awards the student has already received. The repayment on these loans begins 60 days after the loan is dispersed and the repayment period can be up to 10 years.
In order to cover the costs involved in education that go above and beyond what the government recognizes as acceptable college related expenses you can opt to go the route of private student loans rather then relying solely upon federal financial aid for your student loan source. These loans require that you qualify in order to receive them based on your credit rather than your need and must be used for educational purposes only. With these particular loans you really need to make sure you read all the fine print as different companies offer different conditions and different perks. You should really take the time and compare prices and options before taking out a private student loan and this should be done only as a last resort.
Student loans for many can be the difference in attending college and getting the education you are hoping for and not being able to pay the high costs that go along with higher education. For this reason you should treat them with respect and not take them lightly.
Common Attendance Methods For Returning Students
Are you one of many Americans that dreams of returning to college but fears that option ended for your many years ago? If this is you, then you are in luck. There is no time like the present to go back and pursue your educational dreams. In fact, there has been no better time throughout history than today for those who wish to return to school but cannot give up their careers in order to do so.
Educational opportunities abound today in America and only show evidence of increasing and improving with time and technological advances. There are many options available for the returning students of today that would have been summarily designed to those hoping to further their educational goals in the past. If you are hoping to go back to school consider the options below very carefully before deciding which will be best for you.
The All or Nothing Approach
This endeavor is a giant leap of faith. It involves quitting your job, packing up your life and going back to college with every hope for a better future hinging on your performance. This is a high-risk endeavor for many professionals who have families and careers to consider. However, the rewards will be much quicker with this approach than most of the other available options. You should consider carefully whether this is an appropriate plan of action for your specific needs or if the risk would be too high for your family to endure.
Most community colleges and universities offer a wide assortment of night classes to those students who have daytime careers but are hoping to further their educations. You will find that despite common preconceived notions there is a wide mixture of students in night classes. There are first time college students who simply prefer night classes to early morning classes, retirees hoping to learn something new, and professionals hoping to grab a few more credit hours towards their degree. You never know whom you will find in your night classes but chances are you will find that there is a special sense of community among night school students that you won't find in traditional day classes.
Techno Wizards for Internet Courses
Believe it or not you do not need to have spectacular technical skills in order to take the average online or Internet course. The truth of the matter is that the most technical skill most of these classes require is the ability to visit websites, open email, and download an occasional file. Internet classes offer extreme flexibility for those with busy family and work schedules. This is the option of choice for many returning schools. The good news is that more and more universities and community colleges are offering these sorts of classes in many different fields and majors. The more demand grows for these classes the more classes will be offered.
The fact is that as consumers we have the right to ask for what we want or need. College students are consumers who are paying a hefty price for the product they hope to receive-a solid educational experience. Do not be afraid to request that the university you are attending offer more options for working students if you find that you are in need of a class that isn't offered in a flexible manner. Chances are if you need the course, there are others like you who will as well. If there is enough demand, most universities will oblige the demands of their students.
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