Pursuing further education at any stage of your adult life is a good idea and, if you find yourself longing for an expansion of your intellectual and professional horizons later on in life, you will find it can add a richness to your later life like nothing else can. While many people consider further education in later life, many are perturbed by the cost. Not only is attending further education expensive, it usually requires you to take a break from paid work. The cost of further education should not in itself put you off pursuing an opportunity to better your future – this guide is here to help individuals interested in pursuing further education in later life to understand the different funding opportunities available to them.
Scholarships and grants are one of the golden eggs of the academic world. There are many programs that cater to students looking to afford further education, but they are often fiercely competitive. That’s because scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back, which is a major attractive bonus to any mature student looking to reap the benefits of further education without the steep costs.
There are many programs, however, that come with strings attached. For example, the Health Resources and Services Administration offers a Nurse Corps scholarship program that will fund you regardless of your age, but in return you need to work at a hospital or health facility that has a nurse shortage for a certain period after you graduate. Similarly, the military often offer scholarships for medical degrees in return for a promise to join the armed forces for a period afterwards.
A potential way for you to get some funding is by asking your employer, or finding another employer who will offer some scholarship or tuition reimbursement package. It’s a win-win when your employer helps you with your higher education costs, because they have the additional benefit of hiring a more qualified employee. It’s also a smart idea in terms of job security, because your employer will have invested a moderate amount in your career development, so will want to keep you around so that they can make the most of you.
You can take out a private student loan, where a lender will look through your credit history before approving you. If you do not have a good credit score but want to improve your career potential, you can consider government loans if you qualify. Private loans lack many of the benefits of government loans – things like low fixed interest rates and a choice of repayment schedules, so try to get a government loan first. If you think the amount that a government loan offers you is too small, you could take out a small loan to cover the additional costs of student life such as books and work materials.
Aside from options mentioned there are other choices to help you cover day-to-day expenses.
Depending on income and expenses you might be eligible for tax credit or deductions for some of your educational costs. Then there is always the option of working part time to fund your studies or save up money before you begin further education.