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Today's Life Solutions  
Today's Life Solutions / Education / ARA Content

Discovering financial aid opportunities in the current economy

February 3, 2010

(ARA) - If you are still searching for that silver lining in the present economic doldrums, going back to school this year might be the remedy for you. Whether you are a first-time freshman or a returning student looking for a new degree to move your career forward, for many the timing could not be better.

College enrollment across the United States has risen more than 40 percent, according to an October report issued by the Pew Research Center that was based on data released from the U.S. Census Bureau. America is still witnessing not only record highs in unemployment rates, but also in setting college enrollment records during the recession.

Of course, the age-old dilemma still remains for most present and potential scholars: 'How am I going to pay for college? If I've lost my job, or I'm still looking for a job, how do I start to fund my education?'

'Dedicated students who want to study can always find a way to make it happen,' says Tressa A. Brush, director of Student Financial Services at South University in Savannah, Ga. 'After a student applies to college, the first place students should look for financial aid is with the U.S. Department of Education. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.'

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Department of Education bolstered student financial aid resources for post-secondary education. Hope Scholarship Credits are widely used, and the moneys available via Federal Pell Grants for students who are eligible have been increased.

'When students begin looking for money to attend college, I provide them with many possibilities, but then, the real work begins. Students must begin conscientious and thorough searches for scholarships and loans. These searches can reap very positive results from public and private organizations,' Brush says.

In addition, the current outlook for interest rates on some federal college loans is favorable. The current rate has held at 5.6 percent since July 1, and the rate is expected to be even lower in July 2010.

'Funding, and sustaining funding, for educational endeavors can be a rigorous, but worthy task. If you do the work well, great payoffs can happen, and of course, the biggest payoff is the investment you will make by getting an education. Earning a college degree can lead you so much further on your career path,' Brush says.

Seeking financial aid for education? Where to start:

* Visit the Department of Education online, www.fafsa.ed.gov.

* Check out the benefits of your present workplace. Often, employers offer their employees tuition reimbursements. Ask your human resources department.

* Talk to your close friends and family. New trends indicate increasing financial assistance is coming through the benevolence of one's own kin.

* Check with your local college's financial aid office to research the availability of loans.

* Check with your local civic and non-profit entities such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Lions' Club, and Elks' Club for scholarship opportunities.

* Check out these other Web sites: www.finaid.org, www.fastweb.com, www.gacollege411.org, www.wiredscholar.com, www.usafunds.org, www.familiesoffreedom.org, www.rotary.org, www.ed.gov/finaid, www.collegeboard.org, www.salliemae.com, https://ugsp.nih.gov and www.nsdar.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent
 
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