Friday, February 17, 2012

Do You Want To Go Back To School?

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By John Hatfield

If you are a Mom going back to school, you are facing a hard but rewarding road. And like any trip, a little planning up front can make the journey easier. Of all of the challenges surrounding going back to school, getting the money for classes can be the most daunting. College expenses have never been higher and finding financial aid can be crucial to your ultimate success.

Student Loans is often the easiest way to get the financing that you need, but easy is not necessarily better. Remember, you will be expected to pay that money back, with interest, once you leave school. Whether you graduate or not.

Federal programs exist to provide student aid to a broad spectrum of the nation's population. To find out how much you may qualify for, you simply fill out the online FAFSA application. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the one application required to be considered for nearly all of the Federal programs out there.

There are several sources of financial aid beyond the Federal government which can help fill the gap in your financial aid package. First, the school that you are attending has many programs and scholarships available. Which ones are you eligible for? You won't know until you ask. Contact financial aid and see what they can go for you. Another source is your own community. Local civic and religious groups often have scholarship funds available that can help you make educational ends meet.

The best money for school is free money. Money that you don't have to pay back. There are many programs out there that can provide grants and scholarships for you school expenses. There are also private lending institutions that can help you as well. By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can find out how much Federal grant money you qualify for. This money can be used for any expenses while you are in school and does not have to be paid back. Note that your award notice will list any student loan programs that you qualify for as well. It will be tempting to just take them up on the offer, but press on to the private sector first. Remember, free money is what you are looking for.

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