In the good old days people worked to go to school. A generation or two ago they actually worked while attending school. While I personally am not ready to burry those days in the back yard under the oak tree, I do acknowledge that there are additional options for students now to pay for school. As long as you have a plan to avoid a gimme gimme mentality that expects the world and feels entitled to things he did not earn, I will share with you some of the ways you can pay for your education.

Before looking for money you first need to assess your need. To assess your need you must understand how much your online college charges for the program you’ve selected. You will also need to know how much you’ve been saving to attend. While some schools have payment programs it’s best to have the money up front to avoid potential late fees or additional costs due to an extended payment program.

If you haven’t been saving as much as you need, and working while going to school is completely not an option (I find that in most cases it is) then three of your options are scholarships, grants or loans.

The first option is the best one and can even add to your resume for the future. Scholarships are typically set up by groups who wish to help students get an education. Requirements are set up to dictate who can qualify for the given scholarship, but there are many, know that. If you have played sports and plan on playing in college (a bit tougher for online jocks), if you have a musical talent (also harder to pursue online, but not impossible), or if you have received good grades in your previous education foundations and scholarship issuing groups are more likely to help you pay for school. It’s rewarding to them to see someone learn and grow, graduate and give back. Another benefit to society at large is that this is all private funds, unlike grants which can also be “free money” but cost society. Scholarships are put forth by individuals and groups who willing choose to give their money, there is no expense to their neighbor who wishes not to give. Beautiful system.

Loans are another category of funds for online college programs. You can receive both private loans from family or you can go through your educational institution to see what type of loans they offer. These will most likely be government subsidized loans, which drives down the interest rates, but don’t be fooled, a lowered interest rate is still quite a bit on $20k. There is not a man I would wish debt upon. In incurring this debt you are assuming the risk of finding adequate work to pay for it later. You also are taking on you the added cost of the interest. Some figure that schooling cost them $20k, but when all is said and done they actually paid much, much more for their schooling.

If you are interested in learning more about federal financial aid programs (and I would seriously encourage you to seek for other solutions first or period), you can go to the US government’s website that helps you learn all about it and submit an application fafsa.ed.gov. Again, while a grant may looks like free money, someone is paying for it, and it’s not you. Work hard to save money, turn to family & friends and look for scholarships before you seek out a resource that taxes the people at large without their direct consent. Good luck in paying for your online college program!

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