Here's a nice little overview of the financial aid opportunities for adult students, from Mainstreet.com. This goes beyond student loans and institutional scholarships, for a change.
The need for non-traditional students to be financially savvy is important, since there are many options that can make pursuing a degree affordable such as scholarships and grants, employer and veteran benefits and financial aid, said J.J. Montanaro, a certified financial planner at USAA, a San Antonio-based financial institution. Some scholarships are geared only for adult learners and not the traditional, younger counterparts. Check your state’s department of education website to see if there are grants or programs for non-traditional students because it “can pay big dividends,” he said. Students can check out scholarships through the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Education can be a great quality of life multiplier at any point in your life,” Montanaro said. “However, getting it in a financially prudent way will help ensure that’s the case.”
Students should determine if they qualify for federal financial aid, which is a combination of grants and loans, said Kristin Stuhr-Mootz, system director of educational funding at Herzing University, a Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based university with 11 campuses nationwide and an online division.
“Apply early starting with the federal application at FAFSA.gov,” she said. “There can be many steps to applying for financial aid, so don’t wait. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will know what your options are.”
Scholarships can also be found through Fastweb and the College Board, which both have extensive databases with a multitude of scholarships.