For those who don't believe college for working adults is possible, take heart and know that in this day and age, a college degree is most certainly in reach. A student does not have to graduate with 25K+ in student loan debt, drive to classes late at night or rush after work to be on time for an evening meeting. There are associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs that can be completed 100% online while receiving financial aid. Consider the excuses below and the solutions that are available.
"I can't afford it."
For those struggling with their finances, federal financial aid has made it possible for many students to pursue higher education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step towards funding post-secondary education. Each educational institution that qualifies is awarded funds from the federal government, which they allocate to students according to need.
The FAFSA is completely free and may award eligible students with a grant, which is not required to be paid back. Since income requirements for the Pell Grant are particularly low, most students receive loans. Though student loans have received a bad reputation over the past few years, federal loans are much more affordable than private loans. The federal government offers several payment plans and even loan forgiveness programs to students who qualify. FAFSA aid is not guaranteed, but is available to many students.
In addition to the FAFSA, a wide variety of private programs are available specifically to fund college for working adults who would not be able to afford it. A Google search may also reveal programs such as the Patsy Mink Foundation Scholarship for working mothers. College financial aid offices are also a resource.
"I don't have the time."
College does require a time investment, but with careful planning and some class-load management efforts, college for working adults is a possibility. Online degree programs are increasingly becoming asynchronous, meaning a student can log-in anytime to complete lessons. Whether a student needs to carve out an extra hour in the morning before work or on the weekends when the kids aren't in school, online programs cater to the individual's schedule. Online degree programs allow students to attend classes at anytime of day in any location that they choose.
"I don't have the skills."
Extensive resources are available to students pursuing degrees online. College for working adults requires successfully managing multiple tasks, and many colleges offer online tutoring support and resources to help students that do not come to campus. In addition, students will have the opportunity to connect with their classmates through collaborative assignments and chatroom discussion. Attending college online does not mean that a student has to complete assignments without assistance.
A college degree is in reach for most students. By researching financial aid and awards, carving out a time that is convenient for their schedule and asking for help when it's needed, any student with the motivation and determination to succeed can earn a college degree.