Many women would love to return to college in order to achieve financial security for themselves and their families, but they have no hope of enrolling because their budgets are already stretched to the limit. Since college graduates do have an easier time finding work and, on average, make more money for the time that they put in, it is a good financial decision to work toward a degree. Fortunately, money is available from a number of sources to help women reach their educational goals. Just knowing where to look for grants and scholarships is half the battle. The following sources offer free or low-interest money that women can use for educational purposes:
Grants from Government Sources
The federal government tries to make it easy for women in need to further their education and has set up a website with all of the necessary forms and information. The FAFSA website provides a single form asking for background and financial information. From this, the applicant will get a reply explaining which government grants they are actually qualified to receive. If a woman does not have a computer to fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid, many college financial aid offices are set up to offer this service. The process is simple and funding can be sent within weeks.
Scholarships from Charities
Although most scholarship money provided by charities is in smaller amounts than the grants provided by the government, it is possible to get several of these scholarships from different organizations. Local clubs, such as the Civitans, Rotary Club, or the Junior League, sometimes have yearly scholarships that are given out to deserving individuals. Small career oriented organizations also periodically offer small scholarships of this type.
The chapter of core engineers or the area small business women’s organization may give out yearly competitive scholarships. Local alumni associations from various colleges may also offer yearly scholarships to their particular schools. Ask about ongoing scholarships of this type at any college financial aid office or do an online search to see what pops up.
Employee Reimbursement Programs
For women currently working, it may be possible to obtain funding for college through a company pay-back program. Some of these programs require an upfront investment by the employee returning to school, but many do not. The only drawback for this means of funding is that some employers limit the courses that can be taken to those that pertain to the job being held at the time of application.
When applying for these sources of funding, it is important to get all of the facts upfront. Make it a priority to meet the application deadlines for each source and provide all the necessary details on each form. Women wanting to return to college should continually fill out applications for financial assistance without waiting to get a response. This makes the odds greater that enough funding will be garnered to cover college expenses, including books and other unexpected fees.