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4 Financial Aid Tips for Non-Traditional College Students

Non-traditional students generally consist of people who are older than 22 and going to college for the first time or returning students applying for re-entry. While they may not be the usual college applicants, they are becoming more common as more adults continue to enter or return to college. Many college classrooms include a very diverse group of people with different ethnic, age, social and cultural backgrounds. There are many scholarships and types of financial assistance programs which have been designed specifically for non-traditional students. Here are a few financial aid tips:

1. Scholarships and School Assistance

Many scholarships are offered by colleges and universities in many parts of the country. School scholarships may be general financial aid packages with very specific requirements for eligibility or consist of programs developed toward a specific kind of student. For instance, non-traditional adult students, ages 23 and over, may apply for North Iowa's Community College Scholarship for Adult Students to receive approximately $300 to $1,000. Non-traditional students may find work experience and community service scholarships rather than those which pertain to test scores and grades. Contact the financial aid offices at schools for information about offerings for non-traditional students.

Financial aid is offered to some students from schools that might otherwise restrict undergraduate financial aid. For example, assistance is sometimes offered to adults who are returning to or starting school for the purpose of enhancing or changing their careers. Talk to financial aid officers and representatives at schools you are interested in attending to inquire about what kind of aid options are available to you.

2. Financial Aid Foundations

Many associations and foundations are interested in assisting college students with all kinds of finance education. The Executive Women International (EWI) offers non-traditional students their Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) Scholarship granted through each chapter. Additionally, there are 12 special awards provided for $2,500 each which can be used for tuition, books, child day care and expenses. Performing basic research can find other organizations offering similar educational financial aid.

3. Federal Financial Aid

Non-traditional students may receive financial assistance from federal programs that have no specific age restrictions, since people over 24 are automatically classified as independent. This is can be advantageous since a great deal of non-traditional students have no access to resources from parents. Obtain and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application since Federal loans generally have much lower costs than private ones. Contact a school's financial aid office for assistance to ensure that your specific situation is considered adequately.

The U.S. Government awards retraining grants to community colleges to assist adults in learning new job and career skills. Programs can offer services like tutoring, career counseling, transportation, child care assistance, and help obtaining textbooks and other educational supplies.
4. Employer Assistance

Sometimes jobs, companies and businesses offer people planning to attend school while employed the opportunity to obtain financial tuition assistance. Each employer will have its own guidelines on how to acquire assistance. Major and large organizations usually have various kinds of classes and programs to choose from with grade requirements in order to get reimbursed. There are usually employment stipulations in place as well.

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