Part-Time? No Problem!
By Jennifer LeClaire
September 05, 2008
If you're working and going to school part-time it's no problem to get financial aid if you follow this advice.
Aid for All
Even if you aren’t as needy as some, you can still strike gold if you are willing to jump through a few financial hoops and commit to at least two classes a semester. “Virtually all students taking six credits in a degree or certificate program can obtain a low-interest student loan,” said Chris Pesotski, director of financial aid at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
You may also find that some schools offer programs that other schools do not. According to Douglas McNutt, director of financial aid and student enrollment services at the University of Akron, “The bulk of institutional dollars still are awarded to their full-time population, however, many schools serving a large part-time population, such community colleges and urban universities, have set aside some funds for the part-time student.”
For example, beginning this year the state of Ohio is making funds available to students with dependent children who are attending either full or part-time through the TANF Educational Awards Program. The Tuition Assistance for Needy Families program back the awards. There may be similar programs in your area. Again, knowing what’s available is the first step to making the most of financial aid programs.
A Long-Term View
Dr. Tiffany Wagner, author of Debt Dilemma and a former independent career and college counselor, offers a long-term tip for making the most of financial aid: attend a community college first so the aid you do receive stretches farther.
“Take your freshman and sophomore level classes through a community college and then transfer to a four-year college to complete the last two years,” Wagner suggests. After your first semester at community college, you may be able to tap into some scholarship programs if you’ve studied yourself onto the Dean’s list, she adds. And scholarships are the best kind of money – the kind you don’t have to pay back after graduation.
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