I am thinking about going back to school to get a second bachelors degree. Because I already have a B.A. degree, it seems that I am not able to receive any aid other than student loans. Is this true or am I missing something?
— Josh S.
Students with a prior Bachelor's degree are ineligible for the Pell
Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant, National SMART Grant, the
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
(TEACH Grant) for a second Bachelor's degree. There is an exception for post-baccalaureate teacher
certification and licensure programs in certain circumstances.
Associate's degree recipients remain eligible for these undergraduate
grant programs until they receive a Bachelor's degree.
Students with a prior Bachelor's degree are ineligible even if the
prior Bachelor's degree is from an unaccredited or foreign
school. There is an exception if the college determines that the
foreign degree is not the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree.
Students seeking a second Bachelor's degree may still qualify for the
Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study (FWS), Stafford Loan and, if still
dependent, the Parent PLUS Loan. Students may also receive the
Stafford Loan for a second bachelor's degree up to any remaining
eligibility under the undergraduate aggregate loan limits.
(If the student has exhausted the undergraduate Stafford loan limits,
a possible workaround is to enroll in a graduate or professional
degree program instead of pursuing a second Bachelor's degree.)
Students who are seeking an Associate's degree but already have a
Bachelor's degree are subject to the same restrictions. However,
community colleges tend to offer very low cost degree and training
programs. So if you are pursuing a second degree to gain or enhance
job skills or change careers, look into the programs offered by your
local community college. (The US Department of Education will be
providing grants to community colleges to enable the development of
new programs for retraining displaced and unemployed workers.)
Some private scholarship programs are open to students pursuing a
second Bachelor's degree, but these are usually highly competitive.
Some states offer retraining grants through their
one-stop career centers
A handful of colleges are offering free or reduced tuition to
unemployed alumni, so ask your alma mater if they offer such a
The education tax benefits might help. The
Hope Scholarship tax
is limited to the first four years of postsecondary education,
but the Lifetime Learning tax credit
does not have such a restriction.