Cost is a big factor for most adults returning to school to pursue a college degree or classes to upgrade your skills. It will take a financial sacrifice, but it’s also an investment in your future, if you do it right.
Get a plan. Time is money. The longer you stay in school, the longer it will take you to get a return on your investment. Research the best, lowest-cost option that will provide the highest-quality education to help you reach your goals. That might not be the lowest “sticker price,” but to determine value, check out the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Return-On-Investment report that includes cost and starting salaries by Indiana public college or university and major at LearnmoreIndiana.org/cost.
Talk to your employer. Mid- to large-size companies often offer tuition benefits to employees. There may be some strings attached—for example, you might need to have been employed at the company for a specific time period or maintain a certain GPA—but it is a great option, especially if you plan to attend classes on a part-time basis. No tuition benefit where you work? Discuss with your boss how your increased knowledge might help the company and see if there is a chance the company will help you with time or tuition needed to further your education. You never know unless you ask.
Learn about financial aid. Many resources are available to help you pay for college. Visit in person with admissions and financial aid staff at the colleges you are considering. Visit the studentaid.ed.gov website for information about the types of aid you can qualify for, how to manage student loans and how to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the document that determines how much financial aid for which you can qualify.
Check out the new website at www.learnmoreindiana.org for Paying for College 101 resources and tips.