For most individuals, student loans are a necessity to help pay for the cost of tuition, books and University fees. Fortunately there are a variety of federal and private student loan programs available for those who can’t afford these costs on their own.
Students who are seeking their degrees online have a distinct advantage over their counterparts—they only have to pay for their tuition, fees and books; in many cases, even books are available in electronic format. Online students usually do not have to borrow money for living expenses as most are already employed. And because the courses are taken online (on the student’s own time) and not in residence, neither they nor their spouses have to leave their jobs, relocate, or find new housing. Moreover, online students are not subject to out-of-state tuition.
The Department’s Federal student aid programs are the largest source of student aid in America. If you’re interested in financial aid for college or a career school, you’ve come to the right place. These programs provide more than $100 billion a year in grants, loans, and work-study assistance.
Scholarships / Grants
Getting scholarships and grants to help fund your online degree program can be a great way to ease the financial burden of your education. Scholarships and grants could be approved for a number of reasons, including affiliation with certain groups, academic achievement or simply financial need. Every person seeking financial assistance for school should always start by filling out the Federal Financial Aid application located at www.fafsa.ed.gov . The FAFSA application will determine whether or not you qualify for Federal Grant monies and allow you to apply for federal student loans.
There are many other scholarship and grant programs available. We recommend contacting a Mind Streams Advisor who can guide you through the variety of programs available and the application process necessary to get started.
Teacher / Public Grant Programs
Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. For more information on this grant program and the required eligibility requirements, please contact a Mind Streams Advisor.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, individuals who teach full time for five consecutive, complete academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families and meet other qualifications may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 in principal and interest on their FFEL and/or Direct Loan program loans. (Note: As of August 14, 2008, an otherwise eligible borrower may qualify for forgiveness if the borrower has provided qualifying teaching services at one or more locations that are operated by an educational service agency.)
For additional information and eligibility requirements for this program we recommend contacting a Mind Streams Advisor.
Employer Tuition Assistance Programs
Many employers now sponsor tuition assistance programs. Typically managed through a company’s human resources department, tuition-assistance programs can do more than save you money. They also offer you the chance to integrate your formal education with your future career plans.
So what help can you expect from your company? Support is often determined by government guidelines. According to IRS regulations, employers can provide up to $5,250 to each employee per year on a tax-free basis. Any additional employer tuition assistance is taxed, so many employers stay within the IRS limit.
To make the most of this assistance, however, it’s important to know exactly how your employer’s program works. If you need additional guidance on how to find out if your employee offers this program, please contact a Mind Streams Advisor.