Financial Aid Options for Vocational and Trade Schools

Financial aid options extend to continuing education programs and not just four-year universities. However, most federal student aid options require a borrower to be a full-time student. Because of this requirement, few vocational students will qualify for the major federal loan sources. Instead, they will likely have to pursue private loans for their financial needs. Private loans can be just as affordable as federal loans if they are secured in the correct manner.

Industry Financial Aid

One option is to seek financial aid based on the industry you are pursuing. For example, there are a number of teaching programs in local municipalities that will help a person become certified to teach despite lacking a four-year degree. These programs can offer financial aid and reduced tuition to those with particular needs. Other industries have similar programs sponsored by cities or towns in need of more experts in one area. You will be surprised to find that certain companies may also offer to send you to school if you promise to fulfill an employment contract with them upon graduation from your program.

School Payment Plans

The trade school you plan on attending will be aware of the unique needs of a part-time student. Most trade schools have many financial aid opportunities, such as allowing you to serve as a teaching assistant or providing you with an on-campus job when you are not studying. If you choose to take these jobs, you will earn a modest salary, and part of your tuition may be covered. While these programs are win-win examples, you should be wary of a school that refers you to an internal finance department for a loan. Often, schools that also have lending companies take advantage of students by promising them a degree in exchange for a very high interest rate on school-provided financing.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are offered by nearly every bank and lending house in the country. Depending on the size of the loan you need and your credit, your options will be focused in one area. If you need a particularly large student loan, more than $10,000, then you will have to seek high-limit lenders. Loans under $10,000, though, which will cover most trade school tuition, can be easily sourced through local banks and lenders. Try working with a bank that currently operates your checking or savings account for a smoother loan process.

Student Credit Cards

Student credit cards may be necessary to help you cover additional classroom expenses other than tuition. Many trade schools require you to purchase some equipment for hands-on learning. For example, beauty school students will have to buy their own hair care products, makeup brushes and other devices. Housing repair students may need to purchase the tools for their area of work, such as cabinetry or plumbing equipment. The good news is these items will be tax deductible as an education expense or an employment expense down the line.

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