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Finding Financial Resources to Fund Your Education

Finding Financial Resources to Fund Your Education
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Posted in category Learners by

Enrolling in college courses to become credentialed for a particular job is one way to help secure your financial future. Paying for your education in the meantime, however, can be a great challenge for many students. Thankfully, there are many options available to help you cover your college expenses. In this blog, we’re outlining several of these options to help make your educational goals possible.

How to Estimate the Cost of Your Education

The first step in determining how to fund your education is obtaining the most accurate estimation possible of what your education will cost. Once you have determined the career pathway that’s right for you, determine the credential(s) you will need to be successful in that career. Maybe you need an academic certificate, a degree, a professional certification, or another type of credential. Next, you can start determining the cost of your education. Professional organizations will list the cost of their certifications on their websites, as well as information about training programs you may need to pursue to prepare for that certification. Most colleges and universities post cost calculators on their websites to help you estimate how much it will cost you to obtain a degree or certificate.

Some things to remember:

  • Don’t be afraid to shop around. Colleges and universities charge different rates for tuition and fees based on several factors. If you need a four-year degree, determine what courses you can take at a community college for the first two years that will transfer to the university you’d like to attend. Community colleges generally have much lower costs than four-year schools. Also, compare the costs of different schools in your area. You may be in an area where there are several colleges you can choose from, and cost should factor into your decision. Keep in mind that commuting to a school that’s further away from you will incur additional costs as well as time. Many colleges also offer online degree programs, which opens your options considerably. You’ll want to be sure that online education is the right choice for you before committing to an online program, but online programs can help you save money (speaking to an academic advisor can help you decide if online education is right for you).
  • Tuition raises over time. A tuition calculator at the college you have chosen should be the most accurate predictor of the cost of obtaining your degree or certificate, but remember that tuition will likely rise over the course of your degree. You’ll want to take this into consideration.
  • Factor in the costs of supplies. Many college tuition calculators will also factor in the cost of supplies (textbooks and other school supplies), but some may not. If not, you’ll want to be sure to calculate this cost for yourself.

How to Fund Your Education

Once you’ve determined how much money you’ll need to cover your educational expenses, you can start looking into your funding options. If the career you’d like involves extensive training or education, the costs of your education might be high. However, the options below can help you cover the costs of your education more easily, regardless of the price.

  • Grants – Grants are typically awarded due to financial need, which is determined by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  • Scholarships – Scholarships are typically awarded for academic merit. Some scholarships are available to all students meeting certain grade requirements, while others are only available for students in a particular field of study. Helpful places to find scholarships include your college’s website, honor societies, alumni associations, professional organizations in your subject area, or any religious organizations you are a member of.
  • Tuition Benefits – Tuition benefits may be available to you based on a number of factors. If you are a veteran, you’ll want to investigate any tuition benefits available to you through the GI Bill. If you’re an older student, some colleges offer tuition benefits to students over a certain age. If you’re a community college student transferring to a four-year institution, some colleges offer scholarships specifically for transfer students. Some employers also provide tuition assistance to their employees. Think about the different organizations you are or have been involved in and investigate what benefits may be available to you through them.
  • Personal Funds – You’ll likely also need to raise funds to cover your college expenses through work. You may want to investigate student jobs available through work-study programs on your campus or find a part-time or full-time job available off-campus. Evaluate the number of hours you’re willing to work carefully. Some students prefer to take a full course load while working a few hours to help them cover some expenses while others work full-time positions and take only one or two courses at a time to pay for more of their education expenses upfront rather than relying on student loans. This is a personal choice, but in making this decision you may want to consider other financial obligations you have, when you would like to graduate, if you will need to rely on student loans to cover at least part of your expenses, and how much money (if any) you’re willing to take out in loans.
  • Student Loans – Once you’ve exhausted your other options, students loans may be necessary to cover any remaining expenses. You will likely want to start by looking at federal student loans since the interest rates on these loans are typically lower. You can find out what federal loans you’re eligible for by filling out your FAFSA. You can also explore private student loans offered by banks and other financial institutions.

Be sure to speak with someone at your college’s financial aid office. Those individuals are very familiar with financial aid options at your college or available locally and can help you through the process of applying for grants, scholarships, etc.

How Knowledge to Work Can Help

Knowledge to Work focuses on work-based learning. This means that from exploring careers to finding employers in your area, we have the resources you’ll need to get the job you want.

  • Start by using our career pathways explorer to find the career that will be the right fit for you. Knowing your educational goals before embarking on your educational journey is one of the best ways to save money. You can focus on the exact courses, learning resources, or certifications you’ll need to get you where you want to go without spending time and money on the rest.
  • Learn the skills you’ll need for the job you want. Each of the career pathways available on features competencies aligned to that career. Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and abilities you’ll need to know to be successful in that career. Competencies tell you exactly which skills employers are looking for in employees, so you can ensure you’ll be a stand-out candidate.
  • Find learning resources on All of these competencies are tied to learning resources, thousands of which are free, so you can locate the materials you’ll need to learn these skills right from Knowledge to Work. These learning resources can be used to help you prepare for achieving the credentials you’ll need, which can save you a great deal of time and money.
  • Create your personalized learning plan to track your progress toward your educational goals. By signing up for your free account on, you can set your educational goals, track the competencies you’ve learned, save searches, favorite learning resources, maintain a learning journal, and much more.
  • Find a job. Use our job search page to locate open positions in your area. This is a great way to find work to support yourself throughout your education and to locate your dream job once you’ve achieved the necessary credentials.
Enrolling in college courses to become credentialed for a particular job is one way to help secure your financial future. Paying for your education in the meantime, however, can be a great challenge for many students. Thankfully, there are many options available to help you cover your college expenses.

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