Ready to update your job skills? Going back to school and earning a certification, a certificate, or a degree is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out in the job market.
Lots of people know that—but school can be expensive, and paying for it when you’re unemployed or underemployed can be confusing at best.
To help you navigate the world of financial aid, we’ve gathered information on some of the most common programs below. See which ones may apply to you, and follow the links to learn more.
Have you been laid off from a job?
If you were laid off as part of a mass layoff, you may qualify for assistance from the Dislocated Worker program through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Find out if you qualify by contacting your local American Job Center.
Are you a veteran?
If you’re a veteran—and you served at least 90 days after September 10, 2001—you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Learn more about the GI Bill for Education & Training from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Have you looked into scholarships?
You may be surprised to learn how many different types of scholarships are available to help pay for school. Scholarships are grants of money that you don’t need to pay back—they often come from a specific school, community group, business, or the government. You may have heard of sports scholarships, but you don’t have to have a specific talent to qualify for a scholarship. Many are based on location, race, ethnicity, life experience, or other characteristics. Visit CareerOneStop’s Scholarship Search to begin your search.
Have you applied for federal financial aid?
Federal financial aid includes grants—money you don’t have to pay back—and loans—money that you do pay pack. The most common federal financial aid programs include:
- Pell Grants, which can provide up to $5,500 for costs at community colleges, colleges and universities, and many trade and technical schools.
- Federal student loans, which allow students to borrow money through loan programs supported by the federal government. They have low interest rates and offer flexible repayment terms, benefits, and options.
- Federal work-study jobs, which provide part-time employment for students enrolled in school.
The first step to getting federal financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps determine if you can get financial aid—as well as how much aid you’re eligible to receive.
Have any questions or comments about these or other financial aid options? Leave us a comment below!