College tuition can be expensive, but don’t let this be a deal breaker. Financial aid is an important part of your success as a student, so invest the time and effort to learn as much as you can about it. With a little research and work, you can find many options to help fund your dream of a college degree. Financial aid comes in many forms and is available from many sources.
The most common types of financial aid for adult students are:
- Grants –grants are gift money and do not have to be repaid. Grants are primarily need-based. While grants are rarely merit-based, most require students to keep an average grade point average.
- Loans – student loans must be repaid upon graduation. The terms and repayment options of student loans vary widely. The federal government offers student loans, as do many private financial institutions such as banks and credit unions.
- Scholarships – scholarships do not have to be repaid. Scholarships may be awarded based on any number of criteria including academics, achievements, talents, affiliations with various groups or career aspirations. They are available from federal and state governments, large corporations, local businesses, professional organizations, universities and individuals.
- Employer Tuition Assistance – some companies offer the benefit of a tuition assistance plan to their employees.
The most common sources for financial aid are:
- Federal government: U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and qualifying non-citizens are eligible for federal financial aid. Common types of Federal financial aid include, Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and PLUS Loans.
- State government: The State of Tennessee offers many options to finance your college education, including the Hope Scholarship program.
- Institutional aid: Many individuals and corporations award financial aid at the institutional level. The best way to learn about these opportunities is through the financial aid office of the college or university you plan on attending. Visit our list of local college institutions with links to their online financial aid information.