You’ve advanced on the job, but you think finishing or enhancing your college degree would help you go further. Or maybe you were laid off and are seeking skills for a new career. No matter the reason, if returning to school is on your horizon, you’re not alone. There are nearly 9-million college students who are 25 and older, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. They represented 42 percent of all students in 2011, up from only 28 percent in 1970. If you’re considering a return to college to finish a degree or enhance your skills, NCACPA offers ideas and tips to help get you on your way.
File Your FAFSAThe first step to being considered for financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. It’s used by most colleges to determine eligibility for financial aid. If you have questions about the form and financial aid in general, be sure to turn toyour CPA for help.
Scrutinize Subsidies & ScholarshipsFederal student loan programs, such as Stafford loans for students enrolled at least half-time, are open to students of any age. And since you are most likely not dependent on your parents, you may be able to qualify for a higher Stafford loan amount. If you can prove financial need, you may be eligible for a subsidized Stafford loan for up to $5,500 annually, depending on your grade level, and the federal government will pay the interest for you until you leave school. If you can’t establish financial need, you can apply for an unsubsidized loan for up to $12,500 annually, but instead of the federal government paying the interest while you’re in school, interest will accrue and be added to your loan balance. The interest rate for either kind of loan for 2014-15 is 4.66 percent for undergraduate students. In shopping for scholarships, keep an eye out for those specifically intended for older or other nontraditional students.
Visit NCACPA’s student resources section on the website for more helpful tips and tools!
This content is in support of 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, a national effort of the AICPA and the state CPA societies to improve the financial understanding of Americans. For more information about the profession’s efforts, visit www.360financialliteracy.org.”
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants © 2014