The decision to attend a vocational-technical college is an extremely important one. The specialized education and training will provide you with the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful in the career of your choice. But how will you pay for it?
Education is an investment in your future. Before you choose your career, it is necessary to consider how much time, money, and commitment you have to prepare yourself for a career. Choosing the right career and paying for college takes planning, forethought, dedication, and commitment.
Financial Aid can be the stepping-stone to your future success. The purpose of financial aid is to assist students with their educational expenses so that financial barriers do not prevent them from achieving their educational goals.
What Is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is the assistance available to help students pay for the costs of attending a vocational-technical institution. Financial aid is provided by federal, state, institutional, or private sources and may consist of grants, loans, work-study, or scholarships. Each year, billions of dollars are given or lent to students, and about half of all college students receive some sort of financial aid.
Most financial aid is awarded based on financial need, college costs, and the availability of funds. This aid is provided to students because neither they nor their families have all of the resources needed to pay for a college education. This kind of aid is referred to as need-based aid.
What are the eligibility requirements?
In general, to be considered eligible for federal financial aid, you must:
– Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen – Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an accredited institution – Be making satisfactory academic progress in your course of study – Not be in default on any loan or owe a refund or repayment on any previous financial aid received at any institution attended – Be registered with the Selective Service, if you are required to do so
Merit-based aid is awarded to students who may or may not have financial need. Students are given assistance because they have a special skill or ability, display a particular talent, have a certain grade point average, or are enrolled in a specific program.
Types and Sources of Financial Aid
There are several types of financial aid offered to help pay for educational expenses:
– Grants – Loans – Student employment (work) – Scholarships.
Grants and scholarships are “gifts” and do not have to be repaid. Loans are borrowed money that must be paid back over a period of time, usually after the student leaves school. Student employment is normally part-time work arranged for a student during the school year. Wages received by the student are used for specific college expenses.
The primary source of aid for students attending a vocational institution of higher education is from the federal government. The federal government offers both grant and loan financial aid programs. State assistance may also be available. Other sources of aid that award money to students come from private foundations such as corporations, civic associations, unions, fraternal organizations, and religious groups. In addition, many companies offer tuition reimbursement to their employees and/or their employees dependents. The personnel department at either your or your parents place of employment can tell you whether or not the company offers this benefit and who may be eligible. Lastly, there are also some colleges that offer awards from their own funds or from money received from various organizations. This type of aid is often referred to as “institutional aid.” Although most vocational institutions have little or no institutional aid available, the student should still be sure to ask the college about this type of assistance.