Higher education is essential for many students looking to advance in their careers or pursue their passions. However, the cost of attending graduate school can be prohibitive for many students, especially those pursuing their education independently. In this article, we will discuss five tips for students who are independently pursuing higher education and looking to secure funding for graduate school. Whether you have strong credit and academic standing or are looking for loans without a cosigner, options are available.
1. Explore Federal Financial Aid Options
One of the first steps students should take when looking to secure funding for graduate school is to explore federal financial aid options. The federal government offers a variety of financial aid programs, including grants, scholarships, and loans, that can help students pay for their education. Some of the most popular federal financial aid programs include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the Federal Work-Study program. To receive govt funding, you must fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will ask you about your income, your family’s income, and any other financial avenues you may receive support through.
2. Look into Private Scholarships and Grants
In addition to federal financial aid options, students should also consider looking into private scholarships and grants. These scholarships and grants are typically awarded by private organizations, such as foundations, corporations, and community groups, and can be an excellent way for students to pay for their education. Some popular private scholarships and grants include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Scholarship, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Scholarship, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship. Also, check with your graduate school to see if they offer scholarships directly to new students.
3. Consider Alternative and Private Loans
For students who have exhausted all other options, alternative graduate school loans can be a great way to pay for graduate school. Alternative loans are typically offered by private lenders and are not backed by the federal government. These loans can be more expensive than federal ones, but they can also be a good option for students with poor credit or no cosigner. Reliable private loan lenders such as Ascent understand how difficult it can be for students to build good credit and land cosigners while attending college. This is why Ascent offers Outcomes-based loans for students with poor credit and no cosigner. While other private lenders may turn you away, Ascent will help you find a loan rate that works for your financial situation and educational goals. Visit Ascent to learn more about the rates you qualify for.
4. Look into Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Another option for students who are independently pursuing higher education and are struggling to pay for their education is to look into income-driven repayment plans. These plans are designed to help students pay off their student loans based on their income and can be an excellent way to keep their loan payments affordable. Some popular income-driven repayment plans include the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan, the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan, and the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan.
5. Take Advantage of Work-Study Programs
Lastly, students should take advantage of work-study programs, a form of financial aid that allows students to work part-time while in school to earn money to help pay for their education. Many colleges and universities offer these programs to students. They can be a great way for students to gain work experience while also earning money to pay for their education. Some popular work-study programs include the Federal Work-Study program and the College Work-Study program.
Pursuing higher education independently can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to funding. However, several options are available to students, including federal financial aid, private scholarships and grants, alternative loans, income-driven repayment plans, and work-study programs. Students should explore all of these options and determine which one is the best fit for their needs. With these tips, students can secure funding for graduate school, regardless of their credit score or the availability of a cosigner.