Any decision about post-secondary education includes the challenge of figuring out how to pay for it. Attending a trade school program such as those offered by RSI offers significant financial advantages over attending an academic four-year program. These advantages can be seen in the short term (your tuition costs will be lower) as well as in the long term (you will enter the work force two years sooner, and on average will enjoy close to the same lifetime earnings as a college graduate.) Financial aid is the catchall term used to describe the grants, loans and scholarships that students put together in order to pay for the costs of attending school.
Here’s a list of useful tips to help you get started in learning what resources are available to you:
1. Talk to your school’s financial aid specialists
Every reputable school will have a staff of people whose job it is to help students explore all the possible financial aid options that are open to them. RSI encourages all current and future students to contact its financial aid experts in order to learn more about the exact expenses involved in the vocational training program that they want to pursue. These financial aid counselors can also help students set a realistic budget for the time they are in school, and provide valuable advice about the likely cost of books, parking, and other miscellaneous expenses. The Financial Aid Department provides information on how to apply for grants, loans and scholarships, including the procedures for getting a federal PIN number. Finally, these advisers also help make sure they know about all the critical application deadlines.
2. Apply for federal financial aid
The U.S. government offers several different kinds of direct student loans, and they also offer grants (money you don’t havetswhoto repay) to qualify. In order to streamline the application process, the U.S. Department of Education has one single application that serves as a doorway to all the possible types of federal financial aid. This application is called the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and RSI offers helpful links at the How to Apply for Financial Aid page. Good consumer information is also available from the U.S. Department of Education.
3. Are you eligible for veterans’ benefits?
If you have served in the armed forces, you may have some special options open to you for funding your vocational training. Individual states offer their own educational benefits for veterans, in addition to those that are offered directly through the armed services. A good place to start checking on this is Military.com, which also has a map you can click on in order t available in your home state. RSI also offers financial assistance to current and former military members, as well as their dependents, through Military Tuition Pricing or scholarships.
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4. Can you fit a part-time job into your schedule?
Every student’s home situation is different,-time jobso the abilit varies for each individual. RSI welcomes students of all ages, and w aware that many of our students have family responsibilities to uphold. Our Financial Aid Department will discuss your class schedule, and help you develop an employment plan that takes your personal situation into account.
5. Private scholarships and other funding sources
In addition to federal financial aid, some scholarships are available to students attending vocational training programs. These can be searched for online as well as in printed annual listings, and RSI’s financial aid specialists your search.
6. Private bank loans to pay for school
It is also possible to take out loans from banks and other private lenders to fund your vocational training. Private loans vary greatly in their payment plans and interest rates, and they may require that you have a good credit record or a co- signer. It’s crucial to discuss any private loan with a knowledgeable financial aid advisor because you need to be perfectly clear about the agreement you are making. Some students use bank loans to cover the last few dollars of their annual needs, but caution is essential.
If you have decided that you want to continue your education by learning a trade, there is almost certainly a way to make it financially possible. As long as you read the fine print and approach financial aid with a clear understanding, you can make an informed investment in your future career.
*Financial Aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
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