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6 Ways to Find Student Loans for Certificate Programs, and Other Funding Ideas
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In today’s challenging job market, having specialized skills is a hot commodity. If you want to switch careers, get a promotion or break into a competitive industry, certificate programs are a good idea. But paying for certification programs isn’t always easy, and you might have trouble tracking down certificate program student loans.
Whatever your approach, we’ve got you covered. Here are six ways you can pay for continuing education programs without wiping out your savings or running up credit card debt.
One of the best places to get financial assistance for certificate programs is through your current employer. Many companies offer tuition or education reimbursement for continuing education. That’s especially true if the program you’re looking at can help you improve or expand your skills for your current role.
For example, if you’re a programmer and want to learn Ruby On Rails to create web applications, that’s a big benefit to your boss. Even if your employer doesn’t have a formal tuition reimbursement program in place, it could be willing to cover your costs if you can make a good case.
Consider preparing a proposal for your manager that outlines what you intend to learn. Be sure to include what the cost is and how it will benefit your work and the company’s bottom line.
The government offers student loans and grants for some continuing education programs. Federal student loans tend to have lower interest rates and repayment terms than private student loans. This makes them an excellent choice for paying for certificate programs.
To get federal assistance, the first step is to complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if you graduated from college years ago, the FAFSA is essential for gaining access to financial aid for certificate programs.
Once you fill out the FAFSA, look for programs that are eligible for federal financial aid. One excellent resource is the National Center For Education Statistics’ College Navigator. You can search for certification programs in your field and find out which certificate program student loans or grants you’re eligible for.
Although private student loans don’t tend to be as flexible as federal ones, they can be a useful option for paying for certificate programs. The best private student loan lenders offer flexible repayment plans and competitive rates.
Plus, some offer extra perks, such as interest rate reductions or deferment in the case of financial hardship. Before choosing a lender, make sure to shop around and compare your options.
Not only will comparison shopping help you find your best offer, but it will ensure you’ve found a lender who’s willing to provide a student loan for your certificate program.
Another option to consider is a payment plan directly through your program’s school. Many boot camps and certificate programs offer flexible payment options.
For example, Bloc is one of the most well-respected computer and design coding boot camps out there. It offers payment plans that fit your individual needs. You have to contact them and share your budget with a student advisor, and they’ll come up with a plan that works for you.
While you’ll still need to come up with the money yourself, payment plans can help you manage your budget. Rather than coming up with the money all at once, you can pay your tuition in installments so you don’t have to wipe out your savings account.
If certificate program student loans aren’t an option and your employer won’t cover the cost of certificate programs, a personal loan could help. Personal loans tend to have lower interest rates than credit cards and set repayment terms, so you could save money in interest charges.
That said, some personal loans still come with high interest rates, which make them expensive and difficult to pay back. Before taking out a personal loan, make sure you can afford to pay back the principal amount, interest and any associated fees.
Since scholarships do not have to be repaid, they’re a valuable way to pay for school without racking up debt. Some schools, such as the FlatIron School, offer scholarships to help offset the tuition cost. But there are also thousands of other scholarships you could be eligible for that can help you pay for your education.
FastWeb and Scholarships.com are two useful resources that can connect adult learners with scholarship opportunities nationwide. You can find and apply for as many scholarships as you wish, as there is no limit to how many you can receive.
Paying for certificate and continuing education programs
Certificate programs can be a great way to advance your career with an affordable credential. Paying for continuing education programs and finding certificate program student loans can be complicated, but there are options that can reduce the financial burden.