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How To Find Financial Aid to Get a Graduate Degree or Certificate
Today’s post is written by Jennifer Lewis who writes for a website that provides more information on career development grants for women. She believes a lack of savings should not stop women from going back to school to further their career, as financial help is available to those who need it.
Has your boss suggested recently you should go back to school to receive further training, such as a certification or graduate degree? Have you considered returning to school to get an additional degree or certificate that would help you climb the corporate ladder, but think you just can’t afford the costs?
Well, think again! There are many ways to fund your graduate degree or certification program, but only if you know where to look.

How to Find Financial Aid for a Graduate Degree or Certification Program

Apply for Federal Help

Check out grants provided to by the United States Department of Education. Many of these are specifically designated for women who are seeking to upgrade work skills because they have been laid off or a company where they have been employed has moved to another location or closed.
Students who qualify may also receive some monetary relief through the Lifetime Learning tax credit now offered by the government. Programs such as the Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response Program, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program provide funding for training as well. The Senior Community Service Program can help older workers get trained in community service positions that allow them to move acquired skills into other jobs.

Check with Your Human Resource Office

If you are working for a large corporation, inquire about an employee tuition program. These programs may reimburse some if not all of college tuition costs, and just over $5,000 of this is not taxable as income. The only requirements for this money may be that the student maintains a certain grade point average or remain with the company for a certain period after receiving the funds.

Research Applicable Private Scholarships

The internet has made finding private scholarships much easier, but you must still be willing to work at completing the applications. The following are just a sampling of the hundreds of grants and scholarships available to working women:
  • Barry Goldwater Grant: If you have a great GPA, have completed your first two years of college and will be going into a math or science field of study, you should definitely apply for this grant, especially if you plan to continue onto a graduate program in the future.
  • The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting: This organization gives students working on an associates, bachelor or masters degree in an area of finance or accounting some monetary help based on merit and need.
  • Jeanette Rankin Foundation Grants: These funds are offered to women who have passed the age of 35 and wish to train in a technical or professional program. The scholarship is open to students working toward a two-year or bachelor’s degree and can show great financial need.
If none of the above sources are a perfect match, do not despair. It may take time, but scholarships and grants are out there in almost every career field. Check the web frequently and make periodic visits to a college financial aid office until you find the grants that will help you finish your education or career training.

Federal Help:

To find out what help the Federal Government can offer, women should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Other Scholarships to Consider:

  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Scholarships for Mature Women: If you have over 60 hours of college credit, are attending college for the first time and are over the age of 25, you can apply for these scholarships, which can be for several thousand dollars.
  • American Association of Women: If you are majoring in a male-dominated degree, such as math, computer science or engineering, you can score scholarships for $5,000 to $20,000.

Good luck! Do you have any other tips for finding financial aid for graduate degrees or certificate programs? How did you get financial help to return to school for career training?

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