Improve Your Financial Situation Through Education

It seems that some people loose hope and feel that they must stay in their current situations forever. Although it may not be easy, there always exist a way for people to improve their earning potential. Again, it could require self sacrifice, and less sleep sometimes, but these are some of the ways to increase your marketability.

Free/Low cost

Here are three ways to educate yourself that will only require your time, and maybe transportation cost:

  1. Your local library. Whatever your decision, your library is the best place to start. There you can find information on job markets, the process for getting certified to certain jobs and so forth. For a list of some ways your library can be a great place to visit check here. Your library will also have an array of books on just about any skill set. This will not only help you decide if you want to pursue that avenue, you may be able to glean enough information to gain an entry level position with demonstrated knowledge.
  2. The internet. The world wide web is choke full of information. There are literally thousands of sites with. Although you must validate the authority of the site, usually a .org, .gov, or .edu are sites that will give you accurate information. I have found free ebooks and tutorials on such things as HTML programming, internet marketing, how to run a saw mill, and the list goes on. Again, this information may not get you the job, but it may increase your chances if you are able to talk intelligently with the interviewer about their companies operations.
  3. Find a mentor. This is a great way to learn a particular skill. Find someone who is an expert in any field, and ask them to teach you. Now, never expect nor ask for anything for free; rather offer to volunteer to help them a couple hours a week, or even join their team and get on their payroll. There are many high demand jobs on the blue collar front that only require a demonstration of the skill. Welding, car repair, HVAC helper, and a few others.

Expense education/Ways to pay for it

This list are the some of the obvious (and not so obvious) ways to get an education by paying for it. We will also list some ideas on how to pay for these expenses. First we will start with the institutions.

College

There are basically three types of colleges in our area that we had to choose from:

  1. Private. This is by far the most expensive route to take when getting a higher education. Even though the universities where we are have programs in place to aid low income individuals with tuition, it is often the little expenses that make this choice not an option.
  2. State universities. Our state universities are around 60% cheaper than the private universities. Most will have financial aid programs in place if you live or graduated in their state. State universities are usually more apt to offer classes at varying hours for those who work. State universities normally offer more online classes. This is the best option for those who work full time or more, and have a family to take care of as well. These classes allow you to set your own schedule; however, it is imperative that you set a schedule and stick to it.
  3. Community colleges. This is the cheapest option in our area. If it has been a while since you have been in school, I recommend a community college for remedial courses to help bring you up to speed in the core curriculum areas. The cost is less, and they are a great help to those who just need to freshen up on the general subjects. Most community colleges offer and array of associates degrees that can be completed in two years or less. Even though these jobs may not pay the best, if it is an increase to where you are now it can always be used as a stepping stone to a higher degree. Our community college also has an agreement with the state colleges for a full transferability of college hours should you choose to pursue a four year degree.
  4. Technical schools. I will place these under this heading, but I honestly do not know much about them. It is my understanding that they offer career specific training. This would probably be a good option if you knew what you wanted to do, and the courses were offered. I knew a gentleman who loved to paint cars. He made decent money on his own, but by going to technical school he did not have to take the english and history that may be required in college, instead they focused entirely on his line of work. By completing these courses, he raised his hourly rate and was able to take on new business from insurance companies and such because of his certification.
Now we will review some of the ways to pay for this educaiton.
  1. Fill out a FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This type of aid can be used at both colleges and technical schools. The financial aid office at your school of choice will make the decision on some of you aid, so it is best to talk to them directly once you have filled this out and submitted the information to the.
  2. Your state programs. Again, some states have programs in place for residents or graduates in their state. The financial aid office will have more information on this as well.
  3. Check with your employer. Some companies will reimburse employees for college courses. Although some may reimburse the full amount, most will only do a percentage, and some will only pay on courses that relate to your line of work. Your companies HR office will have more information on this type of aid.
  4. Pay for it yourself. This is the least favorite, but sometimes only option available. One way to facilitate this is to start saving on expenses. Take the money that you save and apply it toward your education. Maybe you have a bad habit that you can stop and place the money in an account for college. Some schools have work programs that allow you to work twenty hour a week or so and apply part of your wage toward your bill.
  5. Scholarships. There are also many scholarships available. All have guidelines that have to be met, as well as deadlines. Check with the financial aid office for more details for your area and line of study.
The main thing is to do your research and pick the route that works best for you. Keep in mind that it is a long process, but the payoff will be worth it.
How did you pay for your education? Are you considering going back to school?

 

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