So you're thinking of going to college but can't depend on financial support from your parents. In this situation it may seem like financial constraints mean you'll never be able to achieve your goals. Indeed, with the average cost of attending an in-state public college in 2012-2013 reaching over $22,000, it's little wonder you're concerned!
Don't worry; as daunting as it may seem, there are still ways to pay for college and earn your degree.
At the end of the day, it is in a college's best interests to make college as affordable as possible for each of its students, otherwise classes would be half-full. With this in mind, most colleges offer a service that enables students to develop a personalized payment plan, providing financial assistance to those that qualify. In some cases, one-on-one financial assistance sessions are available to each student. During such sessions, the college's financial services team creates a personalized financial plan for the student, which may include a combination of grants, scholarships, loans and a personalized payment plan suited to the student's specific situation.
The goal of financial aid is to assist/aid the student in funding their education from a variety of sources. In the event that parents cannot, or do not want to, help, all is not lost! Funding your education can be comprised of a combination of sources, and scholarships are a great start. With scholarships, the sky is the limit. The more you apply for, the greater you increase your chances of receiving one. Scholarships can work. The beauty of scholarships is that many are created with varying purposes, such as aiding minorities or first generation college students. Others are offered by professional organizations or are occupation/industry-based, merit-based, academic-based, military affiliated, etc. The list just goes on and on!
Other financial sources may include employers. If a prospective student is currently employed, or chooses to seek employment while in school, many employers recognize the benefit of educated employees and typically offer some type of incentive or assistance. Be sure to check with your current employer or your desired employer for their education reimbursement policy.
Government organizations like Job Corps, California Conservation Corps, and Employee Development Department have resources, from organizations in the community to government resources, which serve as a hub of information for schooling, working and building life skills needed to survive. Additionally, community centers and non-profit organizations can assist in searching for and/or applying for resources designed to assist those wanting to pursue education or training. Seeking a life-coach or career counselor can also yield results in contributing to the funding of your education.
It is plain to see that financial backing from your parents is not the be-all and end-all for students aspiring to a college education; a view that is shared by Marcel Furnace, Financial Services Manager at Santa Barbara Business College who offer financial assistance for their LVN programs, amongst others.
He said: "Several times, prospective students have come to our school thinking they couldn't afford college - particularly without the help of their parents. But what they've found is that, with hard work and determination and our help navigating the financial process, college can be in their reach and they can afford it."