When positive change occurs, sometimes, it is best to keep the momentum going, which is why you may be considering going back to school. Even if the change is unexpected, or less than ideal, in your effort to get things on the right track, you may consider secondary education. Whether you will be attending college for the first time, finally finishing up a degree, or returning to college for an entirely new degree—if you are 25 or older, you are considered a “nontraditional” student. Here are a few things you must consider from a financial standpoint.
Do you need a Financial Advisor?
Even if you only plan on taking a few classes, attending a vocational or trade school, or are looking into the often less expensive online options, going back to school is a significant financial commitment.
A financial advisor can help you to determine the financial factors you must consider. This includes whether to pay cash or consider applying for a student loan. A financial advisor can ensure you take full advantage of any life transitions that can improve your access to financing and grants, such as a recent divorce or paying for a child who is currently in college.
FAFSA has a new face for the nontraditional student.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has changed significantly over the years, and in most cases, for the better. Your income, savings, and assets will play a vital role in your eligibility—but loans aren’t your only consideration.
You may have the financial resources to pay for college, or may not qualify due to your income, but you should still complete the application. While you may not qualify for a loan, you may qualify for a scholarship or grant. Also, consider independent scholarships and grants awarded directly from the school you are considering, or grants created specifically for your demographic. Finally, check with your employer regarding tuition reimbursement. The more money you don’t have to pay back, the better!
What does your budget look like?
Many adults who return to school switch to a part-time job, transition to a less demanding position, or go all-in and quit their job. This can create a significant financial strain, especially if you have children. Even if you are working full-time while obtaining your new degree, school supplies and tuition are significant expenses.
Since it has likely been a while since you have lived as a cash-strapped student, now is the ideal time to rethink your budget. This may require you to cut back, but the good news is it won’t last forever—and your degree is likely to boost your earning potential. A trusted financial advisor can help you prioritize your budget, and find more ways to maximize your income and savings.
If you would like to go back to school but have not pursued your goal for financial reasons—we should talk. There will be at least a few avenues you should explore before giving up on your dreams. You’ve waited long enough, so let’s work together to get you back in the classroom, and on your way to your dream degree!
Linden Oak Wealth Partners offers fee-only financial advising customized for women, in particular, women in transition. Our goal is to create an environment where financial planning is efficient, simplified and easy to understand. We want clients to feel empowered and engaged every step of the way. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation today.
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