Financial Aid Opportunities for Continuing Education

By Elizabeth Freeman , last updated January 9, 2012

Whether you need to take a few courses for work or wish to take a class for your own benefit, you may want to check out what opportunities are available to you for financial aid for continuing education. The financial aid you may receive depends on the type of continuing education program you enroll in, as well as your financial status and employment situation.

Scholarships

Depending on where you decide to continue your education, you may qualify for a scholarship to help fund it. Scholarships are usually given based on either merit or financial need. Check with the institution you are attending to see if you are eligible. Some scholarships are given for new job training or to people who are taking classes to help them start a business.

Loans

Private, not federal, loans may be given to finance your continuing education. You cannot get a federal loan for continuing education. You'll need to pass a credit check to qualify for a private student loan. You may need to be taking the class for credit, rather than for personal enrichment, to qualify for a private loan as well. The cost of private loans may be higher, in terms of interest, than federal loans.

Workforce Investment Act Grants

If you are taking continuing education courses to study for a new career after you have been laid off, you may qualify for a workforce investment act grants. The grant is only available for certain areas of study, such as paralegal courses and web design classes.

Employer Payments

Check with your employer to see if the company offers tuition reimbursement for continuing education classes. Some schools place further limitations on tuition reimbursement from employers, for example, if your employer will only pay if you finish the class, a school may not accept the payment or may require you to pay upfront. Depending on the situatuion, your school may bill your employer directly or bill you and have you collect money from your employer.

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