Student loans for certificate program?
April 9, 2014 10:45 AM Subscribe
What options are available out there in regards to educational loans for certificate programs with a university?
posted by anonymous to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Very recently decided I'd apply for a certificate program with a deadline that is drawing pretty close. It is with a private university and depending on if I choose to attend for a semester or two the tuition and fees for the program will be between $13,000 or $30,000. I'm still deciding on whether or not I want to just go with one semester or two mainly because of the issue of cost. I'm mainly looking into what my options are in regards to funding this venture since a lot of things are up in the air at the moment (obviously, whether or not I'll even get accepted, or if I qualify for a scholarship and how much, if I can keep my current job on a part-time basis, etc.) and probably my decision to actually attend or not, even if I am accepted would depend largely on how much of a financial hit or debt I'm looking to take on.
I'm currently at a crossroads in my career where I feel like I'll have to drop out of my career path entirely or actually learn some skills that can help me move forward and make me more marketable in my field. This is where the certificate program comes in. I found out about it through a listserv and it deals with interests that align with what I'd like to explore for my current career path to make me more marketable as well as teach me skills I've been looking to hone.
I've spoken with my supervisor at work about this being a possibility in my future and we're still in discussion on whether or not I can stay on part-time with my job once I am accepted or if I will be leaving my job entirely (and what we can do about my position and what I want from it if I don't get accepted so that I feel I'm in a better position to move forward in my personal development like I want to). This is creating another wrinkle in my decision making process and trying to figure out what funds I have available. I do have some savings set aside, but the amount is just a little under $30k. Meaning depending on how my job situation works out, that is the amount of money I'd possibly have to rely on for living expenses, not just paying for this program. The course load is a full-time one, but my supervisor would like for me to stay on even part-time if possible.
I'm also applying for a scholarship through the program with the university, but I won't know how much I will receive until I am accepted.
So in the meantime, I'm wondering what options are out there for student loans for someone who will not be attending school full-time. I'm been in contact with the university back and forth, so this is a question that I'll probably bring up to her as well (though I have a feeling their answer is that they are offering scholarship as a possibility and that is their official "aid").
Since it's been a while since I've had to go back to school, I'm sort of out of the loop about securing funds for studying and I fully admit that I'm not knowledgeable at all about my options. I've tried searching around, even here, specially since I'm not sure how certification programs, and not actual undergrad or grad degrees, work when it comes to these things.
Most resources on financial aid seem to focus on people actually looking to go to school for a degree as opposed to a certificate (unless I'm missing something or the magical words or understanding of the system). Do I apply with FAFSA? Will I even hear back from them in time about any possible federal loans when the deadline/announcement process will be rolling out in the next month or two? Am I stuck with having to look for private loans? How would those work? I'm guessing private loans will have substantially higher interest rates than federal loans.
I understand this question might be hard to answer without knowing the school, but I'd definitely like a general idea of what my options are since I wouldn't want to just rely on the school for information.