How To Finance a Non-Degree Program
April 15, 2011 6:17 AM   Subscribe

My sister wants to be a Speech-Language Pathologist, but is having trouble figuring out how to finance the program she wants to go into.

My 25-year old sister, who currently works as a nanny, lives in Florida and applied to attend an in-state postbaccalaurete certificate program in Speech-Language Pathology in hopes of then pursuing a master's degree in the same subject. The problem is financing the certificate program- because it's not a degree program, you aren't eligible for student loans. There are always bank loans, but those don't defer the way a student loan would. Surely other students run into this problem all the time- how do people deal with it?

Suggestions on programs in this subject as well as general career advice for my sister is welcome.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Education (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is she sure she's not eligible for student loans? From the Federal Student Aid web site, under "Am I Eligible":

You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.

Eligible Program
A program of organized instruction or study that leads to an academic, professional or vocational degree or certificate, or other recognized educational credential.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 6:34 AM on April 15, 2011

Response by poster: The financial aid office at the school told her she's not eligible for student loans for the postbaccalaurete certificate program.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:59 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm finishing up a postbac year in Speech Language Pathology. It, too, was a fee based program, but I was able to get Federal Direct Stafford Loans to pay for the program (I also dragged the program out over two years, and worked, but I don't recommend that, and had an AmeriCorps award from earlier service).

I applied for FAFSA right when I was applying to the program, and received word back from them about my award in mid-April. I was told it's extremely important to submit this applicaition as soon as possible, because as a postbac/fifth year senior, you are not a top priority for financial aid.

Is she talking to the financial aid office of the school, or the speech department itself? Because the department itself can't do anything, and she needs to go through the financial aid office.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 7:45 AM on April 15, 2011

General career advice: my sister and her colleagues absolutely love their jobs as Speech Pathologists (private, not public schools). More than anyone I've ever met. LOVE. Give her that advice when school starts to suck (cause it always does)
posted by sandmanwv at 8:29 AM on April 15, 2011

Also, I might add-- she talk to the master's programs first to figure out their requirements than just going straight to a certificate program. She could potentially save money by taking classes at community college, online, etc. It might be more work for her, but could potentially save boatloads of cash and not hurt her prospects that much.
posted by sandmanwv at 8:31 AM on April 15, 2011

I, too, received a Federal Direct (subsidized!) Stafford Loan for a postbac teaching certificate four years ago. The amount awarded was significantly less than what I received when I was in a master's program, but it was enough to live on. She should speak with someone else in the financial aid office. If they refuse to award her any financial aid, perhaps she should look into another school. Are online programs available? I have several friends who got teaching jobs after receiving their certificates from National U and U of Phoenix.

Is the certificate a prerequisite for admittance to the master's program? Maybe it's just a Florida thing, because I've been volunteering in the therapy departments of hospitals for several months now (California and Pennsylvania) and none of the speech therapists I've met have mentioned the certificate; they all have a master's.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:08 AM on April 15, 2011

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