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Going Back to College: Frequently Asked Questions
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I Don't Think I Can Afford College or Won't Be Able to Work and Attend Class at the Same Time.
Adult students have many options for financing their degree along with increasing academic flexibility. A first step is to visit the colleges or universities you are interested in attending and request a college catalog. Often classes are scheduled that enable students to attend classes at night and on the weekends, or programs are offered in accelerated format. Many colleges also offer programs via broadcast television, the Internet, multi-media, and video conferencing. (Please see Degree Programs for a directory of degree programs, traditional and distance.)

For help with tuition costs, many companies have tuition assistance programs or special scholarships for employees. To maximize your chances for aid, visit the financial aid office of your college to find out what grants, scholarships, low interest loans, co-operative education programs, tuition payment plans, and work-study opportunities are available. You can also research scholarships in libraries or through scholarship search services on the Internet, and take advantage of education tax credits such as the Hope Scholarship Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. We have compiled a special report on associations, organizations and programs that especially assist the adult returning to college. Visit our Financial Aid section for more information about these resources and options. Some great tips on time management are also available.

What is the G.E.D.? If I Only Have My G.E.D. Can I Still Attend College? Where Can I Find my G.E.D. Transcripts?
The G.E.D., or General Education Development Test, certifies that the student has attained high school-level academic skills. 97 percent of colleges accept a G.E.D. diploma as equivalent to a high school diploma for admission purposes. For information on getting your G.E.D. or high school diploma, see Adult Education.

Need to find your G.E.D. transcripts? Information is available from the General Educational Development Testing Service.

Can I Attend College Part-time, or Do I Have to Go Full-time to Get Financial Aid?
There is no minimum course load; you can register for as many or as few classes as you like. Part-time students are also available for financial aid (however, the amount awarded depends upon the number of units being taken.)

I Doubt I Qualify for Financial Aid. Should I Still Apply?
Yes, you should! Never assume you don't qualify for financial aid. Many adult students believe they don't qualify and miss out on many sources of aid, including grants and low interest loans that are offered regardless of grade point average, financial need, or credit history. Most federal and state aid programs don't have age limits, although some scholarship programs might. For financial aid based on low income, all that is necessary is to demonstrate financial need, and some of the most eligible students are single parents. Also, it isn't necessary to be admitted to a college or university before you can apply for financial aid. Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as soon as possible after January 1 (don't wait until you complete your tax return, but use estimates of income.) Any errors can be corrected later, and most states need to receive the FAFSA by March 1 to qualify for state aid. (For information on how to apply for financial aid, or obtain and complete the FAFSA online, visit our Financial Aid section.)


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