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College Education Money - A Place You Haven't Looked?

Dec 12, 2007
You are going to college! Cool! Ready, Set, Study! Fun times ahead. But do you have your college education money all set aside, or do you have a plan for it?

The Overlooked Source of Cash
You probably already have a FAFSA all filled out, the government form to see if you qualify for federal student aid, and you may still need a few bucks to see the year through. That's great - but it is just the beginning. Make sure you fill out the form every year, it can really help, and if you find yourself in need of a student loan, you'll need it.

One large overlooked source of cash for college education come from employers. This field can get big fast since many large employers have several programs. To keep us focused, here are a couple of quick ones. At the end, I will mention a few more for you to look into.

Your Employment
Let's say you have a job, and you plan to stay for a while, maybe through next summer. Check with your company to see if your employment qualifies you for tuition assistance. Now be careful! Your supervisor may not be the best one to ask for a couple of reasons. First, does your supervisor want to see you leave for college and have to replace such a great worker? Second, knowing these policies may not be your supervisor's job. Try calling the benefits department.

I know, I had the same problem. My supervisor didn't know our company policy on education assistance. When I found it, I was thrilled: 100% tuition with a one year work commitment, and full time during school. The policy was great for me, and paid for all the rest of my graduate degree.

One other thing. The policy may not be called tuition assistance. It might be leadership development, continuing education, career enhancement, or some other euphemism.

This may sound radical, but if your company doesn't offer any education money benefit, think about finding one that does value college. Finishing school debt free and always knowing where your tuition comes from can really ease the stress.

Your Parents' Employment
Believe it or not, some companies and government agencies offer benefits to their employees children. The most obvious one you find at universities, where employee's children can usually attend for half off. My brother in law found a program that offered him full time work in the summers and full tuition and books during the school year, renewable every year for four years with a work commitment after he finished.

To be fair, most companies with a program like this may offer it to anyone who qualifies, so ask around at larger employers. Or get a full time job at the university yourself - and you get the reduced tuition.

Why do employers offer college education money programs like these? I mentioned above a work commitment after you finish. Also, happy employees make better workers.

A few other employer ideas to explore for college money:
- Employer scholarships (companies give away money!)
- Matching funds programs (you pay part, they match it)
- Setting up an education benefit in your family business (as a tax write off)
- Work release time, where you keep your job, but can miss work for classes and tests

If you don't have access to programs like these, don't give up. You can still find college education money. Loans work, and will get you through.

Happy hunting!
About the Author
Need more info on college education money? Come to The Money For College Now Blog and download a free ebook on financial aid.
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