Continuing your education as an older adult poses a unique set of challenges. One challenge is figuring out how you are going to pay for your education. Check out some ways you can pay for your education as an older student.
1. See Whether Your Employer Offers Tuition Reimbursement
If you are currently employed, see whether your employer offers tuition reimbursement. Many major employers have this benefit, though it does come with some stipulations. Most likely, you will receive reimbursement for only a portion of your educational expenses. You may be required to repay the funds if you leave the company within a specified period of receiving the reimbursement.
Other employers may have restrictions concerning what educational programs you can receive reimbursement for. They may require that you obtain a certain grade in order to be reimbursed.
2. Take Advantage of Education Credits and Deductions on Your Taxes
As of the 2016 tax year, taxpayers have the ability to take a credit or deduction on their taxes for qualified educational expenses. Since you cannot take an educational credit and deduction in the same tax year, it makes sense to consult with a tax professional to see which option saves you the most money on your taxes.
Currently, you can deduct up to $4,000 on your taxes for qualified expenses. You do not have to itemize your taxes in order to receive this deduction.
The alternative to the tuition deduction is an educational credit. There are presently two possible credits you can take: the American opportunity credit and the lifelong learning credit. You can only claim one credit in a tax year. How much you save varies based on your educational expenses and which credit you are qualified to take.
You can only take the American opportunity credit for your first four years of higher education; after this point, you may be eligible to take the lifelong learning credit.
3. Fill Out the FAFSA for Government and Institutional Aid
It is essential to fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) so that you are eligible for federal and institutional aid. Once you fill out the FAFSA, you'll receive a number known as your expected family contribution (EFC). Your EFC determines in part what type of aid you may receive.
Types of aid include student loans, scholarships, grants, and admittance to a work-study program. Loans must be repaid, but grants and student loans do not require repayment.
If you decide to participate in a work-study program, you'll work on campus in a position to earn money for your tuition. These positions are usually fairly easy to fill and give students the chance to study while they work.
Talk to a school like Career Institute of Technology to learn more.