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Seven Ways to Afford the Degree You’ve Always Wanted

The key, of course, is figuring out how to afford to go back to school today, so that you can enjoy all of those benefits tomorrow. Here are seven possible ways to help you do just that.

  1. Financial Aid
    Financial aid is of course the most common and well-known way to pay for college. Many adults mistakenly think that financial aid is not available to continuing education students taking classes part-time, at night or online, but that’s simply not the case. At Providence College’s School of Continuing Education (PCSCE), students simply must be enrolled in a degree, TCP or Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Professions certificate program and take at least six credits per semester to qualify for financial aid. To see what types of financial aid you qualify for and how much, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to the semester in which you’d like to attend. Further information is available on PCSCE’s financial aid website.​
  2. Scholarships
    As with financial aid, sometimes continuing education students don’t realize that there are scholarships available to them as well. In fact, there are scholarships offered exclusively for adult learners by the College. You can see a complete list and get more information on PCSCE’s Scholarships page.​
  3. Transfer Credits and Credit for Prior Learning 
    If you’ve taken some college courses in the past, you may be able to apply those prior credits toward your certificate or degree. That of course could lessen the total cost of your education significantly. You can transfer up to 75 credits toward a bachelor’s degree, 36 toward an associate’s degree and three toward a certificate – no matter how long ago they were earned.
    If you’ve gained substantial knowledge on the job, in the military or through other means, you may be eligible to receive credit for prior learning.
    To learn more, see PCSCE’s Transfer Credit page.​
  4. Tax Benefits 
    The federal government provides a number of tax incentives that can help defray the cost of higher education, including Tax Credits, which directly reduce the amount of tax you are liable for, and Tax Deductions, which reduce the amount of income on which you pay taxes. The IRS provides a guide​​ to help you understand your options.
  5. Employer Tuition Assistance
    Many companies and organizations offer tuition assistance/reimbursement. Your employer may provide up to $5,250 in employer education assistance benefits tax-free each year, per section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code. Check with your company’s Human Resources office for more information.
  6. ​Military Education Benefits
    Active members of the military and veterans, as well as their dependents in some cases, may qualify for assistance through the VA’s Post-9/11 GI Bill or other tuition assistance programs. These programs can help with the cost of tuition as well as housing, books and supplies. PCSCE partners with the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs in support of these programs. We are also a designated Military Friendly school. You can learn more on our VA Benefits page.​
  7. Find a School That Offers an Excellent Education at a Great Value
    Whatever options you choose to pursue to finance your education, it makes sense to choose wisely when deciding which school to attend. Spend some time learning about and comparing a number of schools, from their programs and course offerings to their costs (including fees that are in addition to tuition) to find an excellent school at a great value.Providence College has a nationally recognized reputation for the quality of education it provides. Because of this, many people assume it must be expensive. But PCSCE is actually more affordable than both the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College in most cases. That means you can get an excellent education, complemented by a stellar reputation, for an incredible value.Clearly, there are many options available to help make it possible for you to earn your degree. The only problem you may be struggling with now is how to sort through them all. Luckily, there’s help for that too. Simply speak to a PCSCE adviser, who can walk you through the entire process and help you determine which programs are right for you.​

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