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Why Get A College Degree?
|National Unemployment Rate||Education Level||National Median Earnings|
|3.8%||Some College, No Degree||$35,500|
|4.4%||High School Diploma||$31,400|
|7.1%||Less Than High School Diploma||$22,250|
|Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey.|
A college degree will give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace and provide you the skills and knowledge valued by employers in business, government and organizations.
If you walk around a college campus, you may be surprised to find that many students are older than the traditional 18-22 year old. According to the Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics, adults 25 and over made up about 40 percent of college students in 2005 and will grow to nearly 7.8 million by 2014.
Other benefits of a college degree include:
- Boosting your job search success.
- Equipping you for better opportunities for promotion.
- Developing an enriched knowledge base and new perspective for work and life.
- Opening doors to further advanced education opportunities, such as obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
How Can I Pay For College?
Tennessee’s public colleges and universities continue to be among the most affordable in the nation. And, despite some common misconceptions, financial aid is available for adults returning to college or entering college for the first time. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. In addition to government-supported aid, many businesses provide tuition reimbursement programs to their employees.
The first step in applying for student financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a form required to apply for financial aid. Forms are available at college or university financial aid offices or online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Once your FAFSA has been filed, here are some suggestions for helping fund your college education:
The U.S. Department of Education suggests:
- Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation - TSAC provides grant money to students based on their income and financial need.
- Students.gov - Students.gov provides information on scholarships, grants, and student loans.
- Department of Veteran Affairs - The DVA provides benefits to veterans, servicemembers, and some dependents of disabled or deceased veterans wishing to pursue an education.
- AmeriCorps - AmeriCorps allows people of all ages and backgrounds to earn educational awards in exchange for a year of community service.
Other helpful sites include:
Check with the financial aid office at the college or university you’re interested in attending to see about other financial aid options. There are also numerous Web sites on the Internet that will point you in the right direction. Here are a few free and helpful sites for financial aid:
- CollegePays.com - Your source for information about financing your college education in the state of Tennessee!
- Funding Education Beyond High School - a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education.
- FinAid! - This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools -- on or off the web.
- Easyaid.com – TN Financial Aid - Easyaid.com has the information you need to find the funds for school
|Be very leery about Web sites that charge for information about student financial aid!|
Loans should only be used as a last resort after you have exhausted other avenues of financial aid. For more information about student loans, visit the Tennessee Guaranteed Student Loan Program at http://oedb.org/loan/tennessee.
You may also qualify for certain federal tax credits or deductions for some of your college expenses. To learn more, check out IRS Publication 970, “Tax Benefits for Education,” or visit www.irs.gov/publications.
Valuable Tennessee Specific Web Links
- Chattanooga State Community College
- Cleveland State Community College
- Columbia State Community College
- Dyersburg State Community College
- Jackson State Community College
- Motlow State Community College
- Nashville State Community College
- Northeast State Community College
- Pellissippi State Community College
- Roane State Community College
- Southwest State Community College
- Volunteer State Community College
- Walters State