Finding Financial Aid In An Ailing Economy

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: December 5, 2011

In the midst of a financial crisis, we often think of going back to school as a sound investment in our future. Not only can a college education help safeguard our employment, it can also significantly boost earning power by as much as 75 percent. Indeed, in a report from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau, individuals with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn $2.1 million over their adult working lives, while those with only a high school diploma can expect to earn $1.2 million.

But, like any investment, going back to school involves a financial commitment. And, a recession, combined with the rising cost of education, can make such an endeavor seem daunting. Faced with the prospect of losing their jobs, many adults feel that the long-term payoff of education does not justify the short-term costs.

One thing to keep in mind when considering going back to school is that an online education is both an economical and increasingly prominent way to earn a degree. Last year, there were over 5 million students enrolled in online courses in thousands of programs, ranging from business administration to criminal justice to education. Online education also offers the flexibility to study while working, parenting, or taking care of the multitude of tasks that consume our everyday lives. And, with the average tuition of an online university costing several thousand dollars less than that at a private 4-year institution, it’s simply a great deal.

Yet another thing to keep in mind when considering going back to school is that there are several resources online that can give you the financial support you need to take that step, from federal student loans and tuition reimbursement programs to outright scholarships. Resources such as OnlineStudentFinancialAid.com, an educational directory site that aggregates over 130 online institutions that connect you with millions of dollars in aid, are extremely helpful in guiding prospective students to schools that offer financial assistance.

Take, for example, Denise Browning of Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 1986, Browning has been promoted 6 times at her current job, but she has hit the glass ceiling without a college degree. Despite working for her employer for 22 years, she was recently overlooked and deemed "not qualified" for a promotion.

Browning applied for a full-ride college scholarship to go back to school through an online education advocacy campaign to help working moms afford the college degree they need to succeed for themselves and their children. With an online degree, she will be able to further fortify her position within the company and open herself up for career advancement.

Online courses can be a terrific way to pick up the education you need and still be able to juggle the many commitments of adult lives. Choose from the best online colleges, all offering financial assistance at http://www.onlinestudentfinancialaid.com. There could be a scholarship out there waiting for you.

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