Financing

Paying for community college can be overwhelming. Use the tools, resources and tips within this section to help you finance your education. From student loans to scholarships, we’ll cover the most common financial aid options available to community college students. Get money saving tips, learn more about Pell grants, and explore the federal work-study program.
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As workers face a bleak economy with high rates of layoffs and low rates of new employment, President Obama has initiated new plans to help workers become more educated to compete in the job market. 
 
In fact, in Obama’s recent 2009-2010 budget proposal, he clearly made college education a focal point for the improvement and success of the United States. Titling this budget proposal “A New Era of Responsibility,” Obama is seeking to provide students with additional financial aid support through both student loan programs and Pell Grant programs. With this approach, current and future college students may be able to save money while preparing for their futures.
 
An Increase in Aid
 
Through the proposal, President Obama asserts that the path to an enhanced economy and society is achieved through education.  As the document states, college should be more properly funded and supported to, “Make sure that we have a highly-educated workforce and that the opportunity to go to college is not determined by how much money you have.” 
 
To allow all individuals, regardless of income, to gain access to higher education opportunities, Obama’s proposal to increase student loan and Pell Grant financial aid support should stimulate an almost immediate benefit.  Essentially, the 2009-2010 budget proposal allows for an increase in the maximum Pell Grant amount for each student.  Currently, the Pell Grant maximum was capped at $4,731 per person; Obama has proposed to raise this maximum to $5,350 per person.   
 
In addition to boosting the provisions for Pell Grants, Obama . . . read more

As individuals across the country struggle to cope with layoffs in a dwindling economy, many workers are finding that their once-desirable resume is no longer up to par in the fiercely competitive job market.
 
As a result, many states are offering laid off workers free community college tuition!  Specifically, states such as Kentucky, Oregon, and Michigan are all seeking to stimulate their community’s knowledge and job application appeal by providing free classes and affordable tuition to workers in need. Depending on each school’s programs, laid off employees can either benefit from completely free tuition or significant tuition discounts.
 
 
According to reports from The Business Courier, Kentucky Community College (KCC) and Kentucky Community Technical College System are offering extra tuition support to Kentucky residents who have recently encountered job loss. 
 
Set into motion with the support of Governor Steve Beshear, Kentucky community schools now offer a “Career Transitions Program,” where newly laid-off students are provided with a 50 percent tuition reduction for up to 6 credit hours each semester.  Providing this incredible discount at 16 various Kentucky community colleges, students who have been laid off can utilize this discount for a full year of education or training.  Additionally, this program is also designed to help provide newly laid-off individuals with personal support to navigate the process for financial aid or student loans. 
 
The main goal of this program is to provide high quality, low cost and convenient education and training to individuals who are struggling to . . . read more

During times of political change, economic uncertainty, and fluctuating levels of job security, students of all ages are facing an array of personal and academic pressures. Many community college students and applicants are trying to cope with the mounting educational costs paired with added stresses of job loss, reduced wages, or soaring costs of living. 
  
As many college applicants are struggling to find ways to pay for higher education expenses during economic tumultuousness, community college leaders across the country are seeking out new forms of financial aid to provide students with a greater scaffold of fiscal support.    
 
Recent Financial Aid Reforms
 
In just the past several years, enormous changes have been made to the federal financial aid program, as struggling college students expressed with rising voices the difficulty of paying for the costs of college with limited access to money or means. 
 
According to Art Hauptman from the Progressive Policy Institute, there was an initial jump-start to increasing federal student aid funding in 2005, when former President Bush renewed the “Higher Education Act.” With this act, the President proposed an increase to the Pell grant of $500 over the course of five subsequent years. As Pell grants were initially created to raise educational aspirations of socially and economically struggling Americans, many believe that the Pell grant increase would stimulate a boost in college accessibility and enrollment. Despite this positive reform, however, Hauptman asserts that additional revisions must be put into action. As Hauptman further asserts, political and school leaders should usher in . . . read more

Due to the financial challenges incoming students face, many local and state leaders are advocating for tuition-free community college programs. As community colleges strive to provide local residents with programs for certification, degrees, and training, many community leaders argue that tuition-free programs will help students to more effectively prepare for the job market without being subjected to excessive educational costs during difficult economic times.
 
The Tuition-Free Debate
 
As Diverse Community College reveals in their investigation, the county majors of both Knoxville and Memphis assert that residents of their communities should have access to free public education at local community colleges. Mayors A.C. Wharton and Mike Ragsdale of local Tennessee counties argue that, in utilizing the resources of scholarships and grants that are currently available, local community colleges can shift their current programs to create tuition free pathways for incoming and current students. As Tennessee, along with most states across the country, are struggling with job losses and a struggling economy, Wharton argues that the shift for tuition-free programs is Tennessee’s attempt at creating a more effective and prepared work force: “‘We want to blast our way into being able to produce a world-class work force. You can't do that with merely a high school diploma.’”
 
By collaborating with community college and local political leaders, the Tennessee mayors are working to establish a proposal that will provide residents with tuition-free access to higher education. As the leaders describe, “The community college program, as envisioned, would provide public and . . . read more

Many community college students juggle various personal responsibilities along with their academic requirements. Specifically, many community college students have young children and families to care for and support. Recognizing the importance of family and the lack of quality, affordable childcare in some cities, community colleges are implementing programs to offer support for their student-parents.
 
Community Colleges and Financial Support
 
Many state and local governments provide student-parents with financial aid, grants, and support, depending upon each student’s needs and family dynamic. For example, students at Wake Tech Community College can apply for the Childcare Grant. To be eligible, student-parents must demonstrate high financial need and be able to qualify for the federal Pell Grant. Additionally, they must be a single parent or a stay-at-home parent who is returning to school.


If awarded the grant, the student-parent will receive $650 per month to pay for childcare services. To maintain eligibility, student-parents must adhere to the following regulations:

 

  • Maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be eligible for the Pell Grant.
  • Must be enrolled in a degree, diploma, or transfer credit program.
  • Submit monthly attendance sheets documenting class attendance.

 


By following these guidelines, students can focus on their coursework and not have to worry about the financial strain of paying for childcare.
 
Am I Eligible for the Childcare Grant?
 
As Wake Tech explains, “Funds for the Childcare Grant are limited and eligibility standards will be strictly observed. Students with the greatest need will . . . read more
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Financing

Financing Basics

Build the foundation needed to navigate the community college financial aid system. Learn which schools are the most affordable, get money tips on reducing college costs, and explore the latest initiatives to make community colleges even more accessible.

Tuition

This section will help you prepare for the costs of attending community college and any future increases. Explore pricing plans, learn where you may be able to attend community college tuition-free, and examine the latest initiatives to make higher education more affordable.

Financial Aid

Our articles will provide you with the tools and resources needed to make sure you are qualifying for all the financial aid available, as well as maintaining your aid throughout your college career. Get the latest news on student loan interest rates, learn what to do when your financial aid is late, and explore all of your financial aid options.

Saving Money

This section is full of money saving tips for community college students. From free textbooks to finding affordable childcare, we’ll provide you with a wealth of information on keeping college affordable.

Grants & Scholarships

There's nothing better than free money, and these articles can help you get grants and scholarships for your community college education. Acquire information on Pell grants and why you should take advantage of them, learn how you can earn money through community college writing and get the latest news on scholarships and funding.