Free community college in the U.S. is starting to become a reality. As of April 2019, 24 states have signed into law versions of â€śCollege Promiseâ€ť programs or state-funded scholarships and grants aimed at delivering subsidized higher education to their residents. This number is expected to grow in the coming year as other states have begun pushing for legislation. Numerous cities across the U.S. have also taken notice, enacting localized scholarships that cover the costs of two-year college programs.
While the past few years have proven to be monumental for the College Promise cause, this is a movement that has been long in the making:
With student debt now exceeding $1.5 trillion, some 2020 presidential candidates are proposing some form of free higher education, including free community college. Here are where some of the candidates stand:
So far, 24 states have created different versions of state-funded programs to help residents pay for higher education.
In recent years, there has been a significant push to make Americaâ€™s public colleges tuition-free.
The Campaign for Free College Tuition was established in 2014 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It is a bipartisan group that works with elected officials, leaders and policy experts to make public colleges tuition-free.
In addition, President Barack Obama proposed the College Promise National Advisory Board in 2015, which pushed for offering two years of community college tuition-free. This proposal was expanded with the Americaâ€™s College Promise Act of 2015, which would have awarded federal-state partnership grants to states that waive tuition and fees for students wanting to attend community college. While this bill did not pass, several states have gone on to make college tuition-free in their states without federal assistance.
While every state program is different, each is helping students ease the burden of college debt and gain access to higher education.
Arkansas created the Arkansas Future Grant (ARFuture Grant) in 2017 to help Arkansas residents cover the costs of tuition and fees at Arkansas community colleges and technical schools. The program is designed to boost higher education in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields, as well as fields of study in demand locally. Students must be enrolled in a qualifying degree program in order to receive the grant and stay in state for three years upon completion of the program.
In order to receive the ARFuture Grant, students must:
ArFuture is a last-dollar (meaning it can only be used after other financial aid is exhausted) state grant that covers tuition, fees and charges for eligible students after theyâ€™ve exhausted other forms of financial aid (private scholarships, federal financial aid, state-sponsored aid). The grant is awarded on a first come, first served basis and can be used by students for up to five semesters at an approved Arkansas college.
If students are enrolled at an approved four-year college, the grant might not cover all tuition and fees, since students will be awarded the average cost at approved two-year colleges.
Upon graduation, students must commit to working in Arkansas for three consecutive years and find employment within six months of graduating.
A few things to keep in mind when pursuing an ARFuture Grant:
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California College Promise Grant into law in October 2017. This program aims at making the first year of community college tuition-free for eligible students. The program builds on a previous college promise initiative, the Board of Governors Fee Waiver, which aimed at providing low-income students a pathway to community college with no tuition or fees. The California College Promise has expanded on this by allocating $46 million toward helping California residents receive tuition-free community college and achieve successful outcomes.
To be eligible* for the California College Promise Grant, students must:
*Eligibility requirements may differ by California district.
The California College Promise Grant aims to cover enrollment fees for the first year of community college. The plan waives the $46 per-unit fee for enrolling at any of Californiaâ€™s 114 community colleges. It is a first-dollar award, meaning students can use it regardless of any additional forms of financial aid they might receive.
In order to be eligible to receive a California College Promise Grant, students and their families should note:
The Delaware Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) scholarship program was created in 2005. This last-dollar program (meaning it can only be used after other financial aid is exhausted) helps eligible students seeking an associate degree at the Delaware Technical Community College or the University of Delawareâ€™s Associate in Arts program receive reduced or tuition-free higher education. The state has gone on to create the Inspire scholarship for eligible students attending Delaware State University.
In order to receive a SEED scholarship, students must:
Inspire scholarships are awarded to students attending Delaware State University who fulfill the above criteria and:
The SEED scholarship aims to cover all tuition costs that other forms of financial aid do not. The scholarship does not pay for fees and books, and it is only applicable to students pursuing associate degrees from Delaware Technical Community College or the University of Delawareâ€™s Associate in Arts program.
The Inspire scholarship provides eligible students up to approximately $3,900 per year toward tuition at Delaware State University. This scholarship can extend up to eight semesters. Like SEED, this is a last-dollar scholarship that covers the remaining tuition after other financial is exhausted, and it canâ€™t cover non-tuition costs.
Itâ€™s important to keep a few things in mind when considering the Delaware SEED or Inspire programs:
The Hawaii Promise was signed into law in 2017 by Gov. David Ige. The legislation appropriated $1.8 million to providing eligible Hawaii residents free tuition at seven University of Hawaiâ€™i Community Colleges. The program is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will provide financial assistance only after other financial aid and scholarships have been applied.
In order to be eligible for the Hawaii Promise, applicants must:
The Hawaii Promise is a needs-based, last-dollar scholarship that covers in-state tuition at the University of Hawaii Community Colleges. Students who qualify will receive financial aid that covers direct educational costs. This includes: tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation. For the 2017-2018 year, the average award was $1,200.
When applying for the Hawaii Promise scholarship, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Established in 2015, Idahoâ€™s Direct Admissions program provides a pathway for high school seniors to be accepted to eligible Idaho colleges and universities without applying to them. The state program uses GPA and SAT/ACT scores to assure incoming freshmen seats at eligible institutions.
The state has additionally created the Opportunity Scholarship, which is a needs-based scholarship for eligible Idaho residents that can be renewed for up to four years. Idahoans may see broader tuition assistance in the future. Some Idaho lawmakers are proposing an Idaho Promise program, similar to other states, which would provide free tuition to all residents seeking a certificate or associate degree at Idahoâ€™s community colleges, regardless of income or age.
While the Direct Admissions program automatically sends letters out to high school seniors notifying them theyâ€™ve been accepted into the program, the Opportunity Scholarship does have some eligibility requirements. Applicants must:
The Opportunity Scholarship awards eligible applicants up to $3,500 per year and is renewable for up to four years. Recipients must renew each year to continue to receive the scholarship. Money can be spent on education costs, which include tuition, fees, books and other reasonable expenses related to college attendance.
Itâ€™s important to note that in order to continue to renew an Opportunity Scholarship, students must:
Indianaâ€™s Workforce Ready Grant helps students pay tuition and mandatory fees for eligible high-value programs at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University and other certificate providers. The definition of â€śhigh-valueâ€ť is based on employer demand, wages and industries whose workers are in high demand throughout Indiana. These are currently:
In order to qualify for the Indiana Workforce Ready Grant, prospective students must:
The Workforce Ready Grant covers two years of tuition and fees after other financial aid has been applied at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University and other approved providers. While the grant counts toward all required credits of a qualifying program, it does not cover courses that fall outside of the designated program curriculum. It also doesnâ€™t cover any extra program-specific costs and equipment.
Keep in mind when considering applying for the Indiana Workforce Ready Grant:
Gov. Matt Bevin signed the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) into law in December 2016. This state-based, last-dollar scholarship (meaning it can only be used after other financial aid is exhausted) helps Kentucky residents earn an associate degree in five approved fields of study: health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation/logistics, construction and business services/information technology. Find a full list of programs here.
To qualify for WRKS, applicants must meet certain criteria:
The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship covers eligible studentâ€™s tuition and fees after federal and state financial aid, grants and scholarships have been exhausted. It can be used to cover four semesters (or 60 credit hours) at any one of the 16 approved colleges across Kentucky. Of the five designated fields of study the scholarship applies toward, there are more than 350 programs potential students can apply to. Funding for WRKS is awarded on a first come, first served basis to applicants.
Louisianaâ€™s Taylor Plan has been around since 1989, but it was renamed the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students in 2008 by Gov. Bobby Jindal. TOPS is a scholarship funded by the state that can cover up to four years of college tuition at the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (LAICU). There are currently four types of TOPS scholarships, each with its own award amounts, eligibility and renewal requirements:
While all four Louisiana TOPS scholarships have individually specific requirements for eligibility, they all share a few conditions:
The Louisiana TOPS scholarship award amounts differ depending on which program a student qualifies for. The TOPS scholarship can be used in conjunction with other types of financial aid and scholarships, up to the cost of attendance, which includes not only tuition and fees but room and board, books and other expenses. Awards are paid directly to the college or university being attended, and any funds left over are disbursed to students. Eligible students can receive the award for up to eight semesters.
For the 2018-2019 school year, the award amounts are:
*TOPS Tech Awards depend on the institution or program a student is attending.
When applying to the TOPS program, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Maryland residents can receive up to $5,000 toward their community college tuition with the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship. This program was signed into law in 2018 in an effort to give low-income families a pathway to higher education.
To qualify for the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, students must:
This scholarship pays for up to $5,000 of the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at any Maryland public community college. Since it is a last-dollar scholarship, it only kicks in after other forms of financial aid have been applied.
When applying to this College Promise scholarship, keep in mind:
Michiganâ€™s Kalamazoo Promise program was expanded on in 2017 by Gov. Rick Snyder to increase the Promise Zones from 10 to 15 (although there are currently only 11 active zones). These Promise Zones award scholarships to high school graduates living within them.
Through a combination of Promise Zone scholarships, Pell Grants and other needs-based awards, Michigan offers students a pathway toward â€śtuition-freeâ€ť college.
In order to receive a Promise Zone scholarship, students must:
Each of the 11 active Michigan Promise Zones has its own eligibility requirements for students.
Every Promise Zone sets its own scholarship awards in terms of dollar amounts and which institutions scholarships can be used. However, all Promise Zones aim to provide every eligible student a tuition-free pathway to an associate degree. Some zones also extend these awards to bachelorâ€™s degree programs or technical schools.
Since every Promise Zone creates its own eligibility requirements, make sure to research thoroughly what students are responsible for and what they must achieve to continue to receive the scholarship.
The Missouri A+ Scholarship program awards last-dollar scholarships (meaning students must exhaust other forms of scholarships and financial aid first) to students from designated A+ high schools. Eligible students receive scholarships toward participating community colleges and vocational schools throughout Missouri.
In order to be a part of the Missouri A+ program, students must:
The Missouri A+ Scholarship will reimburse all tuition and general fees for eligible students after all forms of non-loan financial aid have been applied. Students must fill out a FAFSA every year in order to receive as much financial aid as possible before the A+ scholarship kicks in.
The state also sets a published standard per-credit tuition rate each year, which is the maximum students will be refunded. The 2018-2019 rate is $170.75 per credit-hour or $4.60 per clock-hour.
Students are eligible to receive the scholarship for a maximum of 48 months after high school graduation, until an associate degree is received or theyâ€™ve completed 105% of the hours required for their program of study.
A few things to keep in mind when applying for the Missouri A+ Scholarship:
The Montana Promise grant was created in 2017 for state residents attending two-year programs.
In order to qualify, students must:
Recipients of the Montana Promise grant will receive funds covering tuition after all other forms of financial aid have been exhausted. A student may only receive the Montana Promise grant for two years, and they must meet the academic and community service requirements each semester.
Enacted in 2017 by the Nevada legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandovol, the Nevada Promise Scholarship is a last-dollar scholarship (that is, it will cover costs after other financial aid is exhausted). It provides Nevada residents with financial aid toward any of the stateâ€™s four community colleges.
To be eligible for the Nevada Promise Scholarship, applicants must:
The Nevada Promise Scholarship covers up to three years of tuition and mandatory fees to any of Nevadaâ€™s four community colleges. Since it is a last-dollar scholarship, students must first exhaust other forms of financial aid (grants, not loans), including federal Pell Grants, Silver State Opportunity Grants (SSOG) or the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship (GGMS). While the scholarship does cover mandatory fees and tuition, it does not cover the cost of books, meal plans, transportation or school supplies.
There are a few things to keep in mind when applying for the Nevada Promise Scholarship:
The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship will pay a portion of eligible studentsâ€™ tuition up to the completion of an undergraduate degree. The amount covered by the scholarship varies depending on the institution. This program was started in 1996 and has since helped more than 122,000 students attend New Mexico public colleges, universities and technical colleges.
In order to qualify for the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship, students must:
This scholarship covers a portion of tuition and does not cover other fees or course materials. How much students receive is determined by the institution to which they apply and the funds available.
In order to receive this scholarship, students must first enroll in a qualifying New Mexico university and have completed their first semester. It is then renewed on a per-semester basis if the eligibility criteria are met. Recipients of the scholarship can get up to seven semesters of funding at a four-year school or three semesters at a community college.
New Mexico also offers a Bridge Scholarship to help cover the costs of tuition for the first semester, prior to joining the lottery program. Bridge Scholarships are offered to New Mexico residents who have graduated from a state public high school or accredited private school, and they are only available to students in the first semester of college.
If applying for the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, itâ€™s important to note:
New Jersey launched a Debt-Free Promise Program through New Jersey City University in 2016. This program letâ€™s incoming freshmen students with families earning less than $60,000 receive a scholarship instead of having to take out a loan.
In order to qualify for the Debt-Free Promise Program, students must:
Under the Debt-Free Promise Program, qualified students are given a scholarship that covers tuition and fees. This is a last-dollar program, meaning that students must first exhaust other federal and state financial aid before the scholarship kicks in. As of 2018, the program has been expanded to help cover the cost of books by offering a grant of $250 per semester for textbooks.
Itâ€™s important to note a few things before applying to the Debt-Free Promise Program:
New York made history in April 2017 when the Excelsior Scholarship was signed into law. The program, which was originally proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January 2017, promises free tuition for in-state students attending two- or four-year colleges within the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems. This was the first College Promise program of its size and scope in the U.S., and it encompasses both four-year universities and community colleges within the state.
To qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship in New York, applicants must:
The Excelsior Scholarship is a last-dollar program, meaning students must first exhaust federal and state resources, scholarships and grants before the program kicks in. Students are awarded up to $5,500 for tuition and fees, minus any dollars received from Pell Grants, New Yorkâ€™s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) or other scholarship awards.
Students who qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship will have their tuition covered at SUNY and CUNY schools via a credit, which goes directly to the institution and covers any remaining costs. It does not provide financial assistance for books, housing or transportation.
The 2016 North Carolina Promise plan reduces tuition rates for eligible recipients at Elizabeth City State University, Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Through the plan, the in-state tuition rate is set at $500 per semester, and out-of-state is set at $2,500 per semester.
North Carolina also offers a Fixed Tuition Program, which guarantees tuition rates do not rise for in-state students for up to eight consecutive semesters at 16 North Carolina universities. Find them here.
The North Carolina Promise plan automatically kicks in once a student is accepted to any of the three eligible universities. In order to qualify for the Fixed Tuition Program, students must be eligible for in-state tuition and attending one of the 16 eligible universities.
Under both the North Carolina Promise plan and the Fixed Tuition Program, the offer only applies to tuition. It does not cover any associated fees, housing, books or transportation expenses.
Under the North Carolina Promise plan, part-time undergraduate students are eligible for the program, although tuition is prorated and specific dollar amounts are set by the individual university.
Itâ€™s important to note that neither of these programs is offered to graduate students.
The Oklahoma Promise grant was created in 1992 to help low-income families receive higher education. Students who apply for the scholarship between 8th and 10th grade, meet income criteria and follow academic guidelines can receive a college scholarship.
In order to receive an Oklahoma Promise scholarship, students must:
The Oklahoma Promise scholarship can be applied toward tuition, as well as other college costs, such as books, room and board, fees, etc. Students can receive other forms of financial aid to cover tuition, but if the total financial aid is greater than the total cost, the Oklahoma Promise scholarship may be withheld for that term. The actual amount given is dependent on how many credit hours a student is taking.
Be sure to keep this in mind when applying to the Oklahoma Promise program:
Oregon launched the Oregon Promise grant in 2016 after Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law in July 2015. It was one of the first statewide programs to ensure free community college tuition for all eligible students.
To qualify for the Oregon Promise grant, applicants must:
The Oregon Promise grant covers tuition for any of the stateâ€™s community colleges. Recipients of the Oregon Promise grant in 2018-2019 received awards ranging from $1,000-$3,687 per year. This amount is based on a few factors:
The Oregon Promise has a number of stipulations that students must adhere to in order to receive their award each year.
Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the Rhode Island Promise into law in August 2017. It provides recent high school graduates in Rhode Island a path toward higher education, no matter their familyâ€™s income level.
To qualify for the Rhode Island Promise, potential applicants must:
The Rhode Island Promise covers two years of tuition and fees for applicants. Students who receive the grant are entitled to tuition and fees for two years at the Community College of Rhode Island to complete an associate degree.
The Rhode Island Promise is a last-dollar scholarship. Students may also apply for other financial awards, such as Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG) or individual institution scholarships. The grant covers any remaining balance.
A key distinction of the Rhode Island Promise is there is no household income limit for applicants. So long as students adhere to the requirements above, they are eligible. Once they complete the program, students are not required to stay in the state, although they are encouraged to do so.
While the Rhode Island Promise is a very generous grant, there are a few factors to consider.
South Dakotaâ€™s Build Dakota scholarship offers recipients full scholarships to four of the stateâ€™s technical institutes. The program applies only to those programs the state has determined as â€śhigh-need.â€ť A full list of eligible programs can be found here. The scholarship is unique in that it accepts both in-state and out-of-state applicants. However, recipients must commit to working in South Dakota in their field for a minimum of three years after graduation.
In order to qualify for the Build Dakota scholarship, applicants must:
The Build Dakota scholarship covers tuition, fees, books and other required expenses for the given program a recipient is accepted to (e.g., tools). It does not cover housing or living expenses. While the program does promise a full-ride to recipients, there are only a finite number of scholarships awarded each year. Currently, the Build Dakota program awards approximately 300 scholarships per year, and less than one third of the applicants are accepted.
There are a few things to keep in mind when applying for the Build Dakota scholarship:
Tennessee became the first state to sign wide-ranging free community college legislation for all residents in May 2014 when the Tennessee Promise was passed. Unlike previous programs, which were confined to certain localities or had other restrictions, such as income, the Tennessee Promise provided all eligible Tennessee students a pathway to higher education. Championed by Gov. Bill Haslam, the Tennessee Promise has paved the way for many other states to create similar free-college programs. As of the end of the 2017-2018 school year, more than 51,000 students had enrolled in the program.
To qualify for the Tennessee Promise, applicants must:
The Tennessee Promise scholarship is a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition and fees for any of the stateâ€™s 27 colleges of applied technology, 13 community colleges or in-state public four-year colleges that offer a two-year program. It does not cover the cost of books, transportation or room and board. The scholarship is applied after all other forms of financial aid have been exhausted.
While the scholarship has no household income requirements, the program does focus on attracting low-income, at-risk students by sending representatives to high schools across the state to educate students about the program. According to the Tennessee Promise Annual Report of 2019, the average award for the spring 2018 semester for students was $1,033 per student.
A unique aspect of the Tennessee Promise scholarship is the programâ€™s emphasis on mentor guidance. In addition to the money eligible students receive, the state has recruited more than 32,000 volunteers since the programâ€™s start in 2009, according to its 2017 annual report. The goal of a mentor, who is given a maximum of 10 students, is to make the road to college as clear as possible for students. Training is provided to mentors, and students must meet with their mentors at a mandatory meeting held at their high school before the start of fall semester. Students are encouraged to meet and communicate with their mentors leading up to and during their transition to college.
There are a few things to keep in mind when applying for the Tennessee Promise scholarship:
Washingtonâ€™s 2007 College Bound Scholarship is an early commitment to higher education. Low-income families sign up while their children are in middle school, and through the program they can receive a scholarship to public or private two- or four-year schools, technical schools or private career schools.
In order to qualify for this program, students must:
2018-19 Income Chart
|Household Size||Annual Income Guidelines*||Monthly Income||Weekly Income|
|Each additional household member||Add $7,992||Add $666||Add $154|
The Washington College Bound Scholarship can be used at more than 60 state schools and programs. It is combined with other state aid to cover tuition and some fees and provide a small book allowance. It can cover up to eight full-time semesters for students.
Wyomingâ€™s Hathaway Scholarship was created in 2005 by lawmakers who set up a $400 million permanent endowment for those attending the University of Wyoming or any of the stateâ€™s seven community colleges. There are four types of merit-based Hathaway scholarships and one need-based award.
While the scholarship can extend to eligible students for all four years of college, the merit-based scholarship awards are determined by a studentâ€™s performance in high school. This determines how much a student can receive through their undergraduate years.
In order to qualify for any of the four Wyoming Hathaway Scholarships, students must be Wyoming residents and must apply within 48 months of their graduation date. Other criteria depends on which scholarship youâ€™re applying for:
The rules for keeping the Hathaway Scholarship throughout college also depends on which scholarship you receive:
Scholarship recipients can receive:
These funds are available as a last-dollar scholarship (meaning it can only be used after other financial aid is exhausted) for tuition at the University of Wyoming or any of the stateâ€™s seven community colleges.
Students considering the Hathaway Scholarship should keep in mind:
Students who receive an associate degree can save dramatically on tuition costs for the same length of stay at a four-year college. The College Board reported that for the 2018-2019 school year, the average cost of tuition for an associate degree was $3,660 per year at a public institution versus $10,230 per year for in-state students at a public four-year university. That compares to a whopping $26,290 for out-of-state students at a public university.
One way to minimize the cost of college is to take core classes and electives at a community college before transferring to a four-year school. This strategy allows students to take the same classes they would at a four-year college, but without the higher price. Once completed, students can transfer to a four-year school to complete their bachelorâ€™s degree.
Students already enrolled in a four-year university can still take advantage of these savings by taking approved electives and core classes over the summer at a community college. This strategy can help students graduate on time and save money.
The main benefit of attending a community college prior to a four-year school is the cost savings. Depending on a studentâ€™s situation, they can live at home and commute to school, eliminating room and board costs, which averaged $11,140 for the 2018-2019 school year at public, four-year institutions, according to the College Board.
Students transferring from a community college to a four-year school generally have a clear pathway, so long as they are in good academic standing. However, itâ€™s important to make sure the credits will transfer. This is especially true if a student changes majors upon transferring. For example, a student who took core classes for a history major at community college but then switches to a biology major at a four-year college may have to retake certain courses.
Community college is not the only way to learn new skills and increase your earning potential. While traditional two- and four-year college programs can open up job opportunities, itâ€™s important to note there are other pathways to career success.
Apprenticeships offer students a way to learn a specific skill or trade without the burden of student debt, while also earning a wage. While many apprenticeships apply to certain trade skills, such as electrical, plumbing or construction work, there has been a rise recently in the popularity of registered apprenticeships thanks to a U.S. Department of Labor initiative.
Since January 2017, more than 500,000 new apprenticeships have been created, and the Trump administration has set up a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. In June 2019, the Employment & Training Administration announced more than $100 million in grants to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap for students and workers. An additional $183.8 million of funding has been awarded as Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grants, which aim to develop public-private apprenticeship programs within the health care, information technology and advanced manufacturing industries.
The Labor Department lists a variety of resources for finding and learning more about apprenticeships.
Certificate programs allow students to become experts in certain skills and industries without committing to a full undergraduate or graduate degree. Intensive programs can be a short as 10 to 12 weeks, while others may take three years or more to complete, depending on education level and area of interest.
Certificate programs are becoming widely popular within the information technology industry due to the salary boost that comes with them. The 2018 IT Skills and Salary Report from Global Knowledge found the average salary difference between certified and non-certified employees within North America is 22%, or $15,913.
Certificate programs can be found at community colleges, graduate schools and online schools across the globe. Popular programs vary for different levels of education. For example, getting certified as a yoga or pilates instructor requires fewer prior education requirements than someone looking to become a Certified Financial Planner.
Designed to teach students skills related to a specific career, trade schools give students hands-on learning that directly applies to specific careers. One of the major benefits of attending a trade school, also known as a vocational school, are the job placement programs that come with them. Many vocational schools have strong ties to certain industries, giving students a clear pathway toward earning their first paycheck.
Popular trade school programs include automotive, plumbing, electrical and HVAC, among others, and they can be found in high schools, community colleges and for-profit industry trade schools across the country.
If youâ€™re seriously considering trade school, be sure to do your due diligence. The Federal Trade Commission has warned that some for-profit trade schools misrepresent what they can offer students.
To avoid losing out on a quality education, prospective students should look for schools that are licensed by state agencies or accredited by a legitimate organization. Also be sure to find out the percentage of graduates who find work after finishing the program and the average starting salaries.
Whatever higher education path you take, be sure to look into local and state-run scholarships and grant programs. Research all your options, and plan your finances well ahead of time.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.
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SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.
If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.
Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
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5.74% To 16.24% APR
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Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.
” data-original-title title>Advertiser Disclosure
5.99% To 28.99% APR
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Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.
” data-original-title title>Advertiser Disclosure
3.99% To 16.99% APR
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