Financial aid is available for vocational school. In many ways, the process of obtaining financial aid remains the same no matter which type of school you attend. However, there are some differences between financial aid for trade school and financial aid for college.
Types and Sources of Aid Available
For vocational school, you will find three basic types of financial aid available:
- Student loans
Grants and scholarships are preferable because these types of aid do not have to be paid back. Student loans, on the other hand, come with repayment plans and interest rates.
Potential sources of financial aid include the following:
- The federal government
- The state government
- The school itself
- Third-party organizations
- Private lending institutions
- Crowdfunding donors
Applying for Aid for Vocational School
Once you have applied to the vocational school(s) of your choice, you can follow these steps to find and apply for financial aid:
- Fill out the FAFSA®. This will tell you how much and what types of federal aid you qualify for. Both the Pell Grant and the FSEOG Grant are available for trade schools, along with federal student loans.
- Apply for state aid. Keep in mind that states may not offer the same financial aid for vocational schools that they do for other 2-year and 4-year colleges. However, different programs specific to trade schools may be available.
- Talk to your school’s financial aid office. Find out which grants, scholarships, and discounts your school offers to its students and whether you qualify for any.
- Look for scholarships online. You can find several scholarship databases online to help you find scholarships you may qualify for. These could be based on demographic information, financial need, academic merit, family connections, field of study, or degree type.
- Ask your employer about tuition reimbursement. Although this is less common for trade school, some businesses are willing to help their employees pay for their education through tuition reimbursement.
- Check with your local unemployment office. Some states will help unemployed residents attend trade school so that they can obtain jobs.
- Start a crowdfunding campaign. If your financial aid comes up short, you can ask your friends and family for help by starting a campaign on GoFundMe, YouCaring, or a similar site.
- Obtain student loans, if necessary. You can obtain student loans from the federal government or private lenders.
Financial Aid for Online Programs
Many online or distance programs qualify for financial aid as well, but not all. They must be properly accredited in order for their students to receive federal aid. The best way to find out whether your program qualifies is to speak directly with the financial aid office of the school you wish to attend. Attending a distance, correspondence, or online program can affect when you receive your aid and how much you receive.
Vocational school is often seen as a more affordable alternative to traditional 2-year or 4-year colleges. By taking advantage of the financial aid available for trade school, you can save even more.