Financial FAQs

Yes.... Keep trying! And, apply for everything.

Don't discount yourself before you've even entered. Let those on the judging panel decide whether or not you qualify. Apply to ones for which you only have one or two 'qualifications.' Maybe they receive no other applications and they choose to go ahead and give the money to you, even though you don't qualify completely.

There are many scholarships that go unclaimed every year. Through employers, community groups, churches, even companies like CocaCola. Start with the free scholarship matching services such as Check out our financial aid help page as well.

For more information, see chapter 3 of The Adult Student's Guide to Survival & Success, "How to Choose Your Program, Get Financial Help, and Become Oriented."

So to reiterate, apply, apply, apply for all the scholarships and loans you can, and remember that for credible sources, there should be NO COST involved for you to do this -- just your time. Numbers are the key. So send in those applications!

Congratulations on keeping your dream alive!

Check out our Financial Aid help page and links on our student links page.

There are several free places to look for scholarships (though, they may request you register). There is no need to pay anyone a fee to join an online scholarship search. Here are a few to get you started:
FastWeb, FinAid, The Old School

In addition, look for another (possibly neighboring) state's scholarship information. While some programs may be state specific, some states do a better job at collecting and presenting general information than others. Here's a list of state scholarship offices. Some may have web presences, search the web on the department name for the state you wish.

I would suggest reading our financial aid tips and applying for as many scholarships and grants as possible. It's a numbers game sometimes--you need to apply to many in order to get a few. Even apply to ones for which you only have one or two 'qualifications.'

Also, check out scholarships offered by local service groups such as the Soropotmists club. Soroptimist International is a women's service group that has as a mission the enhancement of women's opportunities. You may have to look for a local chapter for scholarship information.

Good luck and stick with it. You have the drive to finish and that's half the battle.

Do not fear, you are not alone. Look for scholarships and apply to any and all you find. Scholarships generally don't take into account your credit score or repayment history. Look for state opportunity grants. See some of the tips on our financial aid help page to give you some more ideas.


You have a good question for which we do not have a very good answer. Your best bet is to talk to your social worker AND a financial aid counselor at your future school, or one at any school in your state of residency. Every state is different in how it doles out federal monies, and regulations and programs change constantly.

We found this older article Individuals with Disabilities can retain Medicaid or Medicare while working recently, and you may find some useful information there.

This is a catch-22 for sure. While at one time the federal "Welfare-to-Work" may have helped you, the program was discontinued in 2004. Some cities, counties, states and colleges still have similar programs that either stand alone or are part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. You will need to see what is available in your area. Start with contacting your state's scholarship office.

Beware, once in a while, you may encounter a social worker that doesn't have your best interests in mind. He or she may have personal issues which they transfer to the job. It is most often a person who doesn't have a college degree themselves. They may say they cannot help you in any way. They may feel it is not fair to help you fulfill goals greater than their own. If you encounter such a person—which is rare but not unheard of—see if you can speak with their supervisor.


You have a good question! Please note that we are not financial advisors and as such cannot comment on your specific situation. However... depending on the funding source, you probably have options on what to spend the "refund" money on.

Many funding sources do have limits on what you can spend on, but others don't. Your best bet is to ask the financial aid office at your school. They will know your funding sources, situation and restrictions.



We don't have a whole lot of information for Canada, but try these:

EduCanada - Official education site of Canadian government.

Student Aid - Student grants and loans, scholarships, education savings, apprentice loans and grants.

Lifelong Learning Plan - RRSP Withdrawls - Information about using your retirement account to pay for educational expenses.

Maybe a web search on phrases such as "Canadian financial aid for low income students" or "Canadian social assistance education resources."

My advice to your cousin is to apply, apply, apply for scholarships. Sometimes an organization will offer a scholarship that no one applies for. In these cases, if they only get one application who isn't even completely qualified for their specific scholarship, they'll still give the money away.

FAQs compiled by
Kristin Pintarich
Editor-in-Chief, Practical Psychology Press

2018-2019 FAFSA Form now available

First come, firs served for federal student aid. Don’t miss out! Get your application in early!

Dollar SignAre you even THINKING about going back to school in the Fall of 2018? The time is NOW to get your financial aid forms submitted. Can you believe it? That may seem like a long way out, but it is way easier to cancel aid than try to apply for and receive it next summer.

In order to allow folks more time to fill our their annual Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form, it is now made available online on October 1 of the year prior to need.

We recommend that ALL students fill out this form. It is the key to unlocking aid you my not have known existed, or that you may not have felt you qualify for. You don’t know unless you try!

We recommend that you fill out the form as soon as possible as some states run out of funding early. First come, First served.

Visit the Federal Student Aid home page to get started on this years FAFSA.

The 2018-2019 enrollment period has also reactivated access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. (It closed in early 2017 for security reasons.) If you choose to link to your IRS account via this tool, this can save you time and ensure accuracy. Note that if you use the retrieval tool, you will not be able to see or edit the data entered on the website. I guess this is a security feature. If you manually enter the info, you can see and change it.

From Homeless to Harvard – Liz Murray’s Story

A few people are born resilient. Elizabeth Murray is one of them. Her parents were cocaine addicts who spent most of the family’s money on feeding their habits. Liz explains that as a result, she and her sister were neglected. The girls often lacked food and warm clothes. By age 15, Liz was homeless. Continue reading “From Homeless to Harvard – Liz Murray’s Story”

Angry Mothers on Welfare Must Fight for Education Funding

Diana Spatz was a single mother on welfare. She encountered many barriers when she tried to get an education to become self-sufficient, but she found ways to overcome them. She now works to help other parents on welfare gain access to funding that is available for their education. Diana says: Continue reading “Angry Mothers on Welfare Must Fight for Education Funding”

Financial Aid Resources

Financial aid ideas for the Adult Student returning to college

The Adult Student's Guide to Survival and Success, grad cap

Yes! You can afford college!

Financial Aid Links from ASG/7

Financial Aid FAQs

You’re not a traditional student, so chances are, you may not have access to some of the traditional means to pay for school, such your parents or all those scholarships offered to high school seniors or star athletes. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options available for you, if you do a little work.

What can you do??

  • Download the Federal Financial Aid Guide. Always a good place to start, this publication has a ton of information about grants, loans and work-study.
  • Ask your employer. Many companies will pay full or partial tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of a college course. These programs vary widely from employer to employer in that some cover only courses directly related to your field of work, while others may have a complete degree reimbursement program.
  • Check out what your state offers. Here’s a list of state scholarship offices (scroll down). Some may have web presences — so search the web on the department name for your state.
  • Take a loan. At some point, inevitably, you will probably need more money than you have. Colleges financial aid offices have information on lenders, but beware if they try to steer you to only one or two choices. (Recently, several college loan offices have come under scrutiny for taking kickbacks from lenders. Fortunately, Congress has taken notice and these practices should be ending). Your loan may be a federally backed student loan, or from a private lender, or even from your neighbor: an offbeat loan resource is Here you can put in a loan request and see if anyone bites. Another alternative loan site is
  • Study an unpopular subject. Several careers just don’t draw enough job applicants so employers need to offer special incentives to attract and keep employees. Let’s see, teachers and nurses are perpetually on top of that list, as well as electricians, long-haul truck drivers, heavy equipment mechanics, medical technicians, and surprisingly many more occupations. Often, training assistance (tuition reimbursement), relocation expenses and other incentives are available. Your college’s career center should have an idea about what are the hard to fill jobs in your location and/or elsewhere.
  • Play the numbers game. The biggest tip we have to get financing for college is to apply, apply, apply. For scholarships and grants (both “free money”–not needing to be repaid) try FastWeb first to find scholarships you may qualify for. Find obscure ones offered locally or regionally. Sometimes, small local groups have scholarships that go unawarded for lack of applicants, so apply for ones that you may not completely qualify for and you just may be surprised.
  • Go slow. Maybe you started out with a bang, school full-time, work part time and things were great. Then that appendicitis hit or the kids need braces and poof, your college fund/dream is gone. What now? Well, recoup and change your tactics. Keep your goal, but allow yourself more time to complete it. Instead of attending classes full time, go part time. Instead of part time, take one class a quarter. Like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race.

Other Sources of Help

Welfare Parent Helps Find Funding for Others

Diana Spatz was a single mother on welfare. She encountered many barriers when she tried to get an education to become self-sufficient, but she found ways to overcome them. She now works to help other parents on welfare gain access to funding that is available for their education. Read her story and how to contact her.

The Adult Student's Guide to Survival and Success 6th Edition cover See Chapter Three in The Adult Student’s Guide to Survival & Success, 7th Edition for more information on financial aid help.

Our one piece of advice for finding financial aid is DO NOT PAY ANYONE to search for scholarships.
There are too many ways and people who will help you do this for FREE!!!