Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 22, 2011

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While younger students are offered many different forms of financial aid, older students also have several different methods of financing their educational pursuits—student loans just being one of them. In fact, depending things such as employer, kids, age, and gender, an older student can qualify for a variety of payment plans and scholarships to help fund their college expenses.

 

 First Step: Talk to the Boss

 

Many companies offer some sort of compensation to employees who wish to go back to school. Depending on the size and type of company a student works for, a simple talk with superiors may result in full or partial payment for school tuition.

 

For example, many fire departments pay for their fire fighters to go to paramedic school. That’s a savings of thousands of dollars, and years of monthly student loan payments, if the employee seeks the aid offered by the employer.

 

Keep in mind, most employers will pay no more than the employer assistance they receive from the IRS for funding employee’s higher education pursuits. Currently that number hovers just about $5,000 per year.

 

Borrowers need to also be very sure they want to pursue and complete their education if they seek assistance from an employer. More often than not, the employer will require full compensation if the employee drops out of the program before graduating.

 

Seek a Scholarship

 

There are some scholarships available exclusive to older students. Often times these scholarships have very specific requirements, but that limits the amount of competition in the event a specific student qualifies.

 

For instance, collegescholarships.org advertises the Elizabeth Pfiffner Debot Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship for single parent mothers age 25 or older attending the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

 

There is also the Life Enrichment Scholarship, available to both male and female students age 35 and older who are taking short-term courses.

 

Students and prospective student loan borrowers should do some research on available scholarships, as there are many that go unclaimed each year.

 

Student Loans—Old Faithful

 

Student loans are available to everybody. Contrary to popular belief, student loans are not restricted to recent high school graduates, as there is no age limitation. If an older prospective student doesn’t gain employment benefits, can’t qualify for scholarships, or is without savings, they can apply for and obtain a federal student loan to help pave their way through college.