Financial Aid Options
Legal studies are costly and having some form of financial aid helps to alleviate financial stress during your academic journey. Securing financial aid for your paralegal studies contributes to a positive learning experience. When seeking financial aid for your paralegal studies, it is a good idea to explore both general and specific sources. In most cases, financial need is a general eligibility criterion for aid. However, other factors may also be considered in awarding aid. Eligibility criteria are usually specified by the awarding body. Below are some types of financial aid you may want to explore.
Federal Student Aid
The US Department of Education is the largest source of financial assistance for students pursuing a college education in the
- Grants - grants refer to monies that are awarded, usually based on need. Recipients are not expected to repay a grant. Federal grants are offered to students enrolled in 4-year colleges, universities, community colleges and professional learning institutions. The Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH) are some of the more widely known federal grants. Non-federal grants are also available for students enrolled in educational programs.
- Loans - students can apply for a loan for educational expenses from various borrowers. Loans must be paid back to the borrower, usually with an interest. Some of the more common student loans include the Perkins, Direct Stafford and Direct PLUS, for both students and parents. If you have various student loans, you may want to consolidate these into a single loan hence make one monthly payment. This can be done with a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Many schools offer financial aid independently to students. The nature of financial aid will vary from one school to the next. Each type of financial aid usually has specific eligibility criteria, which applicants are expected to meet in order to be considered. In some cases, grants may have obligations attached to them, which the grant recipient is expected to fulfill. It is best to enquire about financial aid availability from the school you are enrolled in. Such queries can usually be addressed to the financial aid office or program director. In most cases, programs will have program-specific information on financial aid options
The internet contains various resources on financial aid. Many sites offer plenty of advice and tools, to help search for financial aid that best meets your needs. FinAid and GradLoans are 2 sites you may want to explore.
Legal professional associations, private foundations and corporations may offer financial assistance to students enrolled in paralegal programs. In some cases, professional associations require applicants to be members in order to apply for aid. Most professional associations have local chapters which allow you to join from your state. It is a good idea to enquire from paralegal associations in your state about the availability of financial aid for your studies. The local library is also a good source of information on private sources of funding for studies.