Navigating financial aid and figuring out how to pay for school can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be the barrier between you and your career goals. There are several options to help fund your energy career training.
“There are scholarships, grants, loans and other options that students can potentially take advantage of,” says Nancy DiSante, Student Finance Supervisor at Ecotech Institute.
Below are four options you can explore that may help pay for school.
1. Federal Aid
Federal aid programs offer students more than $150 billion each year, which comes in the form of loans, grants and work-study programs for those who qualify.
“Unfortunately, all too often these opportunities are not being used because many students are simply unaware of their availability,” says DiSante. “The best way to find out whether you are eligible for federal aid is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA.”
Download our FAFSA Checklist to make sure you have everything you need before you apply.
2. Military Benefits
“Many of Ecotech Institute’s students come from a military background,” DiSante says. “One of the biggest benefits available to our military students is the GI Bill. When veterans or active duty students use their GI Bill, the government pays for up to 36 months of their tuition and provides up to $1,000 per year for textbooks and school supplies.”
Another type of financial aid that exists for veterans is vocational rehabilitation. These state-funded programs offer financial assistance for job and career training by paying for school costs and employment services, and even providing a monthly subsistence allowance. It’s important to note that not all veterans are eligible for this type of financial aid, and eligibility requirements may differ from state to state.
Securing a private scholarship can also help make your education more affordable. Compared to federal aid, private scholarships represent a much smaller portion of college financial aid but DiSante notes that it’s worth doing your research and finding out what scholarship opportunities may be available to you.
“Just last year, three of Ecotech Institute’s female wind energy technology students won $2,500 scholarships from Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE),” says DiSante. “They also got to go on a trip to WINDPOWER, the industry’s premier trade show and educational event, where the students were able to attend seminars, view the latest technology and connect with potential employers.”
4. Part-Time Jobs
Finding a part-time job can be a great way to help pay for school. Many colleges have dedicated career centers that assist students in their job search.
“In addition to helping graduates find energy jobs with over 130 companies across the United States, Ecotech Institute’s Career Development team also typically posts a variety of part-time job opportunities for current students around campus,” DiSante says. “Additionally, there are websites like WayUp and QuadJobs where students can search for local jobs that would fit into their study schedules.”
The best way to avoid confusion and identify your options for paying for school is to meet with your school’s student finance team. A student finance representative can help guide you through available benefits and other options for which you may qualify.