One of the big drivers of the increased number of applications for student loans, primarily federal aid, has been the significant increase in the number of nontraditional students going back to school.
Of course, if you read my blog all the time, you know that the term "nontraditional student" is one I don't like. Why? Learning is a life long process and there is nothing "nontraditional" about learning as one gets older. For example, an older student returning to school for a Masters degree is not considered nontraditional, but an older student completing a bachelors degree is?
People are going back to school, many because they want to reenter old careers or start new careers and need to improve job skills. It is expected that the number of adults going back to school will increase as the economy worsens.
The Department of Education suggests that President Barack Obama will face an unusually burdensome financial situation that could force government to trim America's college aid program.
“There are a lot of things going on — more people are applying for student aid, more people are going to college, more people who qualify for the aid are showing up at school,” said Thomas P. Skelly, the Department of Education’s director of budget service, who wrote a memorandum detailing the problem to Congress.
Per the NY Times article, as of 7/31/2008, 800,000 more students had applied for grants than on that date the year before; one of the largest increases ever.
Tips for funding education in a down economy?
- Apply early
- Look for scholarships and grants
- Get advice from your college of interest
- Check employer tuition reimbursement