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Student Loans for Career Training and Continuing Education Programs

Francine L. Huff
LoanBiz Columnist

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Student loans aren't just for people working toward a degree. Loans also are available for continuing education and career training programs. To be eligible for funds, students must attend a program that is accredited by the Department of Education.

 

Student Loan Requirements

Continuing education students are usually 24 or older and are returning to college or didn't attend college after finishing high school. Many are looking for a career change or have spent time raising children. To borrow student loans for career training programs, borrowers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. They also need to have an established credit history. Money that is borrowed can be used to pay for items such as tuition, books, living expenses, or computers.

 

Private Student Loans

Because of the tougher lending environment, many people in continuing education and career programs may have a difficult time finding private student loans. It's important to shop around for a loan because fees and interest rates can vary from lender to lender. Also people who don't have the best credit scores may need to have a cosigner to get a better interest rate than they could qualify for on their own.

 

Federal Student Loans

Some continuing education students may be able to qualify for federal loans, which have the most favorable interest rates, by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many students who receive federal loans may still need to turn to private funding sources. Low-income students may find that they also qualify for scholarship or grant programs.

 

Tuition Reimbursement

Employees seeking career training or continuing education should check with their employers to see if they sponsor tuition reimbursement programs. Some employers only pay benefits to people who are taking courses directly related to their job or are in degree programs.

 

Alternatives to Student Loans

Person-to-person lending sites such as Prosper and LendingClub are growing in popularity as an alternative to student loans. On a person-to-person lending site, students state how much they want to borrow and the interest rate they're willing to pay. Lenders can then decide whether to make a loan based upon the borrower's credit history and debt profile. The money is then deposited directly into the borrower's bank account and the two parties don't need to interact face-to-face with one another. 

 

Source

SallieMae


About the Author
Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.

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