Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

Can an older student get aid to attend college?
I am 36years old, I have a 10 year old daughter.
In 1988 I attended La Guardia Community College for 2 to 3 trimesters, I did not continue because my mother was a single mom and I had to help with the bills, I also ended up not doing so well on my grades. Now I want to attend Berkley College for Paralegal Studies, I do not think that financial aid will cover the whole tuition.
I will be going on un-employment by the end of February and most places give grants to high school students and not to a single mom of the age of 36. I can't apply for a loan, because I know I will de denied, credit is not so good, what should I do?.
Harriet Smartt:
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Having worked as an Admissions counselor in Higher Education, I would recommend you request an interview with an Admissions Counselor at the school you plan to attend. They sometimes can make recommendations about funding resources and also will sometimes admit adult students provisionally, allowing you to prove yourself with your grades and interest shown in the program. Be sure the school is accredited or else seek course work in a community college. They have great programs and are helpful as well.
Edna M. Neville:
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Call the addmissions department at the college you want to attend and ask to speak to the person in finance. The colleges quite often have grants etc. targeted to single moms. Also call the local department of education and ask them to direct you to someone versed in grants and or federal aid.
Delores Lenzy - Jones, CPA, CIA:
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I disagree with the notion that financial aid is not given to single moms age 36. Many scholarships and grants are available for individuals that meet the specific criteria. For example, criteria could include income, educational major, industry, or myriad of other criteria. Use the internet as a resource.
Barbara Babcock:
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If you are going on unemployment as a result of a company layoff, your state unemployment agency may have funds available for retraining displaced workers. When you apply for your unemployment compensation, ask about this. These funds, if available, are usually designated to retrain displaced workers for jobs in high demand career fields. So youíll also need to find out if the paralegal field is considered high demand. Second, youíll want to obtain a copy of your credit report from all 3 credit bureaus, so that you can see exactly what your credit situation is. You can obtain a copy of your credit report for free by going to the website You can order your report right online, but if you donít want to do that, the website also tells you how to order your reports by telephone or by regular mail. Depending on your circumstances, below-average credit may not automatically disqualify you from financial aid. However, if you have had problems managing debt in the past, be careful about piling on student loan debt. Once you leave school and your student loans come out of deferment, they become a high priority debt, and non payment of student loans can result in further damage to your credit record and seizure of future tax refunds or other government benefit payments to satisfy those loans.
Gail V. Marquet:
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I would suggest she go back to the financial aid office of the college. There are a lot of grants out there for older returning students. If the college doesn't have any available, I'm sure they can give her a list of websites where she can apply for scholarships and grants. I don't understand why she's going on unemployment. She could look for employment with a law firm that offers some type of tuition reimbursement or tuition payment for the courses as professional development in pursuing her courses as a paralegal. There's a lot of free money out there, but it takes effort to find it.