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You know that it’s important to invest in yourself with a college degree so you can take care of the ones you love. Whether your interest is medical assistant, dental assistant, sonographer or biomedical equipment technician, your degree will provide many benefits, including increased finances, a steady schedule and a personal sense of accomplishment.

Going back to school does come with a price—literally. So, how do you pay for your degree? We’ve broken it down below so you can stop worrying about finances and start focusing on your new life in your new career.

Why should you apply?

Going back to school to get your degree can be challenging for many reasons, including finding time to balance your schedule and time management. But paying for school might not be as hard as you think. Financial aid, student loans and scholarships are all available to help make the cost of attending college affordable.

Who can apply?

Most students qualify for some type of financial aid. There are also special programs and scholarships for nontraditional college students. Bottom line: anyone going to college should look into applying for financial aid, federal loans and scholarships.

What are my options?

Take it step by step identify your resources for funding.

  • Federal Loans

Start by applying for financial aid at FAFSA.gov. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and there is no age restriction on who can apply. When you complete your FAFSA, you gain access to federal grants and loans. Federal loans have lower interest rates than private loans, so you save money.

  • Federal Grants

If you can show that you have financial need, you may qualify for a federal Pell grant. A Pell grant is free money that you do not have to repay. Currently, the maximum you can receive through a Pell Grant is $5,920. The best part is, when you fill out your FAFSA, you are automatically in the running for a Pell grant.

  • Scholarships

Just like grants, scholarships are free money, usually based on financial need and/or academic merit. Ask your admissions counselor to help you identify local scholarships or check scholarships.com for scholarship opportunities that you may qualify for based on your individual situation.

You can achieve your goal of completing your degree and starting a new career as a medical assistant, dental assistant, diagnostic medical sonographer or biomedical equipment technician. Don’t let funding your college degree hold you back. Invest in yourself and research the resources to help finance your dream.