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Finishing Your Education on a Low Income

Finishing Your Education on a Low Income

If you come from a low-income family or live on low income, getting a degree or finishing your schooling can seem impossible. However, with an increasing number of colleges trying to accommodate for their low-income students with more grants and scholarship options, the hardest part of getting a degree might be acing those exams. Whether you are a single parent, a student, or just a person wanting to better themselves, you can earn a degree, here’s how.

How You Can Afford School

Wanting a college degree is one thing; affording it is another. However, there are grants, scholarships, and other private programs that aim to help low-income students. Applying for grants is the number one option for low-income students. Grants don’t need to be repaid like loans, they aren’t based on the student’s or family’s credit, and you don’t need a cosigner. Grants are based on income so as long as you can show you have low-income, you might qualify for grants.

Federal Grants

The best Federal grants are the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants which focus on providing access to post-secondary education for low-income students. FAFSA is a great starting point for applying for the Pell Grant. Most schools also use your FAFSA to determine the financial aid they will give you from their own pocket. To apply for FAFSA, you will need your most recent tax return, your parent’s most recent tax return, current bank statements, current investment records, records of any untaxed income, driver’s license, social security number, and alien registration or permanent resident card if necessary.

Good Programs For Low-Income Students

While federal grants can provide some funding, it is important to look at state grants, minority low-income grants, private organizations and companies, and scholarships. Most low-income families will qualify for need-based grants, but you may qualify for other programs as well. If you academically excel in an area, like writing, you may be able to earn a merit-based scholarship or grant. If you want to pursue a highly needed area like nursing, STEM, or teaching, you may qualify for more grants. Plenty of private organizations also help low-income students get their degree.

Tuition-Free Colleges

While grants can help pay for college, they aren’t always enough. Finding an affordable program is a great way to make up the difference. If you are interested in a physical college with physical classes, here is a list of several tuition-free colleges around the US. While these colleges vary in programs and can sometimes be extremely selective, their programs are well-known and accredited.

Affordable Online College Programs

If you are looking for a traditional college feel with online convenience, online college programs can be some of the most affordable, ranging from a couple hundred dollars a year to a few grand. Completely online universities are also becoming a trend for low-income students, especially those looking to get into highly needed professions. Nursing programs, business, social work, technology, graphic arts, and teaching degrees can all be found online. The best part about these programs is that they offer education in highly demanded fields, helping you secure work in your career faster than you would otherwise.


In all of these grants, scholarships, and affordable college programs, be on the lookout for scams trying to steal your identity or your money. Any website that makes you pay to apply for FAFSA is a scam. FAFSA is free to apply. Check all colleges accreditation before applying and before enrolling in their program. Applying for grants, scholarships, and colleges may be long and tedious, but the benefits of having a college degree will last you a lifetime.

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Monday 11th of December 2017

Really appreciate all the resources on your site! Wanted to share that I completed my degree through Complete Florida, a state funded program to help adults who have some college credit but did not graduate. I received 75% tuition scholarship my first two semesters and 100% my last two. That scholarship combined with my federal aid allowed me to finish with only needed to pay out of pocket for a few books.


Tuesday 12th of December 2017

That's awesome, Sharon! Thanks for sharing! :)

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