How to pay for an online certificate program
For many Americans, the pandemic has sparked an interest in career growth—particularly ways they could improve the future stability of employment. Money reports there has been a huge increase in registrations for e-learning platforms like Coursera since March, and many are looking to improve their skills through certificate programs.
According to a recent poll from the Strada Education Network, one in five Americans say they will continue their education in the next six months, with a preference for certificates or vocational training programs.
While these programs can be cheaper than traditional degrees, you can still owe thousands of dollars. These programs may not be eligible for federal financial assistance, But fortunately there are other financing options.
Start with your employer
While many companies offer tuition or education reimbursement, less than 10% of employees take advantage of this benefit, according to one. report from the Wall Street Journal. Your business could offer up to $ 5,250 in tax-free educational assistance, so you ask if they are willing to participate before you borrow money.
Apply for a scholarship
Invest time in research scholarship possibilities. You can claim more opportunities than expected, and you won’t know for sure until you apply. Start with Fastweb and Bourses.com. You can also explore financing options via Coursera Where Springboard programs.
You should also look for industry or diversity specific scholarships through professional or trade organizations. For example, there is several scholarships for persons pursuing the designation of certified financial planner, which requires an expensive eight-course certificate program. Another example: Flatiron School, a popular online coding boot camp, offers scholarships for women.
Request a payment plan or discounts
Depending on the program, you may have access to a quarterly or monthly payment plan. You should also see if you qualify for any discounts. Some programs may provide a break for veterans, military personnel, or current students.
Discover private student loans
After exhausting other options, you may want to consider applying for private student loans. While not all lenders offer private loans for non-degree programs, there are some options, such as Sallie mae. But you should be looking for the best interest rates.
Before you apply, however, make a note of when you would like need to start making payments. Some lenders will allow you to defer payments while you finish your studies, as well as a grace period of six months after the end of the program.
Find a personal loan
You can also consider applying for a personal loan, which can offer interest rates of 5% to 36%, according to the discount rate. The most competitive options, with lower interest and no fees, seek people with a strong credit profile. This includes good to excellent credit, a low debt-to-income ratio, and a stable income. Depending on your credit profile, a personal loan may be cheaper than paying with your credit card.