Finishing Your Education on a Low Income

Earning a degree can change your world by enhancing your skills and helping you to work for your betterment. Many students coming for a family with lower income or living on a low income may feel puzzled on how to complete your education. But irrespective of your financial status, you must aim towards earning a degree. Various colleges and federal programs are working towards providing education for students who cannot support their tuition financially. Options include, grants, scholarship, work-study program, learning through online medium, free courses and other. Now let’s talk about how you can complete your schooling even with a low income by learning few methods to adopt in detail.

How can you Afford your Education?

Completing your education is like an accomplishment and overwhelming but affording it could be hard for some. According to data, the average fees structure for an in-state public institution could be around $10,230 and $35,830 for a private institution. But the fees to pay may vary every year resulting in drop-outs, increased debts and lesser earnings. However, there are various ways to cover your tuition such as approaching the financial aid office, researching online resources like The College Monk gives you a Complete Guide to Financial Aid.

Some ways are detailed below,

Federal Grants

The government offers funds for students in order to help them cover their fees where you are required to repay it. The common federal grants offered to students are Pell Grant, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education-TEACH Grant and the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant-FSEOG Grant are need based aid offered to low- income students. You qualify for these grants based on the information filled in a FAFSA which includes your recent tax return, your parent’s tax return, current bank statements, current investment records, driver’s license, social security number and others. 

Usually, families with income lower than $50,000 are eligible for pell grants. TEACH grants are given to students who commit to teach in future. Once you receive a Pell grant, you are considered for FSEOG Grant as well. The maximum amount awarded in (2019-2020) academic year is $6,195.

Aiming for Scholarship

Scholarships are monetary rewards given to students based on their excellent performance in fields such as academics, art, athletics, special interest and others. Scholarships are also sponsored by the government, colleges and schools, non-profit organizations, private organizations and others. You must always select the scholarships which fit the best with your goals and interests to gain more chances of winning one. For instance, if you are a student who is good at academics you must aim at a Merit scholarship whereas, if you are a student pursuing a nursing or teaching career, you should aim more at qualifying for grants.

Programs For Low-Income Students

Some funding programs partner with the states to help establish colleges and help committed students complete their education for free. Students with low-income can be hugely benefited under these programs and initiatives. Some are listed below,

  • America’s College Promise (ACP): This program aimed at funding $61 billion to help students by providing tuition-free of cost. fund grants to four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for low-income students, community college transfer students with no cost or reduced cost tuition.
  • HBCU and MSI Innovation for Completion Fund: This is a $30 million program to offer grants to support students who come up with new innovative ideas and strategies to help them earn their degrees
  • College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program: This program focuses on rewarding colleges who enroll and successfully accept students with low income and also promote the college to support and encourage those students financially.
  • American Technical Training Fund: This is an initiative with $75 million which collaborates and administers jointly with the Department of Education to expand cost-free tuition and accelerate job training in various fields.

Student loans

Loans are financial aids borrowed by students to manage their finance and other costs incurred in college. With the increasing college costs, students with low income opt to borrow loans. To support students, there are various loans lent with lower interest rates. Even if you get the burden of repaying the loan borrowed, you could take advantage of various federal options such as loan forgiveness, grace period, consolidation of loans and a number of repayment plans on your loan. Completing your education successfully helps you land on a good job and eliminate your debts faster.

Affordable Online Colleges

Online college programs are a method of providing education to students similar to traditional college through an online medium. The advent of technology has implemented e-learning, live coaching, and free online courses to complete education at less cost. The online degree offers assignments, courses, and a deadline similar to a traditional degree. In this, you only pay for the tuition, application fees, and book supplies eliminating various other costs. This program also offers a flexible study schedule and helps students with lower income work and take up other responsibilities while completing education. The good news is, students can also get scholarships for an online degree to manage their finance. 

For instance, in the current scenario, there is a demand for editors where the online publications and websites are blooming. They require professionals to write and edit content through online mediums. Online degrees to become an editor are affordable and give a flexible schedule to complete the course. Learn How to Become an Editor in simple steps and to achieve a career with faster growth.


A number of programs are available to students which validate the need for financial aid with academic support to enable low-income students to succeed in college. You must explore the professional development pathway and the financial path to support yourself for college. Irrespective of the field you are pursuing, every career is supported by the federal programs by offering grants, scholarships, and affordable college programs. But be aware of the various scams trying to get your identity for money. Also while choosing an online degree, ensure that the college you choose is offering an accredited program. Reaping the benefits of the assistance options and earning a college degree together will help you secure your future.

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