Financing for College
College is one of the best investments you can make in your future. Obviously, it does take money to make that investment. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can finance and even offset the cost of your tuition. Welcome to the world of financial aid.
Georgia to the Rescue
To further offset the cost of your tuition, the state of Georgia offers a number of incentives for students earning the teaching degree and then teaching within the Georgia school system.
The HOPE PROMISE Teacher Scholarship, a component of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship, provides forgivable loans to students pursing an undergraduate degree who aspire to be teachers in Georgia public schools. If you commit to teach in a Georgia public school, you will pay less for your education. For a four-year teaching commitment, you can receive up to $6,000 in financial assistance.
The HOPE Teacher Scholarship assists individuals who plan to become teachers as well as current Georgia teachers in pursuing an advanced degree in a critical shortage teaching field in Georgia. The scholarship is service cancelable in exchange for teaching in that field in a Georgia public school upon graduation. If you obtain your advanced degree and a Clear Renewable Certificate in the field in which you were awarded the scholarship, you are eligible to receive a service cancellation of $2,500 per academic year.
For more information on how Georgia is prepared to help you become a teacher, check out the Georgia Student Finance Commission.
Dollars & Good Sense
An Investment in Your Future
You can never hear it enough: College is an investment. The time, energy and, of course, the money you put towards your degree now will come back to you tenfold in future achievements. If you're currently enrolled in a two-year program, you clearly understand this concept already, and the benefits of transferring into a four-year teacher preparation program in the University System of Georgia make it well worth the additional cost.
Why? It all comes down to value. The higher the quality of the education and the lower the cost, the better the value. And there's no question as to the value of the teacher preparation programs we offer – our University System is so committed to providing Georgia's students with teachers who make a difference that we back your education with a guarantee supported by additional preparation, if necessary, during your first two years of employment.
Financial Aid 101
Don't let sticker shock stand in the way of your future. Virtually every student, regardless of income level, is eligible for some sort of aid. Take a look at these options:
- Federal Aid: The U.S. Department of Education devotes millions of dollars each year to help students afford college, and federal grants and loans offer flexible repayment schedules. No matter which type of financial aid you seek, completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step.
- Grants: Grants such as the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) award aid to college students based solely on financial need. Academic Competitiveness Grants are also available for students who complete a rigorous high school program of study and are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. Grants aren't loans – they don't have to be paid back.
- Subsidized Loans: Federal loans, such as the Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans, offer low interest rates and forgiving payment schedules. Parents can leverage additional money to help pay for their students' educations through the Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program, which also offers low interest rates.
- Scholarships: There are thousands of scholarships available that can help pay for your college education – you just have to know where to look! Colleges, nonprofit organizations and corporations present students with millions of dollars in financial aid each year. Scholarships offer money that you do not have to pay back, and chances are you may qualify for one type or another.
- Alternative Loans: If your needs aren't fully met by federal programs or scholarships, commercial banks can provide additional assistance. This type of assistance is readily available, but frequently comes with higher interest rates.
- Service-Repayable Loans: These are loans which have a provision for payback through service in specified fields. There are service-repayable loans available for both undergraduate and graduate students wishing to become teachers. See information below on the HOPE PROMISE Scholarship and the HOPE Teacher Scholarship.