Have you ever thought about pursuing a second degree in a different field, but worried about the financial burden that comes with it? The cost of tuition, textbooks, and living expenses can add up quickly and make it difficult to justify going back to school. But what if I told you that funding for a second degree is actually more attainable than you might think?
Believe it or not, there are numerous funding options available to help make your dreams of earning a second degree a reality. From scholarships and grants to loans and work-study programs, there are plenty of ways to cover the cost of your education. And the best part? You don’t necessarily have to have a perfect academic record or come from a wealthy family to secure funding.
So if you’re considering pursuing a second degree but the financial aspect is holding you back, don’t give up just yet. With a little research and some determination, you may be able to find the funding you need to make your academic dreams come true.
Financing Options for Second Degrees
For many individuals, pursuing a second undergraduate or graduate degree can involve significant financial challenges. Fortunately, there are various financing options available to help you cover the costs of tuition, textbooks, and other educational expenses. Some of the most popular financing options used by students pursuing a second degree include:
- Federal Loans: One of the most popular ways to fund a second degree is through federal loans. These loans offer lower interest rates than traditional bank loans and may also offer repayment plans that are more flexible. To apply for a federal loan, you will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
- Private Loans: Private loans can also be used to finance a second degree. These loans are typically offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. However, private loans may have higher interest rates and fees than federal loans.
- Scholarships and Grants: Scholarships and grants are free financial aid, meaning they do not need to be repaid. These funding opportunities may be offered by the government, private organizations, or the educational institution you are attending. You can search for scholarship and grant opportunities at websites such as Fastweb and Scholarships.com.
It’s essential to consider all your funding options before making a decision that will impact your financial future. If you’re considering taking on debt to pay for a second degree, it’s crucial to assess your future earning potential and ensure that your expected salary will provide enough income to cover your debt and living expenses. There are many online tools available to help you estimate your potential earnings based on your degree and field of study.
Grants for Pursuing a Second Degree
If you’re thinking about pursuing a second degree, one of the biggest hurdles you may face is the cost of tuition. Fortunately, there are a variety of grants that can help defray the costs of a second degree. Here are a few options:
Types of Grants for Pursuing a Second Degree
- Federal Pell Grant: This is a need-based grant for undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or professional degree. However, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may still be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant if you are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program or a graduate-level teacher certification program. The award amount changes yearly and depends on a student’s financial need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status.
- TEACH Grant: The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is for students who plan to become teachers in a high-need field in a low-income area. TEACH Grants provide up to $4,000 per year to students who are enrolled in an eligible program and who agree to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area for at least four years. If the obligation is not fulfilled, the grant will convert into an unsubsidized loan.
- State Grants: Most states offer grants to residents who are pursuing degrees in certain fields or who meet certain requirements. For example, California offers the Cal Grant to low- and middle-income residents who are pursuing an undergraduate degree, and New York offers the Excelsior Scholarship to residents who attend a public college or university in the state and whose family income is below a certain threshold.
Do Your Research
It’s important to note that the above options are just a few examples of the grants available to students pursuing a second degree. There are many other grants out there, so it’s worth doing some research to find out what options are available to you.
|Federal Pell Grant
|Need-based; undergraduate with no prior bachelor’s/master’s/professional degree, or post-baccalaureate/graduate-level teacher certification program
|Up to $6,345 (as of 2020-2021 academic year)
|Enrolled in eligible program; plan to teach in high-need field in low-income area for at least 4 years
|Up to $4,000 per year
|Varies by state and program
|Varies by state and program
Grants can be a great source of funding for students pursuing a second degree. Make sure to explore all of your options and do your research. Good luck!
Private Scholarships for Second Degree Programs
Getting funded for a second degree can be a daunting process, but there are numerous sources of financing, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Private scholarships for second degree programs are an excellent way to increase the chances of funding your education.
- Use Scholarship Databases: Search for scholarships that are specific to second degree programs. Websites, such as Fastweb, Cappex, and Scholarships.com, provide access to a comprehensive catalog of scholarships and grants that you can apply for.
- Local Scholarships: Look for financial aid opportunities available in your community. Local foundations, civic organizations, and individuals may offer funding for second degree programs.
- Professional Organizations: Some professional organizations provide scholarships for individuals seeking to pursue additional education in their field. Check with organizations affiliated with your major or field of study.
Here is a table listing some of the private scholarships available for second degree programs:
|Philanthropic Educational Organization
|Up to $20,000
|Women pursuing a degree or certification to improve their career prospects
|Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award
|Graduate members of Golden Key National Honor Society
|Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
|Up to $30,000
|Juniors studying public service-related fields
Private scholarships are available for various fields, backgrounds, and interests. Spend time researching private scholarships and grants that align with your educational goals and target the ones that are specific to second degree programs.
Employer Funded Education Benefits
If you’re considering pursuing a second degree, you might be wondering if there are any funding options available. The good news is that there are various ways to get financial assistance, and one of them is through your employer. Many companies offer education benefits to their employees, which can help cover tuition costs and other related expenses.
- Some employers provide tuition reimbursement programs, which allow you to get reimbursed for the money you spend on qualifying educational expenses.
- Others offer tuition assistance programs, which provide upfront payments to cover the cost of your education.
- Some companies also have partnerships with colleges and universities, which might result in discounted tuition rates.
Before applying for any educational benefits, make sure to review your employer’s policies and eligibility requirements. Some companies might require you to meet certain criteria, such as maintaining a specific GPA or working full-time for a certain period of time.
It’s also worth noting that there might be tax implications associated with employer-funded education benefits. While they’re generally tax-free up to a certain amount, anything above that threshold might be subject to taxes. Be sure to consult with a tax professional to understand how these benefits might impact your finances.
|Access to funds for education expenses
|May have to pay taxes on benefits above a certain threshold
|Opportunity to improve job skills and advance career
|Employer might require certain criteria to be met for eligibility
|Can potentially save thousands of dollars on tuition expenses
|May require commitment to stay with employer for a certain amount of time
Employer-funded education benefits offer a great way to get funding for a second degree. They provide access to funds, an opportunity to improve job skills and advance your career, and can potentially save you thousands of dollars on tuition expenses. However, there are also some cons to consider, such as taxes on benefits above a certain threshold, eligibility requirements, and potential commitment to stay with your employer for a certain amount of time. Overall, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and thoroughly review your employer’s policies before applying for any education benefits.
Loan Programs for Second Degree Seekers
Getting a degree is never cheap, and getting a second degree may seem impossible for many people who do not have the funds to pay for it upfront. Fortunately, there are loan programs available for second degree seekers that can help ease the financial burden. Here are some popular loan programs to consider:
- Federal Direct Loans: These loans are available to eligible undergraduate and graduate students, and they have fixed interest rates which are typically lower than other types of loans. Second degree seekers can qualify for up to $20,500 per year in unsubsidized loans, and up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid in grad PLUS loans.
- Private Student Loans: These loans are available from private lenders and are typically used when federal loans don’t cover the full cost of tuition and fees. Some lenders offer loans specifically for second degree seekers, which may have lower interest rates or better repayment terms.
- State Loan Programs: Some states have loan programs specifically for students pursuing a second degree. These loans may have lower interest rates than traditional loans, and may be offered through state agencies or non-profit organizations that partner with the state.
It’s important to note that taking out loans means that you will have to repay the amount borrowed, plus interest. Before applying for any loans, be sure to research the terms and conditions of each loan program to determine which is best suited for your needs and financial situation. You should also explore alternative options for funding your education, such as scholarships, grants, or work-study programs.
One of the biggest concerns for borrowers is repayment. Fortunately, there are several repayment options available for second degree seekers who are struggling to make payments:
- Income-Based Repayment: This option allows borrowers to make payments based on their income and family size, and typically stretches repayment out over 20-25 years. After that time, any remaining balance will be forgiven.
- Deferment/Forbearance: If you experience financial hardship or unforeseen circumstances, you may be able to postpone payments temporarily through a deferment or forbearance. This will give you some breathing room to get back on track financially.
- Loan Consolidation: If you have multiple loans, consolidating them into one loan can simplify repayment and may lower your monthly payments.
It’s important to stay up to date on repayment options and changes to loan programs, as they can have a significant impact on your financial situation and ability to repay your loans.
Loan programs for second degree seekers can be a helpful tool in achieving your educational goals, but it’s important to understand the terms and conditions of each loan program before taking out any loans. Work with your financial aid office and lenders to determine which loans are best suited for your needs, and explore alternative funding options as well. Lastly, make sure you are aware of all repayment options available to you, and stay informed about changes to loan programs and policies.
|Maximum Loan Amount
|Federal Direct Loans
|Fixed (varies by year)
|$20,500 (unsubsidized) and up to cost of attendance minus other aid (Grad PLUS)
|Private Student Loans
|Variable or fixed
|Varies by lender
|State Loan Programs
|Varies by program
|Varies by program
Note: Interest rates and loan amounts are subject to change. Please check with your lender or financial aid office for the most up-to-date information.
Government-Backed Financial Aid for Second Degrees
If you are pursuing a second degree and need financial aid, there are various government-backed financial aid options available to you. These programs are designed to help students pay for the cost of education and minimize the burden of student loans. Here are some of the government-backed financial aid options you can consider:
- Federal Pell Grant: This is a need-based grant for undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. The maximum amount for the 2021-2022 academic year is $6,495.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This is a need-based grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The grant ranges from $100 to $4,000.
- Federal Work-Study: This program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. The pay is at least minimum wage and can be used to pay for education expenses.
Other government-backed financial aid options for second-degree students include:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Eligible students can borrow up to $20,500 for graduate or professional degree programs. Interest accrues during all periods of the loan.
- Direct PLUS Loans: Eligible graduate or professional degree students can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. A credit check is required and interest accrues during all periods of the loan.
For more information on government-backed financial aid options for second-degree students, visit the Federal Student Aid website or contact your school’s financial aid office.
|Federal Pell Grant
|Need-based grant for undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.
|Up to $6,495
|Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
|Need-based grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
|Ranges from $100 to $4,000
|Part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need.
|At least minimum wage
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans
|Eligible students can borrow up to $20,500 for graduate or professional degree programs. Interest accrues during all periods of the loan.
|Up to $20,500
|Direct PLUS Loans
|Eligible graduate or professional degree students can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. A credit check is required and interest accrues during all periods of the loan.
|Cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received
Overall, government-backed financial aid options provide a great opportunity for second-degree students to finance their education while minimizing the burden of student loans. Consider all the options available and reach out to your school’s financial aid office for assistance in determining your best course of action.
Tax Benefits for Second Degree Education Expenses
If you’re pursuing a second degree program, it’s important to know that there are tax benefits available to help fund your education. These benefits can help you save a significant amount of money on educational expenses and make your education more affordable.
- Tuition and Fees Deduction: The tuition and fees deduction allows you to subtract up to $4,000 from your taxable income for the years 2018 through 2025. This deduction can be used for any qualified educational expenses, such as tuition, fees, and textbooks.
- Lifetime Learning Credit: The lifetime learning credit provides a credit of up to $2,000 per year for qualified educational expenses. This credit can be claimed for any years of post-secondary education, and there is no limit to the number of years you can claim it. However, the credit starts to phase out at higher income levels.
- American Opportunity Tax Credit: The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides a credit of up to $2,500 per year for qualified educational expenses. This credit can be claimed for the first four years of post-secondary education for undergraduate degrees. However, the credit starts to phase out at higher income levels.
It’s important to note that you cannot claim both the lifetime learning credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit in the same year for the same student. You should consult with a tax advisor to determine which benefit is most advantageous for your situation.
Additionally, there may be other tax benefits available for education expenses, such as employer-sponsored tuition assistance programs or state-specific tax credits. Be sure to consult with a tax professional to determine what benefits you may be eligible for.
|Tuition and Fees Deduction
|Lifetime Learning Credit
|$2,000 per year
|Phase-out with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $59,000 for single filers, $118,000 for joint filers
|American Opportunity Tax Credit
|$2,500 per year
|Phase-out with MAGI over $80,000 for single filers, $160,000 for joint filers
Overall, tax benefits can significantly reduce the cost of a second degree program and make it more affordable for individuals who are seeking to further their education and advance their careers. Be sure to consult with a tax professional to determine which tax benefit options are best for your particular situation.
FAQs about Funding for a Second Degree
1. Can I get financial aid for a second degree?
Yes, in many cases you can qualify for financial aid for pursuing a second degree. It’s important to check with the specific college or organization offering the degree to see what funding options they have available.
2. How do I apply for funding for a second degree?
The application process for funding for a second degree is typically the same as the process for applying for funding for a first degree. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and researching any scholarships or grants that are available.
3. Can I get funding for a second degree if I already have student loan debt?
Yes, having student loan debt from a previous degree does not disqualify you from receiving funding for a second degree. However, it may impact the amount of aid you are eligible for.
4. Are there any restrictions on what degrees I can receive funding for?
Each funding organization or college may have their own restrictions on what degrees are eligible for funding. For example, some may only fund degrees in certain fields or only for specific levels of education.
5. How much funding is available for a second degree?
The amount of funding available for a second degree varies based on the organization offering it. You can typically find this information on the organization’s website or by contacting their financial aid office.
6. Can I receive funding for a second degree if I am an international student?
Yes, international students may be able to receive funding for a second degree. However, the application process and eligibility requirements may be different than those for domestic students.
We hope these FAQs have helped answer some of your questions about funding for a second degree. Remember, it’s important to research and apply for as many funding options as possible to help ease the financial burden of pursuing a degree. Thanks for reading and please come back soon for more helpful tips and information!