How to Pay for the Online Certification Program
For many Americans, the pandemic has sparked an interest in career advancement, especially in how they can improve future job stability. Money reports that there has been a huge increase in enrollment on online learning platforms like Coursera since March, with many looking to improve their skills through certification programs.
According to a recent Strada Education Network poll , one in five Americans says they will pursue further education in the next six months with a preference for certificates or continuing education programs.
While these programs may be less expensive than traditional degrees, you can still owe thousands of dollars. These programs may not qualify for federal financial assistance, but fortunately, there are other funding options.
Start with your employer
According to a Wall Street Journal report , while many companies offer tuition fees or tuition compensation, fewer than 10% of employees enjoy this benefit. Your company may offer up to $ 5,250 in tax-free educational assistance , so you ask if they are willing to contribute before borrowing money.
Apply for a scholarship
Take the time to explore scholarship options. You may apply for more opportunities than you expect, and you won’t know for sure until you apply. Get started with Fastweb and Scholarships.com . You can also explore funding options through Coursera or Springboard .
You should also look for scholarships by industry or diversity in professional or trade organizations. For example, there are several scholarships available for people seeking Certified Financial Planner status, which requires an expensive eight-course certification program. Another example: Flatiron School’s popular online coding bootcamp offers scholarships for women .
Ask for a payment plan or discount
Depending on the program, you may have access to a quarterly or monthly payment plan. You should also see if you are eligible for any discounts. Some programs may offer a break for veterans, military personnel, or college students.
Explore Private Student Loans
After you have exhausted other options, you may want to consider applying for private student loans. While not all lenders will offer private loans for non-degree programs, there are several options, such as Sallie Mae . But you have to take a closer look at the best interest rates.
However, before submitting your application, please check when you will need to start making payments. Some lenders will allow you to defer payments until graduation and will provide you with a six-month grace period after the end of the program.
Look for a personal loan
You may also consider applying for an individual loan, which can offer interest rates ranging from 5% to 36%, according to Bankrate . The most competitive options – with lower interest rates and no commission – are looking for people with a strong credit profile. This includes good credit for excellent credit, low debt-to-income ratio and stable income. Depending on your credit profile, a personal loan may be cheaper than paying with a credit card.