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You’ve decided to continue your education. Congratulations! With jobs becoming more and more competitive, advancing one’s education is a great way to enhance your prospects.

Yet there’s the matter of paying for it all. The news is loaded with stories about escalating tuitions and the cost of living increases while going to school. Don’t let the media fool you, where there’s a will, there’s a way to finance your personal advancement. Some diligent spade work can unearth an incredible wealth of colleges online. Here are five tips to help you achieve a better education:

There are the Pell Grants. This is money provided by the Federal government. You must fill out a Free Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA Grant) to determine one’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If qualified, and the Pell is based primarily on need, the applicant can get just short of $5,000. Not enough to pay all the costs, but a good start.

Next comes University Grants. A lot of schools have very generous trust funds. They are set up specifically to provide online college grants. Harvard is so cash rich it bases its tuition as much on need as merit. The best thing to do in this situation is to consult your university and just plain ask. You’d be surprised how quickly they’ll point you to the money. After all, they don’t get paid from the student tuition, not the grant that enabled the tuition.

There are Corporate Grants. Innumerable companies have their own trust funds. For them, it’s a good way to recruit higher quality personnel. A good place to start sourcing these grants is Scholarship America which is best known for two particular programs, Dollars for Scholars and the Scholarship Management Services.

The Armed Services – The military will provide assistance for anything from music school to going to MIT. After graduation, applicants are obligated to do military service, but that also looks quite good on a resume. How effective is this program? 56% of the Army, Navy and Air Force graduate from their respective Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC).

The Private Sector – Simply go to Google and type in “scholarship programs.” The engine will spit out nearly 2.5 million different entries for pell grant. That’s a virtual ton of educational programs, and will no doubt involve some sort of advance searching to refine that 2.5 million to your specific needs. Still, with a clear objective in mind and some time, one can no doubt come up with more than a few private organizations that will be glad to help.

So, the picture most definitely isn’t as bleak as some might lead you to believe for going to an online college. Again, a little time, a clear objective, and student loans and grants can be yours.

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