There is no question that certification and training are expensive. For many, money is the largest barrier to getting the training and materials that they need in order to get certified or start a career in the IT industry. Fortunately, there are many financial aid options that can help you get where you want to be and this article will list many of the assistance programs that are available.
There are a huge variety of places in which to get IT/Certification training. Where you get your financial aid will depend on the type of institution that you are considering. There are 2 basic types of institutions that you can attend.
Accredited College or University - This includes community colleges.
Training Provider - These organizations are non-accredited schools including boot camps that offer IT/Certification training. Within this category there are those institutions that are approved by the certification vendor (i.e. Microsoft CTECs) and those that are not.
If needed, the availability of financial aid should be an important factor in determining the institution that you select. The first thing to do is check with the institution that you plan to attend. If you are interested in an accredited college or university, you will likely be able to take advantage of grants and loans provided by the US Department of Education in the U.S. or similar entity in your country. Many non-accredited schools and boot camps offer assistance via partnerships with financial institutions. The existence of such a program is one way of evaluating the credibility of the school.
If none of the above options are available, you can look into getting a private bank loan from a variety of financial institutions. Keep in mind that you may find yourself in a situation in which you have multiple financial aid programs available. You may have to research the interest rates, amount of the loan or grant, payback rate and other information to find the best deal for you. Also, keep in mind that some financial aid packages will require that you attend particular institutions, so make sure that you understand the terms of your loan.
Let's take a look at some of the various resources available:
College Loans: FAFSA - This is the official US Department of Education financial aid website. This site is geared for those interested in getting aid for college education.
FastWeb - The signup process is fairly lengthy, however, when you are done this website will list all of the worldwids scholarships and competitions that you are elgible for based on the answers that you provide in the signup form. They provide detailed information about how to apply for each opportunity.
FinAid - This site provides information about various education grants and loans available. While mostly dedicated to college education, there are other types of resources provided.
Scholarships.com - Find money for college by conducting a free college scholarship search. Scholarships.com will compare you to our database of over 600,000 college scholarships, worth more than 1.4 billion dollars. The scholarship awards that match your profile will be delivered to you immediately online.
cuStudentLoans.org - cuStudentLoans helps students and parents find private student loans through not-for-profit credit unions.
Wells Fargo Education Connection Loan - The Wells Fargo Education Connection loans are private, credit-based loans for traditional and non-traditional students and can be used for technical training.
This is not a complete list, but includes some very good resources to help you get started. If you are currently employed, make sure that you check with your employer to see if they cover education expenses for employees before unecessarily taking out a loan. Best of luck!
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