While a change in or loss of employment can be a powerful motivator for many people to go to college to learn new skills and gain new credentials, funding your education can seem impossible with no steady source of income. At the same time, with a deepening recession and a still-growing unemployment rate, the job market is not favorable for many who have been laid off, especially those who lack a college degree. Luckily, campus-based aid programs can help make attending college possible for the unemployed. Several community colleges and at least one private college are now offering tuition discounts for members of their communities who were recently laid off. Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA has been making headlines recently by announcing the revival of its program that waives tuition for prospective students who have recently lost their jobs. The college has rolled out this tuition waiver in past recessions, allowing displaced workers to attend full-time or part-time and pay only student fees, which are currently $28 per credit. Student financial aid is available to help especially cash-strapped students cover the cost of fees, as well. Students are able to take 12 credits tuition-free each term, but must register after students paying full price. A similar program is being offered at Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ. Reading Area Community College in Reading, PA also offers recently unemployed students a one-semester-only tuition waiver covering the cost of up to 13 credits. All of these community college tuition waivers, as well as one offered by Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI are profiled in an article in Inside Higher Ed. Other schools may offer discounted tuition or additional college scholarships or grants for students who have lost a major source of income due to the recession. Nearly all colleges are able to offer some additional assistance if students or their parents are facing financial hardships, though, so don't assume college is out of reach just because you don't live in Southfield, MI or Paramus, NJ. Talk to your financial aid office and see what they can do to help. And taking some time to conduct a free college scholarship search couldn't hurt, either.
Free Tuition for the Unemployed