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Financing another degree

Date posted:  8/20/15 09:15:00 AM Individuals should know the options available for financing an additional degree before making the final decision to attend.

Furthering education as an adult can have a few different benefits. Whether someone is interested in learning something new or deciding to further his or her career, going back to school can provide substantial benefits, noted Forbes.

"Professionals are continually viewing higher credentialing as important for advancement," Howard Horton, president of the New England College of Business and Finance told Forbes. "While the decision to go back to school is, of course, a personal one - the trend line is clearly demonstrating that this is the choice more and more professionals are making."

No matter the reason an individual wants to head back to school, they should have a plan to finance additional degrees. Only when a funding solution is settled upon can they finally enroll. 

"Additional schooling may be appealing to certain businesses."

Speaking with the boss 
Business Insider recommended that interested individuals should discuss an additional degree with their bosses to see if they can obtain supplementary funding from the company. Additional schooling may be appealing to certain businesses if the goal is to use what is learned in the office. 

If employees decide to bring up the topic of additional education with their employer, they should provide a convincing pitch. 

"Usually, an employee has to already been delivering great results within the company," Roderick Lewis, international relations director at ISCTE Business School, University Institute of Lisbon said, according to Business Insider. 

Employees who have good track records demonstrate to their bosses they are capable of providing even more if they obtained additional education. When individuals start the conversation, they should bring up evidence of their strong performance and connect the graduate degree or certificate with future performance improvement or beneficial outcome. 

In addition, it's important to decide whether to ask for full funding or only a certain portion of the tuition to be paid for by the company. Some companies may provide tuition reimbursement information and criteria in new hire paperwork. Preparation for the pitch is key to successfully convincing a company to help out when it's time to pay for additional degrees. 

Research assistant positions 
According to U.S. News & World Report, an additional way to make paying for another degree more manageable is to ask about assistantship opportunities through the schools. This will be a particularly great option for those who know precisely what they plan to get their degree in. Knowing what will be studied helps prospective students search for assistant positions, and it will help students with the overall learning experience. 

Helping with teaching courses in the field can increase learning opportunities while earning a degree. 

Using a home equity line of credit 
Another option current homeowners have for financing more school is a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. According to Forbes contributor, Troy Onink, mortgage and home equity loans are one common way many individuals pay for higher education. With a HELOC, homeowners can withdraw funds as needed and can use the money as appropriate. Another benefit to this type of loan is that it does not require a long- and drawn-out application process. A person's home is likely his or her most substantial asset. Taking a loan out using the house as collateral means people are more likely to want to stay on top of payments and ensure they repay the lender as quickly as possible. 

"An additional way to make paying for another degree more manageable is to ask about assistantship opportunities."

In addition, because an individual already qualified for a U.S. home mortgage, they are likely qualified borrowers. Having a more relaxed application process can make a HELOC a more appealing option for those looking to finance further education. 

Make sure to discuss this loan option with a lender, because if an individual defaults on this loan, he or she can lose the home. 

Apply for scholarships 
According to U.S. News & World Report, there are many scholarships options available to individuals. Prospective students should check with their alma mater for tuition reimbursement for attending grad schools.

Local scholarship opportunities are a great way to fund an additional degree. Candidates should research to see if they qualify for any of these local funds. For example, the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program awards individuals who excelled academically and participated in sports during undergrad. Prospective students should think about what makes them unique and seek out a scholarship that applies to them. 

Save up 
Of course the simplest way to pay for more school is by saving money. Those interested in enrolling may want to sit down and figure out their finances and where they can cut corners and what they can officially afford to pay. Getting another degree may ultimately be a substantial return on your investment.