From the Admissions Desk: Should I Apply For Financial Aid?

This is Part 1 of a 4-part blog series on financing your education.

You are not alone if you aren’t sure whether to apply for financial aid like scholarships, grants, or loans. But the problem is, if you don’t answer that question early you may never move forward with your plans to go to school. Why? It’s simple, finances drive every aspect of the decision-making process. 

We know this because applicants to IYRS tell us. Finances are the #1 constraint for applicants, especially the 70% of IYRS students who consider themselves career changers or upskillers.* Enrolling in a full-time program like IYRS means limiting or eliminating your full-time work schedule. So, how can you plan for tuition, tools, and cost of living without knowing your financial aid? Keep in mind that 100% of IYRS students who applied for financial aid resources earned some between 2017-2020. IYRS 

So let’s get started. You know you want to pursue more education or training. You have some ideas of what you want to learn. And, you may even have some schools or programs in mind. Like any purchase, it’s a good tactic to compare your options. In order to compare, the price point matters. 

It is important to know a few main ideas about financial aid - before the technical guidance - to understand. 

1. Every school has a sticker price, but not all schools offer the same financial aid options

When you research schools and programs go the extra step to find out whether the institution is non-profit or for-profit. Confirm whether the institution participates in Federal Student Aid Programs. And, inquire on the types of aid the institution itself awards. It is also reasonable to ask the administrators responsible for financial aid what percent or number of students are awarded aid by type. 

2. Qualifying for financial aid resources does not mean you must accept those resources.

Applying for Federal Financial Aid does not automatically mean you accept the aid awarded. Rather, it enables you to see what is available to you. From there, you can make informed decisions about what aid you want to accept. Similarly, if you are awarded a grant or scholarship you have the responsibility to read the terms of those awards then decide to accept or decline. 

3. Financial aid comes in various forms, including grants, scholarships, and loans

There are a few general categories of financial aid. Grants and scholarships are forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid (unless a student withdraws) that require a student to meet qualifying criteria. Loans are repaid with interest. Learn how the interest works on student loans! Work study is as it sounds, you work to earn to pay for school. And, finally special aid programs, like those for military families, have both qualifying criteria and restrictions.

This blog series will go deeper into financing your education now that we’ve tackled the first big question: Should I apply for financial aid? Wait, we didn’t answer that question? No. You need to answer it. But here’s what the IYRS Admissions Team shares with applicants. Research and apply to the financial aid resources available to you to see what you qualify so that you are fully informed of your options. 

We’ll see you for Part 2: How do I apply for financial aid?