Many of our country’s would-be calculators and balancers of big business and government budgets face a cruel financial quandary. Despite coinciding personal desire and public need for qualified accountants, many aspiring accountants face a major deficit of personal resources to pursue educational preparation for a lucrative career path. Following are some viable sources of vital capital for funding an accounting education.
Call Uncle Sam first
In the context of student financial assistance, everybody has a rich uncle. The U.S. government administers many free or extremely cost-efficient educational assistance programs. Uncle Sam manifests his special generosity toward America’s study body in the following ways:
• Pell Grant
As its name implies, this free money requires no repayment. Federal Pell grants are need-based and available only to undergraduate students. The maximum Pell Grant award is $5,500 for the 2013-2014 academic year and may continue for up to six academic years.
• Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (“FSEOG”)
Like their Pell counterparts, FSEOG funds require no repayment and are available to undergraduate students who exhibit exceptional economic need. Precise amount of FSEOG awards depends upon fund availability at the school’s financial aid office and the applicant’s individual level of need.
This federal student financial aid format entails holding part-time on-campus employment scheduled around the student’s class schedule. Wages are typically competitive and applied directly toward the student/employee’s current educational expenses.
• Federal student loans
Although federal student loans do require subsequent repayment, they typically feature attractive terms and low rates of interest, as they are government-subsidized.
You may visit fafsa.gov to complete a Free Application for Student Aid (“FAFSA”) online. Submission of just one FAFSA is all it takes to apply for all the above federal student aid simultaneously.
State funding sources
Many states also offer grants and low-cost subsidized loans for students. Start your search for state-funded student financial aid at your state’s department of higher education.
Sometimes, colleges and universities are the best sources of financing their own attendance costs. Talk to a financial aid counselor at the school(s) you plan to attend for more details about low-cost loans or scholarships available through the institution.
Look outside the box
Numerous accounting scholarships are available through private business and professional associations. While no repayment is required, eligibility criteria do vary widely among funding sources. Some scholarships are need-based while others are merit-based. Visit an exhaustive listing of accounting scholarships along with their respective application deadlines and eligibility criteria.
If you are female or an ethnic or racial minority, you may qualify for general educational scholarships offered by affinity groups based on such demographic affiliations. Just a few major examples are the National Association for Women, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans, and National Association for the Advancement of Hispanic People. Each of these organizations maintains an online website wherein you may search for information about scholarships.
The foregoing discussion should aptly illustrate that overcoming seemingly insurmountable financial obstacles to obtaining a quality education in accounting is easy for determined scholars who persist. Start your own quest for professional prestige and high income right now by taking full advantage of the above-described resources for educational funding. It is your first but most important accounting assignment you will ever complete.