Friday, July 29, 2011

Orange Road: Employer Pays!

This is a great way to get your education, work in your field and let your employer put you through school. There are still companies who do this and many different ways programs are structured - from you having to commit to a specific number of years that you will stay employed after your get your degree to no real commitment at all, you just have to stay employed to stay in school (on their dime).

Nursing is a field where this practice is common. With a basic education in nursing, hospitals hire their staff and them put them through the full fledged nursing program while on the job. The military is also great about paying for college while on active duty. This could be a dual win in that you could be learning one skill while active duty and studying for a completely different degree in college. The point here is that there are many different ways to get that degree, you just have to be willing to look at as many as you can find!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Education - Private Money

This is a less thought of Orange Road to financing your education. Private money could be family money, a personal loan, a gift or grants or scholarships offered through families or organizations.

There is more of this money out there than you think. you have to ask and you have to snoop around. Look into ethnic organizations, service clubs (I know I mentioned this already, but it's worth repeating), and community organizations. Finally, ask people you know, you will be surprised at how many resources are out there for the taking!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Education Orange Roads - Loans

Student loans are how most people think they will finance their education, and most do. I would encourage you to really play your journey if you take this Orange Road. There are so many other financial sources to go to school that I would say taking out loans would be my last resort.

You must first file with FAFSA. Most loan programs require you to do this, so don't get rejected, start here. Getting an education does not guarantee that high paying job you dream of, even if your school guarantees you a job when you graduate, what will you do if they don't perform on their promises? You can't discharge student loan debt in a personal bankruptcy so no matter what, you have to pay this money back. Click here to learn more about student loans and more!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Grants are distinctly different from both scholarships and student loans in that they are free gift money—so unlike student loans that must be repaid—and primarily need-based, compared to traditionally merit-based scholarships.

The funding sources for grants are:
  • Federal
  • State
  • Popular Minority
  • African American Students
  • Hispanic Students
  • Asian Students
  • Grants for Women
  • Popular Student-Specific Grants
You can learn more about Grants or "Free Money" by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Orange Road: Government Financial Aid

Let me get right to the thing I think you are thinking about federal student aid, I bet you DO qualify financially. I thought that our family made too much money (heck, we're not wealthy, but we are certainly not living in poverty), when in fact I qualified for a Pell Grant - FREE Money!

This may seem like the obvious starting point to going back to school, but I didn't know how to apply. I suppose I just assumed I would qualify for any kind of financial aid, especially the kind that doesn't have to be paid back. The fact of the matter is there is TONS of money out there for the taking.

Visit FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) here. When I first googled FAFSA I got a site that looked legit and I went through the whole process (took almost an hour and you do need info from your tax returns - last two years) and at the end there was a request for my credit card to pay $70 to review and submit the application. I thought that was weird for Free Application for Federal Student Aid - turns out it is a company that reviews applications - I was on the wrong site. It was free and between FAFSA and the financial aid office at your school, you will have all the help you need. You can get to the correct site by clicking my link above or you can type in

Monday, July 18, 2011

Paying - Orange Road - More Scholarships!

There are way too many scholarships out there for me to cover them all here, but look in the town where you live, check out the service clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimists, Lyons and others for scholarship opportunities. It is my understanding that though there may be some parameters about how scholarships are awarded, I know that there is room for case-by-case evaluation of specific situations. When I was a member of Alameda Rotary, I was on the scholarship committee and we didn't have applications from anyone outside of high school. If you reach out to your Chamber of Commerce, you can get a list of all the service clubs in your area. Contact them and see what they offer for educational benefits and scholarships. If it doesn't say you have to be a certain age, apply! Every couple hundred (or thousand) dollars helps. I say contact your local service clubs and inquire, I know I'm going to!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Paying Cont. Orange Road - Scholarship Contests & Sweepstakes

Being a winner of many contests myself, this was one avenue I was glad to find! It's free money if you can get it and for me, it's fun trying. From what I can tell, this Orange Road varies from the standard ways of evaluating applications for other scholarships - this is more random and depending on the contest marketing and length of the contest, your odds may better or worse. It is my way of thinking that you can't win if you don't play so put your entry in and if you win, whoo-hoo!

*Scholarship contests and sweepstakes typically won’t ask for your academic achievements, standardized test scores or financial needs, but they’re also more competitive because they’re so easy to apply for and winners are usually chosen at random. Your chances of winning in a contest or sweepstakes vary widely, based on the number of applicants who enter each drawing. Requirements may be as simple as sending off an email or completing an online form, and you won’t be asked to come up with an essay on why you’re deserving of the free money.

The more specific you are in your search, the better your chances of landing scholarship money because the pool of applicants gets smaller as your search gets more specialized. But someone has to win in these scholarship contests and sweepstakes, so if it isn’t too time-consuming, you’re feeling lucky, and the site you found is legitimate, consider applying for a chance to land one of these awards. Remember, however, to beware of scholarship scams. While many contests and sweepstakes will ask you to fill out online forms in order for you to be eligible for the awards, you should never have to pay a processing fee to win money. Check out our examples of scholarship contests and sweepstakes that we think may we worth a shot.

* This information was taken directly from Visit their website for a wealth of information.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paying For College - Orange Road Scholarships

The biggest obstacle for most people to go back to school is how to pay for it. I know making time is a big factor, too, but I suspect if you had the financial resources you would find the time.

Funny thing about time, Dave said to me this morning about who would make lunches, "Let's both do what we need to do and whoever has more time will make lunches." Really? Do either one of us have more time than the other? No. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 365 days in a year. It's how we utilize the time that matters. He ended up making the lunches I think just because he didn't want me to give him the above dissertation. I digress.

There are a number of ways to pay to go back to school; scholarships, grants, and loans are just a few of the obvious. Being obvious I believe makes them the most accessible but not necessarily the easiest to obtain. Let's start with Scholarships - there are many places to go for scholarships and an equal number of hoops you may have to jump through to get them. Some may require you to write an essay with your application, or you may have to be a specific nationality, or be a certain income level. If you are American Indian, look into your family background and see if your tribe offers scholarships, I bet the answer is yes!

Check out websites such as,,,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Share Your Ideas!

Did you go back to school well out of high school? How did you do it? Why did you decide to go back to school? Share your ideas!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's Be Real!

I don't know about you, but I'm no spring chicken and other than getting that coveted high school diploma, I've gotten most of my education from the SHK University. For those of you who took the easier route as a young person, that would be the School of Hard Knocks!

So many wonderful life lessons were born out of painful experiences and through those times, I've realized how important a formal education is. The best part is that you're never too old to join the ranks of college students and frankly, you will likely get more out of it as a willing participant than you would as a hostage.

Did you look at what you want to study and what colleges are in your area? What about online studies? You figure out a place to start and then we'll work on registration and how to pay for it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Formally Or Not So Much?

There are many ways to get an education, simply learning something new by watching someone else do it is educational. In my earlier post, I asked you to clarify for yourself what kind of education you are looking for and what you want to learn.

You can learn on the job, through intern programs, by going to the library and getting a book or series of books on a specific subject, taking certificate courses at specialized school, even online schools are an option. All of this and more are ways to further your breadth of knowledge outside of attending a junior college or University. If you are eager to learn, you can see that there are many, many options.

Did you decide what you want to study and why? I did. I'm going to get back to school via a community college and I have declared my major as AA in Communication. Let's look at what I'm doing 25 years out of high school and how I'm doing it, in addition to as many other Orange Roads as we can muster this month!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Education: Where to Start?

Going back to school can be both exciting and scary. Depending on where you left off, you may need to do more than someone who has a degree but is seeking another one.

Let's not put the cart before the horse here, what do you want to go back to school for? Do you know what you want to be or are you going back to school as part of the process to figure that out? These are basic questions that may seem obvious to some, but others may not realize that getting enrolled in some general eduction classes at a community college could be just the ticket to discovering your new dream career. Start with these few questions and then we'll explore different kinds of schools, opportunities to get experience and the ever daunting, how to pay for it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Celebrating Independence in July!

July is the month of Independence so let's look at a new dream not come true: "I want to go back to school but I don't think I have the time or money to do it."

Continuing your education will not only open doors in your existing life, but it's quite possible a whole new life could be on the horizon if you want it. I am back to school after more than 25 years and I'm here to tell you, it's the best thing I've ever done. We're going to investigate some ways to help you think differently about making time and finding Orange Roads to finance your Back-to-School adventure! Grab your book bag and put on a clean shirt, we're going back to school!