The term “non-traditional students” refers to students who are not enrolled full-time in a four-year college or university immediately after high school. Though the name would suggest otherwise, these students actually make up the majority of students seeking college degrees today. In fact, as recently as a few years ago, only 5.2 million of 18 million undergraduates were considered traditional students. To put it another way, a mere 29% of college undergraduates are technically traditional students.
With so many more non-traditional students (older, married, divorced, working, attending school part-time, attending community college first, etc.) seeking college degrees, it is clear that loan options designed exclusively to meet the needs of traditional students are going to leave a lot of individuals without help. So what student loan options do exist for non-traditional students?
The Office of Federal Student Aid.
As part of the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Federal Student Aid awards grants, loans, and work-study funds to those who need help paying for college. Each year the Office of Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion to students. Federal Perkins Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and the Federal Perkins Loan are all possible loan options for non-traditional students.
Private Student Loans.
Available through private lenders, including state agencies, national banks, local and regional credit unions, and more, Private Student Loans often have attractive interest rates and flexible repayment terms for non-traditional students.
Mortgage/Equity Lines of Credit.
Non-traditional students who are homeowners may be able to obtain a cash-out refinance loan, or secure an equity line on their home (with interest on the first $100,000 being tax-free) to pay for college.
Single Parent Financial Programs.
Though few and far between, there are some financial assistance programs available for single parents seeking to earn a college degree. For example, some of these programs include grants that do not require repayment, such as the Federal Pell Grant Program or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Sallie Mae also has a variety of scholarships for single parents. Stafford loans are not exclusive to single parents, but do offer low interest rates and are federally subsidized according to income, making them an appealing option.
In addition to the above student loan options for non-traditional students, grants and scholarships are available from state governments, the federal government, and private and nonprofit organizations. In addition, many non-traditional students may find that taking out loans from family members is a viable way to pay for college.
Contact LendKey today to discuss your student loan options, regardless of whether you fit the traditional student mold or not. We have a variety of loan options available to non-traditional students across the country, so you can pay for college with ease.