Dean College School of Continuing Studies students discussing how they're going to pay for their continuing education classes

Choosing to go back to school as an adult is only the first step of the process. You also need to pick a school to attend (one that offers the program that you're looking for), as well as find a way to pay for your courses. The latter is where it gets a bit tricky, but luckily, there are plenty of options that don't result in having to take out expensive, privately owned college loans.

How do you intend to pay for your new college degree goals without going into a ton of debt? Here are some of your best options.

Federal Student Loans

If you absolutely need to take out student loans to pay for your education, make sure that they are done through the federal government. These loans have a lower interest rate and more flexible payment options than private student loans. In order to qualify for a student loan through the federal government, you'll need to fill out a FAFSA and make sure that the required information is sent to your school of choice. They will take it from there, as the Office of Financial Aid will send you details about the loans that you were approved for.

Ask Your Employer for Assistance

Even though your employer may not have an official school reimbursement policy, it never hurts to ask. If the education that you're receiving will benefit them in any way, they may offer to reimburse you for some or all of your tuition costs, as long as you're willing to use that education to continue working for them in the future. Obviously, this can vary based on the employer.

Go to School Part-Time and Pay Cash

If you can afford to, there's absolutely nothing wrong with going to school on a part-time basis and paying cash for the courses that you're taking. While not everyone will be able to do this, it's a good option if you can and don't want to add to your overall debt. You may have to take a course or two at a time, but you can get it done!

Use Your 529 Plan

Even though 529 plans are touted for parents who want to save money for their children's future college educations, they aren't limited to just that purpose. If you know that you'll be going back to school in the future, you can take out a 529 plan on yourself, setting aside money tax-free that you can then use to pay for your courses. Even better, you can change the beneficiary on your 529 account, so if you don't use all of the funds, you can continue to contribute to it on behalf of your children.

Don't Forget About the Lifetime Learning Credit

Finally, the IRS has a Lifetime Learning Credit that you can claim on your taxes. If you qualify, it is worth up to $2,000 per tax return. You can then use that money to help fund your education.

As you can see, there are plenty of creative options when it comes to funding your education at Dean College and bettering yourself intellectually for all your future endeavors. Interested in learning more? Contact our financial aid team to discuss your options!