About a decade ago, going back to college was a popular feature of senior citizen retirement plans. In 2007, the National Center for Education Statistics had tracked a steady increase in the number of older adults ranging in ages between 50 and 64, who went back to higher educational institutions to pursue a degree. About 625,000 seniors went back to college in 2007, which peaked to as many as 8.9 million by the year 2010.
However, the years thereafter saw the numbers started going on a continuous decline.
Presumably, the effects of the 2008-2009 Great Recession took a toll on the economic resources of older adults; making it impossible for the next wave of retirement-eligible seniors to include going back to college as a future plan.
Due to this, higher education authorities saw the need to focus on the needs of older college students. In the Hechinger Report published by a non-profit news organization that gives attention to inequality in education, Mark Kantrowitz, SVP and publisher of Edvisors.com said
”Most older adults assume that just because they are no longer 17 years old, or are not working, they do not qualify for financial aid,”
Financial Aid Available to Older Adults Seeking to Continue and Complete Higher Education
Senior citizens planning to go back to college should know that there are several financial aid packages available to them. Be it federal, state, or private grants, older adults should explore financial aid under the non-traditional students category.
Federal Grants – Information about federal grants can be accessed by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the initial step to determining the federal grant that best suits one’s financial need.
State Grants – All state governments receive federal funding in the form of block grants, or grant-in-aid in specific amounts. State and local authorities allocate them as grants for various programs; including providing support to both traditional and non-traditional students needing financial assistance.
Private Grants – Public and private colleges and universities are likewise important sources of financial aid available to older adults. Most of which are endowments coming from private individuals or foundations. Seniors can find out about current non-traditional educational grants by inquiring from the institution’s Financial Aid office.
Cashing Out the Equity Value of an Owned-Property as an Additional Source of Funding
Although educational grants can help older adults pay for college tuition, pursuing a degree gives rise to other expenses that could eat away money allotted for basic needs.
One way by which senior citizens can augment their economic resources is by cashing in on the value of their property. This can be done by taking out a loan against an owned-home, but without being burdened with monthly payments to settle the obligation.
An equity release though is available to older adults aged 55 or above who currently live in an owned-home. That is because the financing scheme works on the principle that a real estate usually appreciates in value.
The total amount due as payment for the cash borrowed can be deferred upon the sale of the property held as collateral. Selling transpires once the senior borrower passes away; or has entered an assisted living facility.
However senior citizens should take note of the costs they have to shoulder before they can close an equity release deal. As the expenditures include various fees such as legal, valuation, processing, consultation and/or completion fees, as well as building insurance, it would be best to get a hold of an equity release calculator cost determinator, before agreeing to a lender’s offer.