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Types Of Financial Aid For Two-Year Colleges

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Earning a college degree is worth it. On average, students who receive a college degree earn $24,900 more annually than their counterparts who do not pursue higher education after high school. Furthermore, careers that require employees have college degrees tend to be more reliable and recession-proof. For example, in 2018, the unemployment rate for individuals ages 25 to 34 with a college degree was 2.2%, compared to 5.7% for individuals of the same age who had received only a high school education.

Beyond a higher salary, employees with a degree tend to benefit in additional ways. For instance, those employees are more likely to receive access to employer-provided health insurance coverage and employer-provided retirement plans. These perks make the benefits of a college education valuable throughout one’s life and well into retirement years. 

Unfortunately, some individuals worry they don’t have the financial means to pursue a postsecondary education, but that need not be the case. Students who aspire to higher-earning careers have several types of financial aid opportunities available — including grants, loans, work-study programs and scholarships. Some of these options are available through the federal government and many are earmarked especially for junior college financial aid.


Grants are awards of money from the federal and state governments that are based on financial need. Unlike loans, grants generally do not need to be repaid. Federal grants for community college are available through the U.S. Department of Education Office. Some grants, such as those originating through the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), are resources for adult students.

Additional grants are specially designed for minority students, indigenous students and students with disabilities. Still, other grants are based on a specific curriculum, especially for in-demand industries that are short-staffed, such as STEM fields. Interested students can research the Internet for grant opportunities.

Student Loans

Loans tailored to students to help pay for post-secondary education and fees, such as supplies and textbooks, are known as student loans. They differ from conventional loans in that their interest rates can be lower and the lender might defer students’ repayment schedules while students remain in school or look for employment.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study jobs enable students to earn money for their education by working part-time, while they attend classes. Students earn the federal minimum wage while employed in the temporary positions.


Like grants, scholarships do not need to be repaid. However, scholarships tend to be contingent on more factors. Criteria for scholarships can include academic achievement and grade point average, athletic ability, and community service and involvement.  Lists of community college scholarships can be found on the Internet.

Many scholarships are established by family members in honor or memory of loved ones. Students wishing to earn one of these memorial scholarships usually write an essay explaining why the honoree’s topic is important and valuable to them. In doing so, the family members share touching and important information about their loved ones while helping dedicated and deserving students reach their goals of higher education.

Some scholarships for two-year colleges are available directly from the colleges. Interested students should check with the college’s financial aid office.

Financial Aid at Generations College

Generations College has financial aid opportunities — including scholarships and work-study employment — for qualifying students who wish to earn an associate degree in the fields of business administration, criminal justice, paralegal studies and court reporting. For questions about Generations College’s financial aid options, visit the financial aid FAQ page or contact a Generations College financial aid counselor, who will help you navigate the process.

Federal Student Financial Aid Options

The first step to applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Information collected in the FAFSA form determines current and prospective U.S. college students’ eligibility for grants, loans and other financial aid. To be considered for financial aid, complete your FAFSA form now.

The United States Department of Education offers direct subsidized student loans and direct unsubsidized student loans to eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education, including community college. Learn more about these low-interest loans.