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Loan, Grant or Scholarship: What is the Best Financial Aid for Your Trade School Training?

6 stacks of coins increasing in size with a small graduation cap.By Jul DeGeus

Furthering your education by going to a trade school is a quick way to invest in your future and advance your career. While going back to school can be costly, there are different types of resources available to help you get the training you need to be competitive in today’s job market:


The most common option for paying for tuition is a student loan. This loan is a lump sum of money that is to be used for educational spending and must be paid back, often with interest. There are different types of loans that you can apply for, like federal, state or private loans, but regardless of what type of loan you chose, you must understand the requirements of the loan contract. Come up with a list of questions to ask your loan provider so that there aren’t any surprises when it comes to paying back your debt.


A scholarship is an amount of money that you “win” for your education. From essay writing to art projects, there are many different types of scholarships that you can apply for. Scholarship money awarded to you does not have to be repaid, however, there is usually an obligation associated with it, like maintaining a certain grade point average or participating in an internship. It’s important that you understand how you can use the money you are requesting and know the terms to which you are agreeing to when you apply for each scholarship. There’s no limit as to how many scholarships you can apply for (and there are billions out there), but keep in mind that they are competitive. Make sure your submission is unique from the rest.


Grants are almost identical to scholarships except that there is less overall funding and, if awarded a grant, the amount is based on the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid; no chance to win with an essay or art piece. Most grant awards are need-based aid, in other words, for those with low income. Like scholarships, grants do not need to be paid back, but with a high demand of grant requests and a lower amount of funding than scholarships, money can run out fast. Fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible for a higher chance of receiving a grant.


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