Criminal justice is a popular career choice for many.
However, competition can be very stiff since there are so many applicants. Some law enforcement positions in a couple of agencies even have at least one year-long waiting lists.
This is why education is extremely important. Having high school diploma or a mere certification may not always be enough to land a quality job or great opportunities for promotion. Candidates may need to earn additional qualifications such as an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree on criminal justice, forensic science, or criminology.
However, we all know that college is not cheap and can be downright expensive in fact. The College Board roughly calculates that attending community college can cost an average of $2,700 a year. On the other hand public universities charge around $7,600 annually for in-state students and around $11,990 annually for out-of-state students.
For private non-profit universities, tuition fees can cost an average of $27,200 a year. These figures doesn’t include textbooks and other miscellaneous fees, which means a total higher cost. Getting a criminal justice scholarship or financial assistance can definitely go a long way for many.
Nonetheless, you should not let the above figures deter your from pursuing your career dreams. Many students don’t have to pay their full tuition fee themselves once they are able to get into financial assistance programs. The good thing is, you don’t have to rely on just a single form of financial assistance. Most schools permit students to have a variety of assistance to cover their tuition.
The key thing to remember here is to look for financial assistance early because chances are, there’s a long process to it. You can apply for as many programs as possible as long as you’re eligible for it. These programs are a great help because they lessen the burdens of having to take out bigger student loans. Here’s a look at some financial assistance you may want to consider:
- Scholarships – More than university, there are also thousands of organizations out there that can offer a criminal justice scholarship to college students. There are a variety of qualifications but many help those who are in financial hardship or who are academic achievers, among others. Many states also offer scholarships to students who were able to maintain a specific high school GPA or after having gotten high standardized test scores. High schools and colleges typically often have lists of area or regions that offer scholarships so make sure to check them out. Many businesses also offer scholarship programs so ask your parents if there is any offered at their workplace. Try out different criminal justice associations or organizations as well to see if they are offering any scholarships.
- Private Grants – Many non-profit organizations and private businesses provide grant money to help students pay for college. The process often involves candidates passing an essay describing why they should be the awardee of the grant. Many talk about their career goals as well as their past scholarly efforts. For some organizations, they may ask you to put in a few hours of your time once you become the recipient of the grant.
- Federal Government Assistance – The federal government also offers different types of financial aid programs. However, one of the primary requirements is that you need to meet a specific financial threshold in order to be granted the money. One such instance are Pell Grants, Stafford loans, and PLUS loans, as well as consolidated loans. Some don’t have to be paid back while some of the aforementioned loans have to be paid back with interest.
- Student Loans – The federal government and private banks are the ones that frequently offer student loans. Since 2010, the student loan landscape has changed significantly mainly due to the involvement of the federal government. To make sure you avoid long-term debt, assess your financial situation before applying for loans. Interest rates and terms may vary for each so choose wisely and only accept terms you can fulfill. Otherwise, penalties can add up and balloon quickly, thereby affecting your credit score standing.
- Tuition Reimbursement – If you’re already working, some employers offer tuition reimbursement benefits. This benefit may help pay part or the entire cost of your tuition. To receive it, you had to have maintained a specific GPA score and may also be required to stay in the company for a couple of years after your graduation. Moreover, others will require you to attend a school that they approve of. Many businesses in both private and public sectors often offer this benefit.