Explore Criminal Justice School Financial Aid Resources

Learn about financial aid for your paralegal or criminal justice degree.

article-criminal-justice-financial-aid-resizedIf you’re considering criminal justice school or paralegal training, don’t let the high cost of education scare you.

There’s a lot of opportunity to get financial aid, grants and scholarships or easy-term loans to finance your education. And it’s easy to apply for financial aid and scholarships. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Below is a list of financial aid resources. Find out what you qualify for and get the ball rolling today.

Student Loans

The federal government regulates the maximum interest that lenders can charge on federally guaranteed student loans, creating lower interest on college loans. Additionally, loan repayment does not begin until six months after graduation (or when enrollment in school is less than half time).

  • Stafford Loans – Stafford Loans are the most common form of criminal justice financial aid. Stafford Loans include the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Both programs are dispersed directly to students, and can be subsidized or unsubsidized, depending on the student’s financial standing.
  • Private Loans  – Another common type of criminal justice financial aid is a private loan. These loans offer higher limits and no payments until graduation, but interest starts to accrue the day the loan is distributed. Private student loans can be made out to either students or parents and are a much better alternative than credit card debt.
  • PLUS Loans – PLUS Loans are paid through FFEL and Direct Loan programs, but they are geared toward parents. In order to qualify for this type of loan, you must be a dependent student enrolled at least half time in your undergraduate education, and your parent needs to apply for the loan.

College Scholarships

Although scholarships can be competitive, they do not need to be paid back and are an excellent kind of criminal justice financial aid…if you qualify.

For criminal justice students, the professional associations for your specialty may give scholarships to qualified individuals. For example, the Police Corps in your state may offer scholarships in order to increase the number of trained police officers. Paralegals can find scholarships with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. There are many available, and you should do your research and apply for as many as you can.

Grants for School

Grants are a smart way to finance your education because it’s “free” money—you don’t have to pay back a grant. With over a thousand federal grant programs in the U.S., worth more than $400 billion, securing a grant can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in criminal justice financial aid loans. If you take the time to apply for a grant, the payoff can be well worth the effort. Often, schools automatically consider you for grants when you complete a FAFSA and apply to school.

Work Study Programs

Federal work study programs help students finance their education by working various jobs. Sometimes the jobs are for the school, but often they are career-related jobs that help you build your resume while getting your degree. Work study awards typically depend on factors such as level of financial need and school funding availability. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) uses a standard formula to evaluate the information listed on a FAFSA form. Each student is given an expected family contribution (EFC), which is the sum of a percentage of net income and a percentage of net assets. The net income is tallied after subtracting basic living expenses.

You can indicate whether you want to be considered for work study assistance when completing your FAFSA form. Before you submit your application, ensure it is complete and includes all the correct information. If you plan to attend an online criminal justice or paralegal degree program, you may still be eligible for Federal Work Study.

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