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Financial aid for second Bachelor's degrees?

Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
Currently, I have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. However, IT is becoming less marketable seemingly by the month. More importantly, I've realized that my strongest interests are in the liberal arts. As a result, I'm seriously considering career options which are a major departure from my current career.

Computer Science has minimal overlap with anything else, especially liberal arts fields. As a result, at a minimum, I'll need significant additional undergraduate coursework to prepare for a graduate degree in a new field. It's more likely that I'll simply get a second Bachelor's degree.

The problem is that federal financial aid for further undergraduate coursework is no longer available once a Bachelor's degree has been completed. And I've only found one university so far - Columbia's School of General Studies - where any university-based financial aid is available to second Bachelor's candidates. Worse, state universities frequently disallow second Bachelor's degrees completely. The ones that still allow second Bachelor's degrees at this time may stop doing so given the budget crunch in most states. For the most part, I'm looking at paying full price at a private university or an out-of-state public university. This is money I don't have at this time.

Are there any other universities which offer merit-based financial aid to second Bachelor's candidates and/or for individual undergraduate courses?

FWIW, I have a 3.8 GPA from a little-known private liberal arts college for my first Bachelor's degree. (Academically, I could have gotten into at least universities a tier below the Ivies. Financially, my options were very limited. Compounding the problem, my in-state public options were poor fits.)

Thanks in advance!
Post edited by Take3 on
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Replies to: Financial aid for second Bachelor's degrees?

  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    are you working now? Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement?

    Have you considered working for the federal government. I don't know if this link will work. The benefits are good and they pay you to go to school. If the link doesn't work do a 'series search' for the several levels of IT jobs. I don't know where you live. Don't be concerned if you think this means you are signing for for military service. There are only a few listings where being in the reserve is a prerequisite. These are civilian jobs

    USAJOBS -
  • veryspoiledgirlveryspoiledgirl Posts: 445Registered User Member
    If he/she is looking for employment now, the feds are not a good idea. It can take a year or more just to get an interview and just as long to get hired.

    There are only loans for a second bachelor's. No grants or anything.
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    I can't figure out how getting a second BS will help you? What do you want to major in?
  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    veryspoiledgirl - I took a civil service test and was working 90 days later. These are jobs they want to fill NOW, not 2 years from now. I see interns coming into my activity in a steady stream. Alot of people are retiring...
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,555Registered User Senior Member
    Here is another idea. Find yourself an IT job at a college or university. You will have staff privileges that include being able to take a certain number of courses for free each year. Since your long-term goal is grad school in your new field, you could look at universities that have the grad programs you ultimately are interested in. Working there won't mean that you are automatically admitted to a graduate degree program, but you may be able to take one or two grad level courses that interest you once you are on the staff.

    Good luck!
  • veryspoiledgirlveryspoiledgirl Posts: 445Registered User Member
    Hmm...must depend on the location, department, and career field. IT is hard to get in...Federal Career Planning and Development - Forum Powered by Infopop
  • sueinphillysueinphilly Posts: 4,207Registered User Senior Member
    when I got my current position, it was 6 weeks from applying to interview to starting (I was already a federal employee). When I last interviewed (for a position I didn't get), it was about 8 weeks. Maybe my agency is faster.
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    Nephew in same position learned private loans with his parents cosigning is his only option.
  • veryspoiledgirlveryspoiledgirl Posts: 445Registered User Member
    It's because you're already a federal employee...
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    sueinphilly: Thanks for the tip about Federal jobs. I have work at the moment, so fortunately there's no immediate need for work. I followed your link. The Federal IT jobs available seem to be primarily for system administrators, an area in which I have minimal background. But having more sources in which to look for work can never hurt.

    The good news is that my employer will in fact pay my tuition. The bad news is that this still means I have to pay my tuition, because I'm self-employed. (-:

    happymomof1: That's an interesting idea. I'll check to see what the specific institutions I'm interested in have available. Funding for the undergraduate courses I need is a bigger issue than funding for graduate-level courses. For those, hopefully assistantships are available.

    veryspoiledgirl: I checked out that link too. Now, and for most of this decade, it's difficult to break into private sector jobs in IT too.

    JustAMomOf4: My reasons for wanting another degree are as follows:

    * I'm looking to make a career change in a significantly different direction. I got into technology for various reasons. The dot.com boom was still going on, so it seemed clear that technology was the place to be. I'd also been pushed in that direction by my parents and not encouraged to consider non-technical fields. Unfortunately, this choice was based on an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of who I am. Also, IT shows every sign of being down for the count in terms of being a viable career.

    * I'm interested in a more rigorous, challenging education than I received during my first Bachelor's degree. In particular, it would be fascinating to study some of the great works, as one does in Columbia’s Core and similar programs.

    * I'm interested in the personal growth experiences which the university environment can provide. Long story short, the time I spent after community college until completing my first Bachelor's degree was not conducive to personal growth. It wasn't until attending McGill (to study for a Master's) that I saw how much one can grow in a university environment which is a good fit.

    * I'd like to have a degree from a university with a strong reputation nationally. My current degree is from a university which isn't widely known. Outside its immediate area - where I no longer live and to which I have no desire to return - few people have heard of it. This has closed doors for me; I usually wind up working with people who don’t have degrees at all.

    hmom5: Unfortunately, getting a cosigner for a loan is iffy. It's unlikely that my parents are even supportive of my educational goals. They were somewhat supportive when they thought I wanted one of the technical career paths they had wanted for me. I've since made it clear that I’m just not interested in these goals. Now, they weren’t even interested in hearing about a campus I visited recently.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,574Super Moderator Senior Member
    Second bachelors degree students can receive Stafford loans at the undergrad level. You are independent, so the amounts are: freshman = $9500 (of which up to 3500 can be subsidized loans), sophomore = $10,500 (of which up to 4500 can be subsidized loans), and junior/senior = $12,500 (of which $5500 can be subsidized loans). Lifetime limit for undergrad loans is $57,500. That's about it for aid, unless the school has institutional funds available for post bach students. The final option is a private loan.
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    kelsmom: Wow, I'd assumed that even for loans, private lenders were my only option. Thanks for the tip.

    According to the programs I've spoken to, technically what you're doing as a second Bachelor's candidate is transferring in 60 semester hours. Then, you have to fulfill the major requirements, any distribution requirements, any Core courses which I take because I feel like it, and the residency requirement. So I'd have junior standing and be able to borrow $12,500 per year, $5,500 of which is subsidized, right?

    This will help a lot, and in fact may be part of my answer.

    The universities I'm looking at typically cost between $44K and $65K to complete a two-year program. With the ability to borrow $25K over two years, I only need to come up with $19K to $40K. This is much more doable.

    I suspected that there wasn't any aid other than loans available for second Bachelor's students. I asked mostly to make sure there isn't any source of aid which I overlooked. (Such as the Stafford loans :-)
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,574Super Moderator Senior Member
    Yes, you would be eligible for $5500 in subsidized loans, but it depends on your EFC. Take your COA - EFC and that will give you your subsidized eligibility (assuming no other aid). If this number is less than $5500, you will still get to take out the full $12,500 ... it's just that it will have more unsub in the mix.

    As long as you are actually in a degree program (not doing prereqs to get into the program or doing teacher certification), you will have your loan eligibility ... with lifetime limits in place, of course (including a lifetime max of 23,000 sub).
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    Fortunately, I'm considered a dependent student because I was born before January 1, 1985. So at least my options aren't limited by my parents' income and assets, as they were for my first Bachelor's degree. I'm looking at private universities and out-of-state public universities (unless you count an in-state public university I may use as a safety.) It's unlikely that I'd have less than $5500 of need based on my own income and assets.

    This availability of loans is yet another reason to actually pursue a second Bachelor's degree instead of taking individual undergraduate classes to possibly qualify for a Master's degree.

    Thanks again! I'm much more optimistic about having a realistic way to go back to university now than I was three days ago. (-:
  • hillbilliehillbillie Posts: 284Registered User Junior Member
    OP, don't know exactly what you want to do with your second BS, but have you considered law school? That'd be very challenging and you can have a wide range of career choice other than being a lawyer. Or MBA if, say, you'd still like to work in some other fields in corporate America. Or MA of some sort.
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