Paying for School

Paying for school can be one of the biggest obstacles a student faces. The Imagine America Foundation has great resources to help you make sense of financial aid and to get scholarships that can make going back to school so much easier.


When preparing for any big financial commitment, a budget is the place to start! Just the word “budget” can cause anxiety and dread, but all we’re really talking about here is a plan. Having a basic budget before you start school will help make sure you don’t create financial problems that can take years to fix, and will help you feel extra confident as you embark on your new educational journey.

Check out our Financial Planning Made Simple (FPMS) tool, which helps you put together an estimated budget so that you can borrow enough money to cover all your expenses—without incurring unnecessary debt. The user-friendly dashboard makes it easy to compare program costs and to separate living expenses from your education expenses.

Scholarships and Awards

A great way to ease the financial burden of returning to school is by applying for scholarships. There are many programs out there to help you pay for your higher education, allowing you to keep more money in your pocket to support your family and other financial needs.

IAF offers three awesome scholarship and award programs for high school seniors, adult learners, and military students. If you fall into one of these categories, be sure to apply before the December 31 deadline! Each year, thousands of students are awarded scholarships for career college and vocational training through these programs. They have the option to attend one of approximately 250 participating career school campuses.

Finances after Graduation

While you’re in school, it can be easy to be so focused on your education that you forget to consider what life is going to be like after graduation. Don’t let your finances be forgotten! Once you’re ready to graduate, IAF provides tools to improve your financial literacy around topics like credit, debt, saving, and budgeting so you can hit the ground running as soon as you finish school. We’ll help you navigate the strange terms and vocabulary, figure out how to prioritize money goals, and plan for your financial future.

As stressful as thinking about your finances can be, there is good news! There can be a big difference between the way of life for someone with a minimum wage job and someone with entry-level skills in a thriving field, including health care, information technology, and business. With your degree or certification, you can earn a higher salary than you would have without additional education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average American with a high school diploma earns $692 per week, which comes out to $33,216 a year. Compare that with $494 per week for those without their diploma! But with an associate degree, the average weekly salary rises to $819. And with a bachelor’s degree, the average weekly income rises to $1,156 per week.


For more information on financial literacy, check out stop 4 on our road map to student success.

Apply for scholarships using our mobile app!

The IAF app delivers tools and resources perfect for students of all ages, high school counselors, and career college and university administrators. Matching your school with scholarship opportunities and checking application statuses has never been easier.