How much will you pay for the program or training?
Be sure to ask any career college or technical school about the total price of the training or program you are interested in. Also, ask if there are items not included in the total price that you would have to buy in order to successfully complete the training or program. Does the price cover books, supplies, and equipment, if needed?
Prices for similar programs can be quite different from one school to another, so it's best to know ahead of time what it will cost you to get a certificate, degree, or diploma. Ask about the price of the program before any student aid, and then what it may cost if you get student aid.
Is financial assistance or student aid available?
An important question to ask a school you're interested in is whether financial assistance or student aid will be available to you. In particular, you might ask if the school participates in the federal student financial aid programs administered by the Department of Education. Also, ask if the Department of Veterans Affairs approves it for veterans educational benefits and whether or not a student is able to attend the school with funding from the Workforce Investment Act.
For more information on student financial aid, see:
The U.S. Department of Education's publication: Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Web site provides students with information on planning for college and advice about finding and applying for financial aid.
The U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), the fastest way to apply on-line for student financial aid.
- FinAid! The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid for an online calculator to determine student aid needed.
The U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration for grants and funding for individuals with disabilities.
Will you have to sign an enrollment contract?
If you make a decision to attend a career college or technical school, you will probably need to sign an enrollment contract. The contract will probably say that the school agrees to provide the program of instruction and other services outlined in the catalog and, in return, you agree to pay a certain sum of money and abide by the rules and regulations of the school.
Read the contract carefully and remember that the contract is a legally binding document between you and the school. Ask someone whose experience and advice you trust to review it with you. Make sure the contract specifically explains:
- How much the program will cost you;
- How long the program will last; and
- The school's refund policy.
Don't sign a contract that has blanks in it. Read the entire document thoroughly before you sign, and do not sign unless you understand it. Once you have signed the agreement, be sure to keep a copy for your records.
What is the school's refund policy?
Take the time to review the refund policy published in the school's catalog. Every school is required to have a refund policy; however, policies will vary from state to state.