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Information for Adult and Nontraditional Learners

Why Should I Consider Going to College?

Even if you already have a job, getting additional education and skills can take you to the next step in your career. Although attending college as an adult is a big decision, it is one that can provide long-term benefits, including better skills and better pay. Studies show that education after high school can lead to a better paying job and stability.

What Kinds of Programs Are Available?

Maybe you want to explore a new career path, or get an additional degree or credential to move ahead in your current career. Thanks to our new partnership with NCcareers, you can set up a free account to take career assessments and explore some of the fastest growing jobs in North Carolina.

How Long Will It Take?

How long it will take to receive a degree or credential depends on the program and whether you are a full-time or part-time student.

However, the time it takes to get from enrollment to graduation may be shorter than you think.  For example, colleges classes you’ve taken previously may transfer, and you may also be eligible to obtain credit for prior learning.

What If I Need to Continue to Work?

The good news is you don’t have to choose between working and attending college. More colleges than ever before offer flexible options designed to fit the schedules of working adults. These may include part-time, online, or accelerated programs, and in some cases, night and weekend programs.

What If It’s Been Years Since I’ve Been in School?

Maybe you haven’t been in the classroom in a while or you’ve never attended classes online. Don’t worry.  Colleges have many resources to support adult students and help them be successful, including orientation sessions, tutoring, and advising, just to name a few.

How Will I Pay for Everything?

The good news is there are no age limits on student financial aid. Adult and nontraditional learners may be eligible for financial aid to cover expenses such as housing, transportation, books, tuition, and fees, as well as to help pay for childcare or a personal computer.  There are three types of financial aid available to students:

  • Scholarships or Grants: “Free money” that doesn’t have to be repaid.
  • Loans: Funds that must be repaid with interest. If you will need education loans, your first step in applying is filling out the FAFSA.
  • Work-Study: Money earned through a job on or off the college campus that helps pay for college expenses. Your first step in applying for work-study is filling out the FAFSA.

Small Steps, Big Outcomes

During this informational webinar, CFNC's college advisors provide an overview of the resources available to adult learners.

Returning to School - Finding Money for College or Career School

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Explore Careers

Maybe you need help exploring a career path, or an additional degree or credential to move ahead in your current career. Thanks to our new partnership with NCcareers, you can set up a free account to take career assessments and explore some of the fastest growing jobs in North Carolina.

Plan for a Career
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Find the Right College for You

There are more than 100 community colleges and universities in North Carolina. Use our online College Search Tool to explore your options.

College Search
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Fill Out the FAFSA

Many financial aid opportunities require that you first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. We provide step-by-step instructions and resources to help you complete the FAFSA.

FAFSA Assistance
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Get Support

You don’t have to figure it out alone. CFNC offers free resources and representatives who are here to help you plan, apply, and pay for college.

Contact Us