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What is Educational Assistance?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2018
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Educational assistance can be a term used in several different ways. Most often it applies to some form of financial assistance granted to students at the college level. It might also refer to financial help in elementary or secondary school, though this is less common. Another way educational assistance might be considered is as actual scholastic help or intervention to students when they have learning deficits or disabilities that require it. With all of these interpretations, many different regions, countries, or departments have different programs that determine availability of help.

There are numerous ways in which financial educational assistance is offered. Some countries may not charge students for attendance at universities. Others have programs to offset some of the costs. These can originate from the government and take the form of things like grants, student loans or tax credits for attending school. They might also come from private industries or specialized fields. Many military branches offer scholarships for service and such scholarship could extend to family members, like spouses or children of the person in service.

In private industries, some businesses have educational assistance programs for employees and/or family. These businesses might fully pay for continuing education, whether or not it is related to some aspect of the business. Another way in which employers might help some of their employees or family attend school is through establishing scholarships that qualifying applicants might receive.

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Plenty of private companies or foundations have private scholarships too. People demonstrating certain scholastic achievement, financial need, or other qualities defined by the grantor could use these as a form of financial educational assistance. Each scholarship varies, but there are many of them, and doing research on the most likely agencies from which to receive a private scholarship is advised.

With any type of financial educational assistance, many different conditions can apply before people can gain access. Grant and loan programs could have financial need qualifications or only be available to people belonging to a certain group. In places like the US, people normally take their first step toward finding out what financial aid they might be able to get when they fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other applications to state agencies and private industries or foundations could be needed too.

The other form of educational assistance, to provide a level playing field for those with learning disabilities, may require applications too. There are numerous programs that can be administered by regions, countries, or non-publicly, that might be open to those with learning disabilities. In the US, some of these programs that spring from legislation, like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), are offered to anyone identified as having a disability that would benefit from support. IDEA programs begin in preschool and extend all the way through college, so that students can get the additional help they need to complete a full education.

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