Continuing your education is a good investment, but the expenses can seem daunting. Thankfully, there are options that can help you fund your next step.
As you start planning for your education, keep in mind you don't have to pay for an entire UW certificate or degree program up front. Instead, you pay as you go. Course costs and fees are due quarterly, when you register, rather than all at once — making it easier to slot school into your budget.
While our degree programs may qualify for traditional financial aid programs, most UW Professional & Continuing Education certificate programs do not. Our certificates often qualify for less traditional forms of financial assistance, though. Here are a few avenues you might want to explore.
WORKSOURCE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
If you've recently been laid off, you might be eligible for WorkSource, a program that extends your unemployment benefits and could cover certain education expenses while you attend school to sharpen your skills or train for a new career.
As part of Seattle and King County's employment and training services system, WorkSource also offers financial assistance if you're planning to start a new career in an in-demand occupation. Many of our certificates are considered approved education programs and could qualify for WorkSource funding. To learn out more, go to the Washington Career Bridge website. Click on "Find Education" and select “University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education” from the school/college options dropdown menu.
Remember, timing is important in this scenario. You have just 90 days to apply for training benefits after you become unemployed. And because of the evaluation process involved, you’ll want to start your conversation with WorkSource at least four weeks before you plan to begin a certificate program.
EMPLOYEE EDUCATION BENEFITS
As part of its employee benefits, your employer may offer professional development or continuing education funds. Check with your supervisor or human resources representative to find out if any education benefits are available to you.
Since every organization handles education benefits in its own way, be sure to go over program and payment procedures carefully. Some employers have you pay out of pocket and then reimburse you after you successfully complete your program; others make direct payments. In the latter case, you’ll need to submit a signed purchase order or letter of authorization to bill with your registration each quarter.
Ultimately, you are responsible for any course costs and fees that are not received, so take time to communicate payment terms and requirements to your employer.
AMERICORPS EDUCATION AWARD
If you’ve successfully completed AmeriCorps service, you may qualify for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. This award can be used to cover education expenses for eligible programs — including our certificates. You can use your award money for up to seven years after you finish your service. To use your award, log into your My AmeriCorps account and create an Education Award Payment Request.
Under the G.I. Bill, veterans may be eligible for reimbursement of course fees while enrolled in online learning or other select courses offered through UW Professional & Continuing Education. Some of our certificate programs have also been approved for Veterans Administration benefits. To apply for benefits, or to learn more, contact the UW Veterans Education Benefits Office.
TAX CREDITS AND DEDUCTIONS
As a taxpayer, you may be eligible to claim up to $2,000 of qualified tuition and related expenses as a tax credit under the Lifetime Learning Credit. This credit covers qualified education expenses you pay during the tax year. While it excludes expenses covered by scholarships, tax-free grants or employer education assistance, this credit does include qualified out-of-pocket expenses and those you've paid with loans.
You also may be able to deduct qualified college tuition and related expenses of up to $4,000 from your income taxes. This deduction is an adjustment to your income, which means it will reduce the amount of your income that’s subject to taxation.
For more information about ways to offset your education costs, visit the IRS website.
financial aid for CURRENT AND RECENT UW STUDENTS
If you’re a matriculated UW student, you may be able to use awarded financial aid toward UWPCE credit courses and degree programs. For more information, contact the UW Office of Student Financial Aid.
Since we know your education doesn’t end with a bachelor’s degree, UW Professional & Continuing Education offers recent grads the Lifelong Learning Incentive. If you earned your bachelor’s from the UW in the past three years, visit our Lifelong Learning Incentive page to find out more about getting your $300 discount on one of our noncredit certificate programs.
NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS FROM UW CONTINUUM COLLEGE
Because we believe everyone deserves education to thrive in our ever-changing world, we’re building a scholarship fund to help a limited number of individuals who qualify pay for a certificate program. Details about donating to the fund and applying to receive a scholarship will be available soon.
For more information, visit the Registration & Costs section in our Help Center. If you’re deemed eligible for education benefits through Worksource, AmeriCorps or other organizations, you’ll receive paperwork from the organization that needs to be completed and signed by the training provider — that’s us. Contact us for help.