Continuing your education is a good investment, but the expenses can seem daunting. Thankfully, there are a growing number of opportunities that might help you cover education costs.
One thing to 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 include education in your budget.
While our degree programs may qualify for traditional financial aid programs, most UW Professional & Continuing Education certificate programs do not. Our certificates or specializations may qualify for less traditional forms of financial assistance, though. Here are a few avenues you might want to explore.
Support You Can Only Find at the UW
UW Certificate Scholarships
Our UW Certificate Scholarship program is designed to break down barriers to a UW education and help you ignite a change in your career. These need-based awards range in value from $2,500 to $8,000, and are available for more than 20 UW courses and certificate programs. Learn more about UW Certificate Scholarships.
▸ Interested in helping others keep learning? See how you can support continuing education with a tax-deductible gift.
Lifelong Learning Incentive
Recent graduates of any UW campus — Seattle, Bothell or Tacoma — are eligible for UW Professional & Continuing Education’s Lifelong Learning Incentive. If you earned your bachelor’s degree in the past three years, find out how you can get your $300 discount on one of our noncredit certificate programs.
Community groups, nonprofits and professional associations offer a wide range of scholarships, including support for fee-based degrees and noncredit certificate programs. And unlike student loans, scholarships don’t have to be paid back.
You might qualify for one or more scholarships tailored to your interests. Look for scholarships based on your personal background, such as your age, gender, abilities or career field. Some sweepstakes-like scholarships only require only a few clicks (and a bit of luck) to apply.
▸ Related Article: Where to Find Scholarships for Your Certificate Program
Thousands of scholarships are available across the nation — using a search engine may help you discover the awards for which you qualify. In the Seattle area, several scholarships are available to help students pay for UW certificate programs, including awards for refugees, immigrants and aspiring entrepreneurs. Visit our Scholarships page for details.
Employee Education Benefits
Many employers are expanding employee benefits for professional development or continuing education. For example, education benefits are available through many Seattle-area employers, including T-Mobile, Microsoft and Amazon. Whether your employer is local or global, check with your supervisor or human resources representative to find out more about your options.
Be sure to review program and payment procedures carefully. Some employers ask you to pay out of pocket, then reimburse your costs; others make direct payments to your school. Ultimately, you are responsible for any course costs and fees your school doesn’t receive, so make sure both you and your employer understand all the terms and requirements.
▸ Related Article: Getting Your Employer to Pay for Your Certificate or Degree
Have you recently been laid off from work? You might be eligible for extended state unemployment benefits that could cover certain education expenses. To find out if your unemployment benefits could help you sharpen your skills or train for a new career, check your eligibility through WorkSource Washington.
In Seattle and King County, you may also qualify for financial assistance if you’re planning to train for a new career in an in-demand occupation. Many of our certificate programs are eligible. Visit the Washington Career Bridge website and select "University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education" to see the full list of eligible certificates.
▸ Related Article: Unexpectedly Unemployed? Train for an In-Demand Job
Under G.I. Bill programs, qualifying veterans or family members 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.
AmeriCorps Education Award
If you’ve successfully completed AmeriCorps service, you may qualify for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award 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.
TAX CREDITS AND DEDUCTIONS
Lifetime Learning Credit
As a U.S. taxpayer, you may be eligible to claim up to $2,000 of yearly qualified tuition and related expenses as a tax credit under the Lifetime Learning Credit. 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.
Contact a Tax Adviser
Federal and state tax laws change frequently. We recommend you contact a tax adviser to learn how best to plan for the current year. Visit the IRS website for more information about ways to offset your education costs.
Our Help Center has even more information about Registration & Costs. If you’re eligible for education benefits through WorkSource, AmeriCorps or other organizations, you’ll receive paperwork that needs to be completed and signed by the training provider — that’s us. Contact us for help.