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TOP TEN TIPS

The Top 10 Tips below are here as a quick guide to follow to make sure you are getting the information you need to sign up for the right school for you. Included are links to other helpful resources that can answer other questions you may have.

1. Free and low-cost education and training options are available.

Click on the links in the links section of this website to learn about free and low-cost adult education and training options. You can attend classes at the Department of Education, public universities, community colleges, and more.

2. If a school or training program sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Research, research, research.

Consider multiple schools before deciding which one is right for you. Ask for information on graduation and completion rates, student loan debt, and whether or not the credits you get will transfer to other schools. Sit in on a class, ask to speak to former students who have completed the program, and visit the testimonials section to read reviews from real student veterans. Ask to see a list of employers that hire graduates, and call those businesses to ask their opinion of the school. You should also research the general field you’re interested in to make sure it’s the right fit and there’s potential for job availability and growth.

  • The College Navigator provides information on the tuition costs, graduation rates, average financial aid amount, and loan default rates of different schools and colleges.
 Visit the site
  • Veterans Affairs has put together a helpful guide that contains many factors that may assist you when choosing a school. View the presentation here

4. Avoid unlicensed schools.


Some schools are operating illegally. If you go to an unlicensed school, you can’t take exams to become licensed in many fields such as nursing. Remember, even if a school has a license, it might not be well run, so research the school before you sign up.  Click on the tab “File a Complaint” on this website to report an unlicensed school. and growth.

  • Veterans Affairs has put together links to allow you to search for approved programs across the US.
 Visit the site

5. Don’t sign up the day you visit a school.


Before you sign up, you need to understand how much the program will cost and how much your benefits will cover. Do not make such an important decision on the spot! Take your time, and research the school. Click on the links below to learn more about specific schools and programs.

  • The College Affordability and Trasparency Center provides important information for students, parents, and policymakers about college costs at America’s colleges and universities. The Center includes several lists of institutions based on the tuition and fees and net prices (the price of attendance after considering all grant and scholarship aid) charged to students. These lists meet requirements outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and will be updated annually and posted on the College Navigator website by July 1. 
Visit the site
  • IAVA has put together a website that has information on Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits along with a calculator  
Visit the site
  • The College Navigator provides information on the tuition costs, graduation rates, average financial aid amount, and loan default rates of different schools and colleges.
 Visit the site

6. Never sign anything you don’t understand.


If a school pressures you to sign a contract or agreement on the spot, walk away. You have the right to bring home important forms so you can read them more carefully and review them with people you trust.

7. Ask for the school’s tuition cancellation policy in writing.

The policy should describe how you can get a refund if you need to cancel or withdraw. However, once you have signed up, it can be tough to get your money back.

8. Be careful of taking on a lot of debt.


Some schools charge tens of thousands of dollars. Often, the “financial aid’ that is available isn’t free money, but rather loans you have to pay back – with interest. School loans last a long time, and there’s a limit on how much money you can borrow. Loans can also lower your credit score if you don’t pay them back on time. Make sure you understand the terms and will be able to make the payments. Remember that free and low-cost education and training options are available. See tip #1!

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is putting a standard cost comparison worksheet so students can compare programs before making a decision on student debt.
 Visit the site
  • The College Affordability and Transparency Center provides important information for students, parents, and policymakers about college costs at America’s colleges and universities. The Center includes several lists of institutions based on the tuition and fees and net prices (the price of attendance after considering all grant and scholarship aid) charged to students. These lists meet requirements outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and will be updated annually and posted on the College Navigator website by July 1.
 Visit the site

9. Avoid schools that “guarantee employment” after you graduate.


A school can’t guarantee that you’ll get a job when you graduate. Many times, the schools that make these types of promises don’t actually place you in a job.

  • The College Navigator provides information on the tuition costs, graduation rates, average financial aid amount, and loan default rates of different schools and colleges.
 Visit the site

10. You have the right to file a complaint.


Did you enroll in a school or training program but didn’t get what you were promised?  Use our File a Complaint web form to get help.