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Articles / Applying to College / Catch-22: Finding Funding for Paralegal Program

May 10, 2011

Catch-22: Finding Funding for Paralegal Program

Question: I'm in a Catch-22 situation. I'm currently in a low-paying job and have been accepted to Cal State LA's extended studies paralegal certificate program. However, the program is not eligible for federal aid and I don't have the money to pay for it. I have bad credit and I just don't know what to do. What lender will give me a student loan so that I can begin the program?

I can see that you really are between a rock and a hard place. The only solutions I can offer would be for you to either find a co-signer for a loan (e.g., parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, rich and generous friend?) or consider a cheaper college where you might also be eligible for federal aid. For instance, check out this option at Los Angeles City College: http://www.lacitycollege.edu/academic/departments/law/introparalegalstudies.html


One final Hail-Mary idea would be to cajole a law firm in your area into to hiring you and funding your studies upfront, if you agree to work for a specified term and pay back the loan. (They're lawyers after all, so they ought to be able to come up with a contract ;-)) Admittedly, this seems unlikely in the current job market, but if you have any connections to a law firm and/or you are incredibly persuasive, you will have nothing to lose by trying. Although paralegal programs are becoming increasingly popular, some law firms will still hire inexperienced paralegals and train them on the job, especially those who have a work or educational background that meshes with their needs.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'll post this on College Confidential and perhaps some of our members will come up with better suggestions.

(posted 5/10/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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