looking for scholarships/student loans for trade/vocational school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-14-2011, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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DH is considering going to a bike mechanic school, he is currently unemployed and would like to shift fields.  The school he is interested in does not offer any form of tuition assistance or aid.  The total cost will be about $6000 i think, including expense to travel to the school and room/board while there and tools required after completion.  the program is only 3 weeks but it is out of state, he will drive there and stay on campus ($25 per night) or camp or both.  anyway we are looking for scholarships or loans that we may be able to apply for.  


he has never been to college of any type, we are actually not legally married if that matters and have 3 kids together.


Any ideas? 

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#2 of 7 Old 02-14-2011, 04:02 PM
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I would be very leery of any instution that does not offer federal financial aid. Would he get a certificate? If so, is it worth anything in the job market? Maybe he could talk to some local bike machine shops and see what credentials he would need - "thinking of going into this business... how did you get training/what do you look for in employees" type questions.

6K is alot of money to spend on something that might be worthless and most "for profit" schools qualify for federal financial aid. Locally, we have a bartending school that qualifies and gives out federal grants.

Check your local vocational options, too. Our county vocational school offers 6 month certificates in machine repair at little to no cost.

Good luck!

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#3 of 7 Old 02-14-2011, 06:27 PM
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I would caution when considering for-profit institutions not to take any of THEIR information on employability as anything other than strict advertising, there is no way in addition that I’d consider Federal Student Loans for such a program.  Loan repayment by students from for-profit colleges is the worst, not because these students are the worst but rather because these programs rarely lead to anything near profitable employment at the far-end.  (Read THIS great article on the information).

            That being said; IF your husband has spoken with local mechanics, or worked with the local small business council on a business plan (showing actual need in the area for a brand new mechanic) and has work lined up after what seems like a VERY short course – I’d do my best to get grants, not loans.  There are grants that are specifically designed for many underserved portions of the population: minorities, the poor, etc. HERE is a website with information, also: please never pay for access to information regarding grants as these programs are scams – with some time and the internet you can work to find grants on your own. 

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#4 of 7 Old 02-15-2011, 05:13 AM
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Actually, to add to the above post... the internet is, believe it or not, almost useless for finding grants for schooling.  There is a lot of information, but it's not concise and you can spend literally months just trudging through the links and reading to end up with little actual information on WHICH grants to apply for.  I am a development coordinator and write grant proposals for my (part-time) job.  I work with grants, grant-writing, foundations, etc. and get people asking me about this all.the.time.  Actually, most of the grants that would work for your situation would be more local.  If you go to your library (assuming it is larger, not a very small community library that has a limited collection), they should have a collection of books on scholarships and grants, including grants that are offered locally, statewide, and by category.  These books can be browsed, or these days they usually have CDs that come with them so you can search based on a set of criteria.  I would go to your library before using the internet.


Now, when you say "bike", to me that means bicycle.  Sorry, it's just my background (former competitive cyclist).  I don't know if you mean bicycle or motorcycle.  If it's bicycle, I would suggest looking into having your dh apprentice at a local bike shop instead of school.  That would take longer and he wouldn't get paid for it, but he wouldn't be spending any money, either.  If by "bike" you mean motorcycle, well... I have no idea, but there may be an apprentice option for that, too.  I know a lot of my old friends would just hang out in the back of bike (bicycle) shops and many of them went on to open their own shops.


I would not go to ANY program that is not accredited.  Good Luck!

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#5 of 7 Old 02-15-2011, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the responses...it is for bicycle mechanic certification.  here is a link to the school




the figure of 6000 was wrong it is more like 3000 and that is an over estimate and includes travel, lodging, food, etc.  the program on it's own is less, like 2600 i think.  the school seems to be the "best",  i agree about doing an internship or something locally so maybe i will push that with dh a little more, atg least go and see what local mechanics have as credentials, but in the time we have he will learn a lot more at the school then at a local shop, it will be condensed and allow him to work in a shop sooner.  as opposed to spending a year in a shop for free he can go to school and hopefully start working in a few months.  he is on unemployment right now and looking to get out of construction with something he actually enjoys, bike mechanic is not going to make us rich but it will pay our bills and not add stress or take a toll on his body the way construction has.  

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#6 of 7 Old 02-16-2011, 05:53 AM
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My Mom worked for years as a wheelchair mechanic, both electric and manual. It was a great job for her. She got that job mostly by having worked on bicycles (for herself) and being pretty darn handy with tools. If your partner wants to work as a bike mechanic, he should hit the streets and find a job - any job - working in a bike shop (or doing wheelchair repair, which is very very closely related). If he really wants to take the course, work for a year in the shop and save up for the course.


Don't take on debt for a "certification"... there are many many "certifications" out there which do not lead to employment. The bike class sounds risky.

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#7 of 7 Old 02-16-2011, 10:20 AM
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If you DP is on unemployment they may have some type of funding available for education.  I would have DP call DES/UE or his caseworker and see whats available to him.(FYI callign will be a legnthy process and he will need to be patient and persistent)


Also before I did any schooling of any type I would check out the job market.  Are the jobs for bike mechanics? Whats the pay, hours, benefits, location etc?

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