Physical therapist assistant school can cost anywhere from a couple of thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. Although it is worth every penny and will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to embark on a new career, for many that is still a pretty significant amount of money. Fortunately, there are a variety of resources available to help students pay for their education.
Federal and state financial aid
The federal government and many state governments provide financial aid for students at accredited institutions. As long as your program is officially recognized by a specialized accrediting agency, you may be eligible to receive federal and/or state loans. Members of specific groups may also be eligible to receive additional resources. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Professions Scholarship Program provides aid for members of certain Native American tribes.
Federal financial aid programs may also come in the form of grants (which you don’t have to pay back) and work-study (in which you work a certain number of hours a week in exchange for part of your tuition).
Privately funded scholarships
Since health insurance companies want their hospitals to hire the best health care workers available, some of them offer special scholarships to students in physical therapist assistant programs. There are a variety of other privately funded scholarships for which you may be eligible.
A variety of special scholarships are available for members of racial minorities, including African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics. These scholarships are funded by local, state, and national organizations, so if you are a member of any of these groups, explore the options available in your area.
Former and current members of the U.S. military and their families are eligible for special financial aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Some schools also offer military discounts on tuition, which can be as high as 10 percent.
American Physical Therapy Association awards
The American Physical Therapy Association provides a couple of awards for outstanding student physical therapist assistants. To be eligible for these awards, you must be a member of the organization.
If you have applied for all of these programs and still need some assistance paying for your education, make an appointment to talk to someone at your bank about a loan. You might not get a great interest rate, but this money might make it possible for you to complete your program.
Students looking for financial aid to go to physical therapist assistant school have a variety of options. To learn more about these programs and any others that may be available, speak to an admissions counselor or financial aid specialist at your school. They will be able to point you to all the resources you need.