Financial Aid 101

You must make many important decisions when enrolling in career training classes, and financial aid is one of these decisions. Determining exactly how you will pay for your training and degree is a critical step to enrolling in school.

At United, we assist each and every student through the enrollment process, from the first time we speak with you, to creating your personalized financial plan, to helping you sign up for classes.

Financial Aid Process

Figuring out your financial aid can be complicated and confusing. There are so many different options, so how do you know which ones will work best for you? This is why we are here for our students every step of the way through the financial aid process.

“Financial aid is very complex, and there is a lot of detail. If a student has no idea what kind of student aid they qualify for, that is completely fine. We will walk each student from point A to point Z,” said Parker Rhoads, Financial Aid Advisor.

After completing your admissions interview next, you will meet with a financial aid advisor for your financial aid appointment. During this meeting, we assist students by walking you through the steps to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be submitted to qualify for federal/state grants and loans.

Next, after completing the FAFSA, we work with each student to create a personalized financial aid plan just for you. This plan will break down exactly how you will pay for school, so you can be confident about earning your degree and starting your path to an exciting new career.

“Our goal is to get our students graduated with as little debt as possible,” said Parker. “We understand that many of our students have been to college before, especially in a university setting, and it didn’t work out, so keeping their debt low is extremely important.”

Once your personalized financial aid plan is completed, you will confirm that the plan works for you and sign your financial aid documents.

At United, we have a financial aid officer here on campus, so students can pop in to ask questions or call whenever. We are a smaller school, so you don’t have to go through 10 different people to get ahold of the person you need. If a student has a question, all you need to do is call the school and ask to speak to someone in financial aid. In addition, students get access to our loan assistance department so that they can ask questions about your loans at any time.

Types of Financial Aid*

As you go through your financial aid appointment and review your personalized financial aid plan, you will learn that there are many different types of financial aid programs available to those who qualify.

  • Federal Pell Grants: This is grant money from the federal government to help fund your education that you do not have to pay back.
  • State Grants: Some states also have grant money available to help students fund their education that does not have to be paid back.
  • Grants/Scholarships**: These include both institutional grants offered by United and third-party scholarships from other sources to help pay for your education. We encourage students to research and apply for scholarships.
  • Student Loans: These are loans from the federal government or third-party providers that students take out to help pay for their education. Students are not required to make payments for their loans while they are attending school; however, we highly encourage them to make some cash payments to reduce their total amount of debt.
  • PLUS Loans: These loans are available for parents to take out to help pay for their student’s education. Parents must qualify for this type of loan.
  • GI Bill®^: For those who have served, you can use your veteran’s tuition benefits to help pay for your education.
  • Employer Tuition Reimbursement: This is for students who work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement to help pay for their employee’s education.
  • Cash Payments: Cash payments are what students make toward their own education, so they do not have to take out as many loans.
  • 529 Plan: This is a separate savings account for educational purposes that parents can set up for their children.

Your financial aid advisor will help you determine which specific types of financial aid you qualify for to help pay for your education during your financial aid appointment.

Completing the FAFSA

Filling out the FAFSA is critical to qualifying for financial aid. The information provided in this application will determine what types of financial aid and how much you qualify for. It’s important to make sure the information provided is accurate and up to date. Once your FAFSA is submitted, you will receive an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) number, which the federal government looks at when you apply for financial aid.

At United, we assist our students by helping them fill out their FAFSA or updating a previous FAFSA that may be incomplete. The FAFSA must be completed each year that a student plans to attend school.

“We are here to walk students through it, every step of the way,” said Parker. For anyone considering going to school, Parker says to “complete your FAFSA as soon as possible. Get in touch with our financial aid department, and we can walk you through the process, step by step.”

Join Us At United

At United, we are career-driven. We want to train students quickly so that you can begin your new career faster. “We provide our students a premium educational experience with face-to-face and personal interaction,” said Parker.

Our career-focused programs and supportive learning environment can help you start your career with the knowledge, skills, and experience to succeed. Explore our healthcare training programs and request information to get started today!

*For those who qualify.

**For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.

^ GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Meet The Campus Director – Ali Rachel

Meet Ali Rachel, Campus Director at United Career Institute in Fayette County!

In her new role as Campus Director, Ali is driven by the opportunity she has to help people every day when she goes to work. “I really, really believe in what we do. I really believe in career schools. Not everyone fits into one box. I want to be there for students who don’t fit into the four-year university box,” said Ali.

Ali has a great philosophy on helping students achieve their career goals, and that is to treat each student as an individual. She believes it’s extremely important to stop and understand each person’s unique story, how they learn, and how they interact with others. By truly understanding who each person is and where they come from, you can figure out what motivates them and how you can really help them be successful.

This philosophy on helping students is what enables each student at United to be treated as an individual person, with a supportive and caring environment that empowers them to succeed.

Ali loves many things about her role as Campus Director, but her favorite parts of the job are definitely the little things like “when I see a happy student in the hallway and they are really happy to be at school. For me, it’s all about the wins in students’ lives, like one student who was working in fast food and recently got a job at a nursing home.”

As for her own experience with higher education, Ali went to the University of Alabama and studied marketing. She then went on to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and studied merchandise marketing. Ali has always loved fashion and even used to collect Vogue magazines.

While enrolled in college at Alabama, Ali interned in the marketing department at West Virginia Junior College. After she graduated, a marketing position became available, so she started full-time in the marketing department then.

Ali made the decision to accept the position as Campus Director at United because she wanted to be more involved in the day-to-day operations of the school. With Campus Director Pam Hughes getting a promotion, there was an opening that needed to be filled, and Ali jumped on this opportunity to help and empower students every day.

With the continued growth of the medical field and the current COVID-19 pandemic, Ali believes there is a need for well-trained medical professionals in Fayette County. “With our focus on medical programs, we can be truly centered on medical training. Our career-focused programs are quick, so we can get people trained faster and out into the working world.”

Ali has some amazing advice for students who are thinking about attending United Career Institute. “You will be treated as an individual and not just a number. There is so much that goes into going to school, and it can seem very intimidating, but we can work through it together if you ask for help. Don’t be intimidated and don’t be afraid to make that first step.”

For high schoolers who are considering United, Ali says, “don’t be afraid to try something different. Many high schools preach to students about going to a four-year college, but that’s not right for everyone. Education can mean many things, not just a four-year institution.”

When asked what gets her up in the morning and motivates her to do her best each day, Ali said that it’s “my students and co-workers that motivate me. My co-workers really care about what they’re doing. They love to be here and that really helps me stay motivated. It can be really hard and exhausting, but it’s worth it to help people create a better future for themselves.”

The accomplishment in Ali’s life that she is most proud of is graduating college. She believes that education is a privilege, and she wants to help facilitate that privilege for as many people as possible. Many people never have the opportunity to go to college, so it’s something she takes very seriously.

When asked about the best advice she has received, Ali shared a quote that really resonates with her: “At all times people are doing one of two things – they are showing love or crying out for it.” Ali believes that when someone is acting a certain way, we should try and peel back the layers and find out why, so that we can truly help them on an individual level.

Outside of work, Ali loves watching college football and says her life is currently consumed by it. In the summer, Ali and her fiancé Zach enjoy going out on the boat and spending time on the lake. Ali and Zach also love to cook. She says she loves anything to do with food and could spend hours reading recipes and cooking. Ali says her favorite food is pasta in any form. That’s what she reaches to for comfort food or if she doesn’t know what to make. If she could have one superpower, Ali says she would choose teleportation because she doesn’t like to drive and it’s frustrating for her.

Are you looking for a school that truly cares about you? Do you want to graduate and start working quickly? Explore our healthcare training programs and request information today to get started!