No matter how in control we feel we are with our lives and plans, the truth is that “life happens”. It happens to everyone, at different times in our lives when we are in different situations.
If you are in massage school and certain life events happen that cause you to contemplate dropping out, know that you may have alternative options available that could make your situation a lot better than you feel it is or can be.
Unfortunately many massage students are not aware of the alternatives available to them and therefore decide to drop out of massage school when faced with life changing events and experiences such as a job loss. Our goal in this article is to share a couple alternatives that may help you with some flexibility and allow you to complete your education without having to drop out of school.
This is especially relevant if you, like many massage students, are working to support your education. Understand that there are options and you don’t necessarily have to drop out of massage school until you explore these options. Dropping out should be your absolute last option.
Scholarships, Awards and Grants
We have discussed scholarships, awards and grants in previous articles. These don’t need to be applied for and received only at the time of admission. Several aid programs exist which allow you to apply for them at any time. Keep your search ongoing and you will likely find several of these. Ask your school as they will also be able to point you in the right direction.
Part Time Student Option
Many schools recognize financial hardship and will allow you to attend school part time instead of full time. This does two things for you. First, it allows you more time outside school to search for another job or work another part time job to earn income. Second, it allows you to pay a lower tuition bill since you are taking fewer classes or credits. Talk to your admissions and financial aid representatives to understand what your options are.
Flexible Payment Plans / Pay as You Go Plans
Many schools also offer flexible payment plans such as pay as you go plans. These plans allow you to pay smaller installments over time instead of paying a large lump sum payment at the beginning of your program.
Tuition Forgiveness Programs
Ask your school whether they have tuition forgiveness options. These options allow you to trade services in exchange of tuition forgiveness. The most common example of this is that a school may forgive your tuition if you commit to working for an affiliated company for a certain amount of time after graduation.
Employment Gap Programs
This option is particularly attractive for graduate students in a massage therapy program because some schools offer compensation up to $2,000 toward your tuition and fees. The criteria are that you must have lost your job and are in a graduate level program. This program is commonly called an Employment Gap Program, but may be called something else in some schools. If you explain the details to your school representative, they will be able to tell you whether this is something they can accommodate.
Some schools that offer this program require that you complete a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Read this article for more details on FAFSA.
Once again, dropping out of massage school should be avoided at all cost, and your absolutely last option if none of the above alternatives work out for you. We hope this article helps provide you with alternatives during tough times such as a job loss so that you are able to complete your education while accommodating your personal needs.