Finding Ways to Pay For Education

Finding Ways to Pay For Education

(NewsUSA): In the current economy, many American workers are searching for ways to become more competitive in their fields. As a result, more adults are looking into higher education -- and trying to figure out how to pay for tuition.
The benefits of higher education cannot be disputed. According to a research report by Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education Policy, 55 percent of Americans believe that a college degree is the only way to succeed. Policy makers also seem to hold this view. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $53 billion in spending on education and training.
But how should that money be spent? Illinois has some ideas. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, along with the the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning(CAEL), started a pilot program in February 2006 in the health care field. The pilot program helps workers save money in Lifelong Learning Accounts (LiLAs).
LiLAs work like 401(k)s. The employee contributes a certain amount of money into the account, and the employer matches that contribution. The employee can then use that money towards tuition, books, lab materials or any other education-related expense.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that seven of the fastest-growing occupations are related to health care. Experts expect the health care industry to create 3 million new wage and salary jobs by 2016. In order to keep pace, three health care employers have signed up for the pilot program: Gibson Area Hospital, Access Community Health Network and Sinai Health Systems. Participants in Illinois have already been using their LiLAs to learn new skills in the health care field.
"I am very thankful to have been chosen for this program as I am able to take classes and receive certifications which I probably would not have been able to afford, especially now with my husband out of work," said participant Kristine Englin.
For more information about LiLAs, please visit www.lifelonglearningaccounts.org.