If you live in the beautiful state of Vermont, then you already know that the cost of living is quite high. This can put quite a damper on college and other educational and/or training plans for pursuing a career in the criminal justice field.

However, as they say, where there is a will, there is a way, and it is possible, no matter what your current financial state to make your dreams of having a career in criminal justice come true. It’s just a matter of being proactive enough to go out there and find them for yourself.

Good grant, scholarship, and/or financial aid opportunities for students interested in seeking help with their criminal justice education funding include the New England Regional Student Program, the Vermont Space Grant Consortium, the Vermont Student Incentive Program, and the Dr. James Lawson Memorial Scholarship.

Each of these programs gives out funds, which do not have to be paid back, to deserving criminal justice students each year. Each involves a lengthy application process, usually requiring an essay, high school or other educational transcripts, and certain other stipulations varying by program. While there is no guarantee you will be chosen for one or any of these programs, the more that you apply for, the better your chances are of receiving funding.

Also, do not underestimate the power of traditional financial aid. Each year, prospective college students of all ages are asked to fill out the free applications for federal student aid, known as the FAFSA. This lengthy application asks you to list all of your finances, including assets, current earnings, and more.

Once you complete the application, which can easily be done online, you will receive an estimate of what you will be expected to contribute to your education. Whatever is left over is generally about the amount you can expect to achieve from your institution in terms of financial aid. That financial aid may be offered in the form of loans, which will collect some interest and will have to be paid back after a set period of time, in the form of scholarships which do not have to be paid back, or in the form of grants, which do not have to be paid back.

Generally, such awards are contingent upon your academic performance, your continued good standing at the college or university of your choice, and on your stable income level. Furthermore, committing and being convicted of certain crimes can cause you to lose financial aid and other funding made available to you. Make sure that you know the rules and regulations surrounding any aid that you do accept, so that you don’t end up losing it later down the road.

If you cannot get enough financial aid to secure education at a particular college or university, be aware that many colleges and universities offer federal work study programs. In these programs, you are eligible to receive a job on campus, such as assisting a professor or working in the school’s bookstore or library, for which you will be compensated for your time, compensation that can be used to pay for books, tuition, and other necessary schooling expenses.

This is definitely something to look into, and has helped many students not only to make their educations possible, but also to provide them with valuable experience and a way to earn extra money during college.

Be aware, as well, that living off campus, if that option is available to you, can significantly reduce the costs of attending a college or a university. This is especially true if you can live with a parent or other family member without having to pay rent during your schooling.

Other things that can cut costs include attending a community college, as opposed to a traditional college or university, or attending school online, which tends to be significantly cheaper than going the traditional route. If you do do this, however, make absolutely certain that the school that you attend is accredited and fully legitimate. Also remember that staying in state and just merely being a resident of the state of Vermont will literally cut your education costs in half.