Education after high school can help you find all sorts of new possibilities. High school is only the start.

ETV and Financial Aid

The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program assists eligible foster care and adopted teens or young adults with post-secondary education and training expenses. It is designed to help teens or young adults aging out of foster care with the education, training and services needed for employment. + Learn more

Cost does not have to be an obstacle to furthering their education. Youth can get financial aid from schools by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and sending it to each school they are considering attending. They may also qualify for particular scholarships, based on ethnic heritage, interests, or disabilities. Scholarships are also available from local groups, such as the Rotary Club or Kiwanis. Youth should check with school counselors as well as search online to find out what’s available for them.

Your Education

What do community colleges offer?

  • Affordability: The average cost of attending public community college in Virginia is approximately $4,080 for two semesters of full-time study or about 37% of the average in-state tuition and fees at Virginia’s public universities. Basic courses needed for a four-degree can be taken at community college. When you complete the basics, you can transfer to the four-year college for the advanced courses. This allows you to get the basics at a lower cost but still get your four-year degree.
  • Some public universities give priority admission to students who graduate from community colleges in the same state.
  • Preparation for transfer to four-year college or university. You can learn more about what interests you as well as improve your basic skills. For example, community college can help you improve your math and English skills so you can pass the exams to get into a four-year college.
  • Training for careers that require two-year Certification programs for entry-level positions, such as medical or legal assistant.
  • A range of noncredit programs, such as English as a second language, community enrichment programs, and cultural activities that help you learn more about things that interest you, make new friends and become part of a community.

More Resources: More about Community College; Great Expectations; Virginia’s Community colleges

What do four-year colleges offer?

  • A four-year degree equips you for careers such as teacher, accountant, architect, economist and many more. You choose an area to major in — such as history, computer science, etc. You must take courses to meet the requirements of the major you choose. You can also take other courses that interest you.
  • Public four-year colleges are largely supported by state funds. If you attend a public institution in your own state, you will get a break on tuition costs. It is also usually easier to get into a state school than a private college. However, if you attend a public college in ANOTHER state, you will not get the lower tuition.
  • Private colleges, on the other hand, are supported by tuition and donations. Usually, they are more expensive than public colleges, but private colleges often may offer better financial aid packages.

More Resources: Campus Explorer; How to get into college; How to write a college essay; Accessing College as an Undocumented Student in VA (English); Accessing College as an Undocumented Student in VA (Spanish); Accessing College as a Homeless Student in VA

What if I don’t want to go to college?

You can have a good career without going to college. “Trade” jobs, such as carpenter, welder, electrician, and others are in high demand, offer good pay, and may be exactly what you want to do. If you are interested in these jobs, you can go to vocational school or become a paid apprentice.

You can learn valuable skills without paying tuition by becoming an apprentice. Apprenticeship is paid, on-the-job training that lets you practice the skills you learn as well as teaching you the theoretical aspects of more than 1,000  highly skilled occupations.

What are the advantages of registered apprenticeship?

The Registered Apprenticeship system gives you many benefits including:

  • New skills that meet the specific needs of the employers.
  • Wage increases as your skills improve.
  • On-the-job training and job-focused education.
  • Career advancement.
  • Industry-issued, nationally recognized credentials.
  • Agreements between some apprenticeship programs and 2- and 4-year colleges that give you college credit and help you get a degree.

Apprenticeship programs can be offered by individual employers, labor groups, such as unions, and/or employer associations. The U.S. Department of Labor lists thousands of jobs for apprentices in Virginia.

More Resources: Apprenticeship opportunities in Virginia; Registered Apprenticeship system

What do trade schools offer?

Training for well-paid, skilled jobs, such as welding, cosmetology, construction, court reporting, dental hygiene, and auto repair, among many others, are provided by trade schools. Trade schools charge tuition, which may be covered by scholarships or grants.

How do I get in?

Trade schools have different requirements but for most you will need to have:

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Completed Application
  • Interview with an Admissions Representative
  • Trade School Admissions Test

Learn More: How to get into trade school

What Does the Military Offer?

The military is not only an opportunity to serve your country but also a great way to continue your education and personal development. Educational benefits include the GI Bill, tuition assistance, service member opportunity colleges, education while on duty, advanced technical and specialty training, and more. + Learn More

How Do I Get In?

Qualifications required by all five services include being: 

  •   A citizen of the U.S. or a resident alien.
  •   At least 17 years old (17-year old applicants require parental consent).
  •   A high school graduate.
  •   Able to pass physical and medical exams.

+ Learn More

More Resources

More Life Skills to Explore

Interested in learning more? Check out our other life skill pages.

Getting Around
Health & Nutrition
In a House with Roommates
Money Management