Financial Aid for MCSE Training Available

U.S. Dept. of Education's FAFSA application is like free money, but deadline is looming.

Remember Skills2000, the loan program that Microsoft once offered to the elderly and U.S. veterans going into IT? How about the AATP program, Microsoft's partnership with accredited colleges providing MOC courses at student prices? Those days are long gone, but students who are looking for financial assistance with their college IT courses can still get help from the U.S. government.

The U.S. Department of Education's Web site offers its Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), The offer is only available U.S. citizens or to non-citizens currently attending a select number of U.S. colleges.

To view the application, go to For questions or general information, you can also call (800) 4-FED-AID (433-3243). The application deadline for the 2002 academic year ends July 1, 2002.

The application is not endorsed by Microsoft. More educational resources are available at

About the Author

Michael Domingo is Editor in Chief of Virtualization Review. He's been an IT writer and editor for so long that he remember typing out news items in WordStar.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Mar 1, 2005 benyaich morocco

Hello,this is probably the oddest return you've ever got even though I don't know if someone is reading it outhere.Anyways,I study to get my first MCP(70-215 w2k server) and I'd like to know if someone can help me to pay for my exams.

Tue, Dec 9, 2003 Richard Rochester NY

Hello please excuse the dumb question BUT does anyone know of ANY finacial aid avalible for MCSE traning ? Every community collage that I look at that offers MCSE classes tell me that the MCSE classes ARE NOT eligible for finacil aid ???? HELP ME PLEASE Im broke cant get a loan and need to get a MCSE cert. Any ideas.. PLEASE WRITE MY EMAIL ADDRESS AND HELP ME THANKS YOU GUYS.

Fri, Aug 22, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I am debating getting my MCSE cert. I am a college grad with an MIS degree. I have ahd trouble finding work in the IT profession and am thinking some certs might improve my chances in the job market. Do you think think that a Masters would be better than getting a MCSE cert...given that I have no experience...???

Tue, Jul 8, 2003 Tony Hosea Vanuatu

Is it possible for Microsoft to sponsor or to give out grant to those willing to do further studies.
How can we go about this issue?

God Bless You..!

Tony Hosea
University of the South Pacific
PMB 9072
Port Vila
Tel: +678 23988, Fax: +678 24371

Fri, May 23, 2003 padmaja india

i completely agree -if our govt footing the bill u know the tax payers are in the end the ones who are responsible.

Mon, Jul 22, 2002 klpz Anonymous

I think the reason a lot of people don't like this is because they feel threatened. There are a lot of admins who got in with no training and no degree. Most got where they are because of luck. They were probably working in the mail room or whatever when their company decided to purchase new technology and they were the only ones who knew how to turn a computer on. In a lot of cases the got where they are by being friends with or knowing the right people. Either way these "paper MCSE's" probably know a lot more than the average admin knew when they started "think back". I think this is a good plan. IT professionals have a reputation for being know it alls or premadonnas. In this shaky economy we need to change that image and support these students. They will be consumers and tax payers too.

Sat, Apr 6, 2002 dave california

I would say it should be available to any US citizen, but also to legal residents who pay taxes, or are part of a tax paying family. But as most people point out - its next to useless for anyone without experience anyway

Fri, Apr 5, 2002 david sacramento, ca

This program is restricted to U.S. citizens because it is good for all college work if you meet the criteria. It is govenment funded for college cours work not just for Microsoft related courses. There seems to be some confusion about that on this thread. The FAFSA is the same application that all college students have been using for financial aid for many years. It is not related specifically to Microsoft, the MCSE, or any other vendor. It is a set amount of money based on your income to use for your college level courses if you jump through all the hoops the U.S. government requires. AND... no it should not be available to everyone.... other governments in the world have programs to help their students go to college.... so if that is your beef.....go hit your own government up for help for college.

Fri, Apr 5, 2002 Susan Pennsylvania

My point was that I didn't think college students should waste their money on the certs until they finished their schooling - if you can get financial aid, it would serve you better to use it to pay for your college education than to spend it on getting a Microsoft certification. And I certainly wasn't saying that people should be restricted from getting certified, only that the financial aid should be restricted. I would hate to see people drop out of college thinking they can get a certification, a shortcut if you will, and get out there and expect to find a job. I think college students should be discouraged from doing that, don't you? Why make it easy with financial aid? All that will be doing is flooding the already flooded marketplace with more certified people that don't have the college degree to back up their lack of experience. Granted you are obviously an exception - most college students wouldn't have that many years of experience to show an employer when they got out of college. Consider yourself lucky!

Thu, Apr 4, 2002 Alnico Anonymous

OK, this makes me sick! I'm a 30 year old. A United States Armed Forces Veteran, who paid for the GI-BILL. I'm also a veteran in IT with MCSE+I, CCA, A+, Network+ & Server+ certifications and years of field experience. I have no degree, at a time that is what employers want more and more. I just got rejected for FASFA, because I either make too much money -- or they count the GI-Bill against me. The GI-Bill will pay for all of the degree I want; but it won't pay a dime until months after I start. It will even pay for my certification exams -- months after I take them (pass or fail) You would think before we'd pay for immigrant IT workers Uncle Sam would improve the GI-Bill to let Veterans get funds before they have to incure debt!!!

Thu, Apr 4, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

i agree the financial aid should be restricted to us citizens, but i don't think it should exclude college students. i am currently a sophomore in college and I PAY TAXES just like everyone else who works. and i pay my own tuition at an expensive, private college. why should i be restricted from getting financial aid if i pursue an MCSE class IN ADDITION to my college curriculum? i have the experience in IT. i've been working in networking for almost 5 years (since i was 15). if i get MCSE2K, i wouldn't consider myself a paper cert. maybe people should stop categorizing others. noone should be restricted from getting certified if they have the knowledge. it's obvious that a prospect won't get hired just for having an MCSE. it is far more valuable for those with experience. if two prospects both have experience, the one with the MCSE would have a better chance at the job. i think if people understand that, they wouldn't be so threatened by paper certs.

Tue, Apr 2, 2002 Dave Illinois

I also agree. US citizens should be the only ones that qualify for Financial Aid as we are the only ones paying into it. The thing I am upset about is that I have been in Technology for over 9 years now, and for the past 4 years it has been cheaper for US Companies to sponsor Visa's for people from other country's to come and work here and take our jobs. Now you want us to provide you with financial aid! Where does it stop? If I'm not mistaken that is how some of the terrorists from 9-11 got into our country.

Tue, Apr 2, 2002 Susan Pennsylvania

I completely agree - if our government is footing the bill you know the taxpayers are in the end the ones who are responsible. This should be open ONLY to US citizens - it's time for us to stop paying for everyone BUT our citizens to get ahead! Only individuals who are paying taxes (i.e. NOT college students) should be eligible. It's far more benficial for someone in school to get their comp/sci degree than it is to throw their money away on a certification.

Mon, Apr 1, 2002 George Houston

If the U.S. government is footing the bill and THAT money comes from U.S. taxpayers, ... the program should be restricted to U.S. citizens only!

Mon, Apr 1, 2002 Victim Internet

I am agree with Scott for scripting. Well, no experience means no job, MCSE doesn't really matter. Microsoft training will teach you the Windows' interface how to get things done without going to the real technology in most cases. So your knowledge may not be transferable to other OSes such as Linux. Also no parts of the Microsoft exams are performance based. You can find performance based exams in Cisco/Redhat/Novell, which will give you the real value in the job market if you can get one of these. Microsoft says you need one year experience to do/pass MCSE. But for the structure of their exams, I have seen many people are getting MCSE cert without that experience. So the final decision is yours.

Sun, Mar 31, 2002 suresh chandra hydeabad

i think this offer must be available to every one, not just for only U.S citizens. i dont think MCSD will be useful if u dont have work experience. but surely it will be an edge comparing to uncertified persons though u r a fresher. am i right!!!

Sun, Mar 31, 2002 Neville Malta

I totally agree with you guys. I had spent money on books and training to start my Win NT 4 exams.... after the first two... microsoft decided to expire these exams. I lost my Microsoft number and everything cause i didnt sit for another examination after a year... It helps to read the books and gain experience on the platforms, but the examinations are just useless, if your employer doesnt pay for them. Cheers.

Sat, Mar 30, 2002 Scott Spiess Roseville, Ca

I do not believe this is a good idea because of the shape the MCSE is currently in. I would hate to see more people putting themselves into debt for a certification that would not do them any good. As a college student, I would be spending my time learning scripting and programming which are standards for the computer science degree and are transferable to other operating systems. I am all for improving yourself, but the MCSE will not get you a job without experience.

Sat, Mar 30, 2002 Mike Nashville

MCSE certs only give an employer additional criteria by which they can judge you. Experience always matters and if you have experience and a cert you are way ahead in the playing field. But even a paper cert has a basis of understanding that will always be beneficial to an employer and speed the ramp up to get the greatest potential from a new emp.

Sat, Mar 30, 2002 Lisa Maryland

I am so sick of hearing that term - "paper MCSE"! If it's such a problem, then Microsoft should have prerequisites i.e. "must have worked in networking for x years, must be currently employed in xx field, etc." or make the tests impossible to pass if you haven't had the experience! Not to mention that the industry as a whole allows the lie of all those training centers to continue - "No experience necessary! Start training now and you'll be on your way to a high paying computer career!" Of course people are going to jump at the chance to retrain in a shabby economy! Of course people are going to expect to be able to get a job after they finish the program and get their certification! Then and only then they find out they are, in fact, unemployable when the reality of the this catch-22 hits home. The certification field makes me sick and I for one will NEVER get recertified on ANYTHING!

Sat, Mar 30, 2002 Nate West Chester PA

I really do not think that college students should be able to earn an MCSE certification unless they are in a situation that gives them EXPERIENCE. How many 'students' are network administrators? An MCSE needs to be a mid-career (1+ years) certification. It should not be considered entry level. After all, most people hire MCSEs for experience and knowledge. A paper MCSE might be able to give you the 'book learning', but has no practical experience applying that education. However, I do believe that people legitmately seeking the MCSE should be able to apply for financial aid.

Sat, Mar 30, 2002 amit bhartiya india

this facility should be avilable for all the students doing mcse .

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