At The National Center for Outdoor Education & Adventure (NCOAE), we care about you and we want to give you the tools to help you succeed in life. As part of that commitment, we want to help you understand the options you have for affording your course. It’s closer than you think.

The first steps are to register and pay a deposit. You can do this either online or by phone.

5 Ways to Afford Your Course

Like most things in life, you are going to have to actively work to make your dreams come true. There are lots of opportunities to raise money to help you afford your course, but they’re not going to find you – you’ll have to do the hard work if you want to succeed.

One key to your success is to start saving and raising money for your course well in advance – one year is a good amount of time. Success takes time, and you are worth it!

  • Savings

    Start with you. Your personal funds are the best place to start when creating your plan. You can’t expect others to support you unless you are willing to support yourself. Set a goal, work, and set aside a percentage every time you receive money – earnings, tax refunds, and money you are gifted for any special occasions.

  • Family & friends

    These are the people who love you the most. Make it easy for them to support your goal by showing that you “did your homework.”

    • Identify your goal. I want to go on an NCOAE course because I want to  “____________.” (…become a professional instructor/experience new cultures and different views of the world become an EMT/learn to treat medical emergencies in the wilderness/become competent and confident in my ability to be a leader)
    • Identify your need. “After working and saving money for my course, I am still $_________ short of my tuition cost.
    • Plan ahead and prepare. Before you ask you friends and family for help, learn about NCOAE, your selected course, and why you want to take the course. Call us. Ask us questions. Let us educate you about what we do so you can educate others.
    • Make a list of people who are your friends and family who are likely to be supportive of you and your success.
    • Contact each person on your list and tell them about your goal, and your reasons for wanting to achieve that goal. Asking each person for ideas about how to reach your goal. In addition to getting more ideas, they could offer financial and emotional support – and you are going to need both.
    • Network. Ask friends and family to share your goal with their circles about your course and your fundraising efforts. Help can appear from anywhere if you keep your message circulating. Keep the excitement alive!
    • Accept help gracefully. If you are offered financial assistance in any amount, offer sincere thanks – not only for their money but also for them giving you their time, for listening to you, and for their ideas.
    • Accept rejection gracefully. Despite your best efforts, some will not be able, or willing, to help you. That’s okay. Remember, this is your challenge to overcome – not theirs. Thank each person sincerely for giving you their time and listening to you, and for their ideas.
    • Remember to say thank you. Whether you journal, or sketch, or take pictures during your course, send copies and personal messages to every single person who helped you achieve your goal.
  • Fundraising

    Be proactive – have fundraisers and ask your friends and family for help.  The sky is the limit, and you know what will work best for your community. Perhaps you could plan a local car wash? Perhaps you could have a bake sale before a local event? Can you make a sell crafts?  Brainstorm with friends and family and determine the most likely ways to help you reach your goals – and try them out.

    • Crowdfunding. A popular, and occasionally successful, way to raise money for education is through social media. The following sites allow for individual fundraising for education, and perhaps more.  Review each site to determine their criteria for creating a funding page, and whether crowdfunding is a good fit for you.
  • Sponsorships & Benefits

    Local organizations often offer assistance to support the success of their communities. Make a list of those organizations and then contact them to learn what sort of opportunities they offer. Everyone you are associated with – or hope to become employed by – is a potential sponsor.

    • Current or future employers – Tuition reimbursements
    • Church-synagogue-temple
    • Credit unions
    • Trade associations or labor unions
    • Fraternal organizations (Moose or Elks, Freemasons, Rotary, Key Club, etcetera)
    • Military benefits – Tuition assistance plans, veteran’s benefits, yellow ribbon program, GI bill education benefits, etc.
  • Scholarship & Grants

    There are education funds out there for anyone dedicated enough to find them. Search the web. Find organizations that support people who are like you, and those that support outdoor, adventure, and experiential education. And, determine what makes you uniquely you. Are you a military veteran who wants to become an EMT? Do you write well? Do you have a particular disease or disability? Freckled? Ethnic-American? Are you left-handed? Everybody has something that makes him or her different from everyone else.

    • Search the national databases of nonprofits on organization websites like GuideStar or the IRS Business Master File for organizations that offer scholarships or grants for the type of education your NCOAE course includes (cultural travel, international travel, emergency medical certification, environmental, etc., etc.).
    • Additionally, many military, government, and municipal organizations offer tuition assistance programs for professional development or educational advancement. Fire departments and the Federal Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA) offer some funding or reimbursement options for firefighters and First Responders to become EMT’s – sometimes paying for 100% of the course fees! Be patient, be persistent, make a list, and apply.

    As a 501c3, NCOAE cannot grant a tax deductible donation for tuition for a specific individual. However, if you would like to make a donation to establish a scholarship fund to endow an NCOAE course or program, please contact us – and thank you!