Financial Aid and Paying for College
Two thirds of college students receive some type of financial aid.
Whether you're looking at academic scholarships, grants, or even if you are not interested in receiving any type of financial aid, it is highly recommended that you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
This can be done online by clicking on the link above. The FAFSA is required on order to receive the types of grants and loans listed below.
- The Pell Grant, dependent upon financial need is always available for up to $5,815 for a full-time student in the school year 2016-2017.
- The Federal Supplemental Education Oppertunity Grant (FSEOG) is available conditionally to Pell Grant recipients, from $100 to $4,000 per year.
- The National SMART Grant is available conditionally to Pell Grant recipients studying math and science or related fields, for up to $4,000 in each of the last two years of study.
- The TEACH Grant Program is available to ALL students who desire to teach in a "high-need" field and volunteer to teach in a school that serves low-income families.
- Federal Work Study provides part-time jobs on campus for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses.
- The Federal Perkins Loan can provide up to $5,550 per year to a maximum of $27,500 at 5.0% interest. You must have financial need and apply before funds run out.
- Direct Student Loans come in two categories:
- Subsidized loans mean that the government pays the interest while the student is enrolled. These loans have a fixed rate of 5.6%. The limits are $3,500 the first year, $4,500 the second year, and $5,500 every subsequent year.
- Unsubsidized loans have a fixed rate of 6.8%, but the interest starts accruing as soon as the student takes them out. These have a limit of $2,000 per year.
- Direct PLUS Loans are available to the parents of students at a fixed rate of 8.5%. The maximum amount is the student's cost of attendance minus ALL OTHER AID the student has recieved.
Additional Financial Aid Tips
- Start Early!
You can start up to two years before you graduate from high school.
Don’t turn down the small money!
Just because a scholarship is only for $500 or $50 it is still money you can use. All you have to do is apply.
- Don’t be afraid to search locally!
There is a lot of money in local organizations (hospitals, VFW’s, parent’s employers, banks/credit unions and so on).
- Keep this in mind when accepting aid:
- grants and scholarships before loans
- subsidized before unsubsidized loans
- do not take out too many loans to pay for the extras – eventually you will pay for this money with interest!
- private loans should be the last method to pay for education
- Apply for everything possible!
If you were able to raise too much money for college (BIG IF) you could always turn some down. Treat finding money like any other job you get paid for. You have to know what you are doing and take the time to do the job correctly. Lastly, you don’t pay to work, so don’t pay someone else to research for you. Use the many resources available to help you find money for college and if you have questions, just ask people not only will help you, but want to help you.
How to Pay for College
This video by Colorado Technical University (CTU) provides a great breakdown of "road-mapping" financial aid.
The video talks about a great resource: the CTU calculator. The federal government provides a similar calculator for all schools.
Net Price Calculator
*One point to take note of in the video is working with the school of your choosing. Often, there is millions of dollars in aid directly from the school for you to access, but to access the aid, you must work with the individual financial aid office.