The world of college expenses can be both overwhelming and confusing. Students and parents receive only parts of the puzzle, so to speak. Since they are unable to identify the process from beginning to end, its difficult to ascertain what a student needs. So, let’s begin with the basics; there are four basic sources to fund college expenses which include: Scholarships, Grants, Educational Loans and Work- Study. Here’s bit about each….
Scholarships: There are two types of scholarships for college students and graduate students seeking a master’s degree which are merit-based scholarships and need-based scholarships. Some are both merit and need. Need-based scholarships require financial assistance qualification. Merit is about achievement. While some may think straight “A’s” are required, thats not always true. However, what the student lacks in academic merit, he must show another area of achievement such as high test scores, etc… these scholarships come from universities, colleges, college departments, professional societies and foundations. In other words, a student must shine in some way. Think about it, if you established an educational foundation to award students, what types of students would you award?
Grants: They are also known as “gift aid.” While they qualify as financial aid, they generally do not have to be repaid. There are four main types of grants which include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the Iraq and Afghanistan Grant and the Teacher Education Assistance for College & Higher Education Grant. A university will determine grant eligibility based on the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) score generated by the annually submitted FAFSA (Federal Application for Financial Student Aid).
Loans: In contrast to grants, student loans must be repaid. However, the terms of the loans can vastly differ. Some are subsidized loans; others are unsubsidized loans. In other words, some accrue interest while the student is enrolled, but others do not accrue interest during enrollment. There are two main types of loans: Federal Perkins Loan Program and the Direct Loan Program. The second type has four sub-programs or options which include: a Direct Subsidized Loan, a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, a Direct PLUS loan, and a Direct Consolidation Loan. Regardless to the type of loan, all of them must be repaid.
Work-Study: There are two types of programs that allow a student to work on a college campus and earn money to pay for tuition expenses. The programs include a Federal Work Study Program (based EFC) and a University Work Study Program.
In summary, there are different methods to pay for college expenses. Do YOU have an expert guiding you?
Nadine Underbrink, M.Ed.
College & Scholarship Consultant