The ability to pay for college is a common concern among most students and parents. However, there are several resources available to students and parents to help fund your education after high school. These resources include federal aid, state aid, scholarships, loans and work-study programs.
Every student who has applied for admission to a particular school should also apply for financial aid. Some families perceive that they will not be eligible for aid because their family income is too high. This is not always true. Family income is only one criterion on which financial aid is based. The first step in the financial aid process is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in January of your senior year. The FAFSA is available online (www.fafsa.ed.gov). Information from your FAFSA is used to conduct a need analysis which determines the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You financial need is based on the total cost of attendance at a particular college/technical school minus your EFC. The EFC remains the same for every college regardless of the actual cost of attendance. Once your financial need is determined, this information is forwarded to the colleges you requested. Many scholarships also require that you complete a FAFSA. St. Teresa will be hosting a Financial Aid Evening on the night of December 16, 2015 at 6PM in the multi-purpose room at St. Teresa. Cheryl Howerton, Director of Financial Aid at Millikin University will present. We will schedule a FAFSA completion workshop at a time to be determined.
Sources of Financial Aid
Federal Pell Grants – These grants help pay for educational costs and require no repayment. Application is done when you complete the FAFSA. More information at www.studentaid.gov. .
Monetary Award Program (MAP) – Illinois funded grants help pay for educational costs and require no repayment. Application is done when you complete the FAFSA.More information at www.collegezone.com.
Federal Direct Loans – Loans provided by the federal government to students at a lower interest rate. These loans require payment with a variety of repayment options available. More information at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
- Perkins Loans – Federal need based loan available to students. Interest is subsidized (paid by the government) while the student is in school.
- Stafford Loans – Federal need based and non-need based loan. Interest is either subsidized or unsubsidized, depending on need.
Scholarships – Requirements for scholarships vary from academic performance, financial need, and merit based. Most scholarships are renewable if criteria for performance are met. St. Teresa receives information on a number of local scholarships every year. Details regarding the criteria for these scholarships can be found at the St. Teresa website in our Scholarship Database. There are many websites that offer search engines for free scholarship searches. It is suggested that you use one of these sites to do a scholarship search. Suggested sites: FASTWEB (www.fastweb.com), Petersons (www.petersons.com/finaid), ISAC Portal (www.studentportal.isac.org) or Wired Scholar (www.wiredscholar.com). Other sites that can be used are College Net, College View, College Tool Kit, Go College and School Soup.
Federal Work Study– Eligible students work part-time while attending classes at least half-time, generally in career-related jobs. Determination is based on need from your FAFSA.
Scholarship Scams – How can you tell a legitimate program from a scam? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)(www.ftc.gov), there are six phrases commonly used to lure in unwitting parents and students:
- This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.
- You can’t get this information anywhere else.
- May I have your credit card/bank account number to hold this scholarship for you?
- We’ll do all the work.
- The scholarship will cost some money.
- You have been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship. For just a small handling fee, we can send you the check.
In general, be wary of scholarships with an application fee, scholarship matching services who guarantee success, advance-fee loan scams, and sales pitches disguised as financial aid seminars.