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FinancingCollege

Page history last edited by HA Maison 10 years, 7 months ago
 
 
Anyone can attend college if they have drive, desire, and a plan. The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive guide for college financing and admissions options for counselors, parents and their students.  Scholarship and Financial Aid Services has been providing College Financial Solutions for students and their families for the last 15 years, making college dreams a reality for students of all background and skill levels.
 
 
The following programs and topics provide a comprehensive plan to enable students (and their parents) to organize, identify and win in the College Financing Arena. Each topic consists of clear definitions of the terminology, processes and procedures students need to understand to develop winning strategies for gaining the funds needed to attend the college of their choice.
 
This information has been gathered from several sources and will continue to grow as more sites and information is found.
 
 
 

Scholarship and Financial Aid Services, "15 Years of College Success"

 

 For more information, email:

safas@bellsouth.net

 

 

College Financing is all about 'Packaging'.  Knowing what is available to the students, counselors and parents and how to win them. Pulling together a variety of Grants, Loans, Work Study, Scholarships, Creative Options, Military Options, Savings Plans, Family Contributions, Bargaining, Fee Waivers, and part-time Working Options that culminate in the total funding needs for any given college.
 
 
 
Note: This identifies web sites as sources of information and examples of concepts discussed. Some site addresses may change without notice. If this occurs, go to the site home page and follow links to the desired section. For example, if the precise link is "http://www.collegefinancingguide.com/estimcosts.html#worksheet" and the page is missing, go to the http://www.collegefinancingguide.com" home page and navigate to the estimating worksheet.
 
The following are college myths you may have heard:

-   Myth: To get into college you need to have a 3.5 Grade Point Average, or GPA, be a Varsity Athlete and Member of the Student Body Government.  

-   In the real world: Hundreds of thousands of average students across the nation are enrolled in college; many simply hold G-E-Ds or high school equivalency diplomas.

-   Myth: You have to be president of the Senior Class, have a 4.0 GPA and be captain of the football team to win a scholarship.

-   In the real world: Maybe thousands of students are attending college on scholarships based on need, ethnic background, academic discipline or combination of these three variables that have just above average grades, but have tons of heart. 

-   Myth: Family members who attended the college you are interested in, or having influential relatives or friends, will insure that you get into the college of your choice.

-   In the real world: The college admission process is practical and analytical.  Colleges admit students based on standardized test scores, class ranking, GPA, course studies, essays, interviews or a combination of any or all of these. College entry requirements vary based upon the level of selectivity of that institution. 

Look at the following web sites for two different colleges to illustrate the admissions requirements. Identify the specific requirements and just as importantly, what is not a requirement (like specified SAT/ACT, GPA, Class Rank, etc.)
1st site to review:
http://www.lccc.edu/admissions/admission-policies.asp

Note: Observe an absence of any particular testing or GPA requirements for this institution. This is common for many community colleges across the nation.

2nd site to review:
http://www.valdosta.edu/admission/requirements.html

Note: Observe specific course requirements, Verbal and Math SAT requirements and other academic admissions criteria for this institution.

 

Four-year colleges, or check out
http://www.petersons.com, and search for specific college types
The key to financing college is packaging. No one single option pays for an entire college education, like a single large scholarship or grant. It is the pulling together of the many financing programs into a single package that, when combined, pays the full college cost.   The Package Builders:
  • Financial Aid
  • Grants 
  • Loans 
  • Work or Work Study
  • Scholarships
  • Creative Options
  • Savings Programs
  • Military Options
  • Internships, Co-op Programs
Each of these options are discussed individually, but to give parents, counselors, and students an example of the thousands of options available, review the http://www.finaid.org web site.
 
 
 

Calculating the Financial Need.

 
It is impossible to explain college funding without having a complete understanding of the total expenses required to finance the college cost.  Universities and colleges vary widely, depending on the type of college, public or private, size, location, and percent of need, colleges will meet. Students must take into consideration all costs, not just tuition and fees.
 
All colleges use the same standard areas for estimating student costs for their colleges. The Federal Financial Aid process includes these areas in the amount the government is willing to assist you with.
 
 
 
Consider using the http://www.collegefinancingguide.com/estimcosts.html#worksheet web site for greater detail on estimating expenses. <o:p></o:p>
 
1. Total expenses for college are made up from the following categories: Tuition and Fees, Room and Board, Transportation, Books and Supplies, and Personal Expenses.

 

2. Answers will vary. Average college expenses differ greatly by school type as well as other factors and may fluctuate by semester. The following chart shows estimates by school type and category:

 

 

 
Community College (2-year)
State College or University (4-year
Private Institution
Tuition and Fees
$2,500
$7,000 to $12,000
$21,000
Room and Board
$2,500 to $6,000
$2,500 to $6,000
$2,500 to $6,000
Transportation
$450 to $2,000
$450 to $2,000
$450 to $2,000
Books and Supplies
$500 to $820
$500 to $820
$500 to $820
Personal Expenses
$1,000 to $1,500
$1,000 to $1,500
$1,000 to $1,500
Totals
$6,950 to $12,820
$11,450 to $22,320
$25,450 to $31,320

 

 
 
 

Financial Aid

 
The vast majority of students are eligible for some type of financial aid.  This is one of the strongest package builders.  Financial Aid represents the difference between what the students or parents will pay and the aid the college will offer.  Financial Aid as a package builder consists primarily of grants, loans and work study.  Each of these three programs, grants, loans and work study, will be explained in the next section of this program.  Funding for each of these programs comes primary through Federal and State Funds, and Local funds that are typically controlled by the college or university the student is applying to.  In most cases, access to these monies begins with the completion of the Free Application for Financial Student Aid. The Department of Education uses the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal aid. Many states and colleges or universities also use the FAFSA to award aid from their programs. Some states and colleges may require additional forms.
 
Some of the requirements include:
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the with a valid SSN
  • Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate or pass an approved "ability to benefit" test
  • Register (or have registered) for Selective Service (http://www.sss.gov), if you are a male between the ages of 18-25
Financial need is determined based upon the cost of the institution, including all expenses, minus the Expected Family Contribution, or E-F-C.  The E-F-C calculation is explained thoroughly in the accompanying video.  Review the web sites listed below for additional information.
Review the "Financial Aid" section of the following web sites: 
To apply for financial aid on-line, go to:
As an option, the following site provides a good overview of the financial aid process and should be reviewed:     
Remember:
1. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
2. Self help examples include loans and work-study. Gift help examples include grants and scholarships. Grants are important because they are FREE, not paid back.
3. Submit your FAFSA on or about 1 January of your senior year.
4. The Federal Government determines Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by evaluating parent/student income and number of family members.  
5. Cost of college ($16,0000) - EFC ($1,000) = Need ($15,000)  Review the following web site for great articles on this subject:

http://media.kiplinger.com/planning/college/financial_aid/

 

 

Loans and Grants

 
For many, college loans are part of a successful college financing package. They fill the gap between grants, scholarships and family contributions in financing a college education.  Loans are among the best investment students can make in reaching educational goals.  Loans vary in amount depending upon your expected family contribution and the cost of the institution. Plus, one more very important factor - the "percentage of need met" the institution provides and that institution's "gift vs. self help" policies. 
 
There are various types of college loan programs from both public and private agencies. Many states provide service cancelable loans for high demand disciplines (like Sciences, Mathematics, or Education). Check with your specific state education agencies for availability. College loan programs offer many advantages to college students and their families including:
  • Easily attainable
  • Low interest rate Repayment deferred until after graduation
  • Parental loans (PLUS loans) availability
  • Multiple loan agencies
  • Private banks/agencies
  • State agencies
  • Federal programs
"Loans Section" and the following web sites to research different loan options:

 

 

 

1.   What are the primary reasons school loans are such a viable college financing option:
Low interest, not paid back until college is completed, easer to obtain than normal loans
2.   Guaranteed student loans (Like Stafford or PLUS Loans) are only obtained through the completion of the Federal Financial Aid process.
 
3.   Work Study programs are on-campus, part-time work positions directed through the financial aid office. Students can work between 1-20 hrs per week, and although minimum wage is normally the base salary, it does not affect other financial aid programs and is tax-free. This makes it the best college part-time job students can hold. You must fill out Federal Financial aid forms to be eligible for this program. Work Study is one more sub-category of the financial aid process. Specifically a self-help category, Work Study provides a job on campus that allows eligible students to work part-time with the University while still being a full-time student. Students should inquire with the Financial Aid offices to request Work Study jobs in lieu of Loans or off campus jobs in every instance.  Work study is a fantastic way to assist in financing college costs, be on the inside of the college process and gain valuable work experience. Work study is the best college job available.

 

 

Review the following web page to get a detailed understanding of work study:
 
 

Scholarships

 
Scholarships are a great college financing package builder.  There are literally hundreds of scholarships for every academic student level and in support of most college disciplines.
 
Scholarships may be the most underutilized College Financing option. This situation is due mainly to the limited knowledge of just how many scholarships exist, where to find them and how to win them. Add the misconception that scholarships are only for the very smart or very needy and it gets even worse.  It is estimated that six hundred thousand individual scholarships are available each year for college bound students. With the continued need for skilled employees and the generosity of many thousands of companies and individuals, hundreds of scholarships are added monthly. Unfortunately, thousands go unclaimed because eligible students simply do not apply for them.
 
 
 
Scholarships are grouped into three basic types:
 
  • Need-Based Scholarships

    Reviews background, financial need, ethnic or gender considerations, and basic skills

     

    Example:  College bound students with little or no money available for college
  • Merit-Based Scholarships

    Reviews skills, GPA, standardized test scores, sports, band, or desire to study specific discipline in college

     

    Example:  Honor student who intends to participate in the campus marching band
  • Combination of Need and Merit Scholarships

    Mix of the two categories above

     

    Example:  Male student that wants to study Nursing (specific skill)
The Internet has forever changed the way students can find scholarships.  Traditional search means, such as libraries, counselors and College admissions and scholarship offices, are still viable options for identifying scholarship sources. However, the Internet is considerably faster, more proficient and has the ability to search for specific needs on a much larger scale.  Knowing your ethnic, family, financial and religious backgrounds and basic understanding of career goals, a student can significantly narrow the search.  Developing specific search routines and, when done in conjunction with the accompanying video, "Where to Find Scholarships" section, you will be able to identify where to find the right scholarships for you.  With six-hundred-thousand plus scholarships available, the key is targeting the specific search locations that provide the easiest, most pertinent search options.  It is impossible to give an exhaustive list of need, merit and combination scholarships. Research areas such as print, internet and personal contacts, will assist you in finding the "right" scholarships. 
 
  • Religious Organization  Check with your local Pastor, Priest, Rabbi or Cleric about local and national scholarships opportunities
     
  • High School Career Counselor Discuss scholarship options available
  • Parents/Guardians Inquire as to scholarships available through their employer
  • Library Reference Desk Ask for the Book of Associations, Foundations Reference Books, The Book of Lists; reference desks can also be of assistance in finding internet sites as well
  • College Scholarship/Financial Aid Office Ask about scholarships that are specific to the colleges you are applying to 

 

  • Local civic organizations Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, Elk, etc.; contact local chapters in your town to see what local/national programs organizations have
 
 

Other Links

 

The following sites discuss specific military family members aid, scholarships or organizations that support college funding:
 
 
 
Army Emergency Relief site:  http://www.aerhq.org

  

Air Force Aid Society site:  http://www.afas.org
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance site:  http://www.cgmahq.org
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society:http://www.nmcrs.org
 
 
 
Note:  Specific ROTC, and Academy web sites are covered in the military portion of this program.
  • Peterson's has published several College Guides (Two Year, Four Year, Private and Regional) with detailed information on specific colleges and what they offer in scholarships and financial aid.
  • Additionally, you can find this book and several other print sources on scholarships through your high school guidance office or local public library.
 
 
Keys to Winning
With the abundance of scholarships available to you, the real key is understanding how to win them. Knowing that the major factors in winning scholarships are involvement in high school activities, scholarship applications are basically the same. That is, most require pictures, resumes, interviews, academic records, etc. Following an established routine will best leverage you for success in the scholarship arena.
 
  • Involvement

    Involvement is the key to both scholarship and entry into college. Seek out opportunities to lead, volunteer or participate in every endeavor.

  • Generic Applications

    Scholarship applications are generic, meaning once you have the standard data required for one scholarship, you have the data for many i.e. GPA, SAT/ACT scores, class ranking, list of extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation etc.

  • Establish Routines

    Set aside one or two hours per week to work on the scholarship process.

  • Basic Scholarship Processes

    Refer to the accompanying video and interview section of this course to get a clear understanding of the basic rules of winning�interview skills, pictures, resumes, timelines and essays.

<o
Consider reviewing the following web site for more details on this area: http://www.scholarshipcoach.com
 
 
 
Creative Options
 
Creative options are college financing programs not normally associated with a specific financial aid, scholarship or traditional college funding activity. Review the accompanying video "Creative Options" section for assistance in understanding your creative options.
 
 
 
Part time work: find part time work in the area you wish to study in college.   http://www.bygpub.com/books/tg2rw/part-time.htm
 
 
 
Civic Groups and Clubs: participate in clubs or groups that offer grants and scholarships like boy scouts, FFA, Girl Scouts, School Bands, and JROTC
 
 
 
Family: ask the entire family to assist you in your finance needs. Set up an account for contributions from family members.<o:p></o:p>
Professional Organizations: contact professional organizations in the field or discipline you intend to study in college and ask for assistance.   http://dir.yahoo.com/business_and_economy
 
 
 
Internships: Many institutions provide internships and co-op opportunities, which may assist in financing college and give much desired work related experience. Ask the college you are considering attending about these types of opportunities.   http://www.jobweb.com/resources/library/interncoop_programs/default.htm 
 
 
 
Shorten time in college: You will find this option will save you the most money, especially in today�s environment where the average college student is completing a 4 year Bachelor�s degree in 5 to 5 ½ years.  Take short or mini-semester courses; take CLEP exams; take advanced placement courses in high school; take maximum course loads while in college. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html
 
 
Military Options
 
The U.S. Army has a multitude of financing options to assist you in your college goals.  This chapter will outline those options by linking you to established web sites and portals designed to give you detailed overviews of each.  Many of these sites also allow you to apply online for these financing options. From USMA to Army ROTC Scholarships; from U.S. Army Reserves programs to state National Guard activities; this chapter will outline terminology, testing, and support programs available to you today through the U.S. Army.
 
 
 
US Military Academies: What they are; breading ground for future leaders, CEOs, and Senior Executives for both the Military Service and Corporate America.  They provide some of the strongest education and academic programs in the world.  What they are not; easy.  They are looking for the nation�s top one percent of the graduating High School Senior Class.  Demanding entry requirements and even more demanding well-rounded academic and athletic student backgrounds, make these institutions some of the most prestigious in the world.
 
·http://www.cga.edu              U.S. Coast Guard Academy
·http://www.nadn.navy.mil      Naval Academy- Annapolis, MD
·http://www.usafa.af.mil         U.S. Air Force Academy-Colorado Springs, CO
·http://www.usma.edu           U.S. Military Academy- West Point, NY
·http://www.usmma.edu         U.S. Merchant Marine Academy- Kings Point, NY
 
 
Senior Military Colleges: What they are; both Federally and State supported, Senior Military Colleges provide full-time military college programs to students, with outstanding educational opportunities while still being able to live and attend college in a standard University setting.  Costs and savings vary depending on location and type of institution. Because of their Federal status, many provide significant financial incentives in scholarships, out-of-state fee waivers, and grant programs.  Contact each specific college for information on these incentives.  
 
Each school provides full-time military lifestyles and activities (drill teams, ranger challenge, rifle teams and the like) on a standard College Campus setting.

 

Unlike the Academies, Senior Military Colleges require no military obligations unless the attending student selects to do so.

Military Academy Students
 

 

Reserve Officers Training Corps What they are; an opportunity for students to fully participate in day-to-day college life, while preparing to become commissioned officers in the Armed Forces after graduation.  ROTC programs are not full-time military, but they are still looking for student athlete leaders to fill their ranks.  ROTC can greatly assist in college financing while providing students the leadership skills to be a success in any endeavor.
ROTC participation and scholarships are offered by the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force. They significantly reduce or eliminate college financing costs through part-time pay, book and fee allowances, possible room and board waivers, college tutors and tuition payments.
NOTE: ROTC participation and scholarships are offered by the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force. They significantly reduce or eliminate college financing costs through part-time pay, book and fee allowances, possible room and board waivers, college tutors and tuition payments.
U.S. Reserves & National Guard:   What they are; weekend and summer job opportunities that have the best college financing options available today.  "Citizen Soldiers", Federal Reserve, and State National Guard agencies provide specific skills training and various college financing options for virtually every college in the nation.  They are not "Full-Time Military". In the event of a national emergency, Reserve or National Guard forces could be activated to provide assistance.
U.S. Reserve and National Guard forces, which include Army components, Air National Guard, Navy, Air Force, and Marine units, have developed financing options that off set or can completely pay for your college expenses. These include:
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Fee Waivers
  • GI Bill Options
  • Loan Repayment Programs
  • Part-time Work Positions
* U.S. Reserve and National Guard sites The following national sites for specific reserve or guard programs:
Armed Forces: Active Duty: What they are; not the fastest route to college degrees due to immediate active duty requirements for two to six years.  They do provide the opportunity to gain real world experience, time management skills, savings and fantastic college financing programs.  These benefits significantly increase the ability to attend and graduate from any given college.  
This is an option for students not ready for college or those that want the work experience first. The United States Armed Forces - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard - provide excellent educational benefits in the form of GI Bill, tuition assistance and college savings programs, plus real world on-the-job training.
Interview Skills
Preparing for an Interview
 
Properly preparing for interviews is extremely important because an interview is often required for entrance into highly selective colleges, as well as a requirement for scholarships. The impression a student makes before an admissions or scholarship committee may not only determine entrance into a chosen school, but if the student can afford to attend.

 

The key to a successful interview is preparation. Developing a plan and practicing for the interview will give you added confidence and increase your chances of winning.

 
To win in the interview process, practice eye contact and posture, develop a resume, think before you respond, and present yourself in a positive light. Reply respectfullly to questions, "Yes Sir/Ma'am, No Sir/Ma'am".  Resumes should include demographic information (name, address, phone, e-mail), and high school history, including:
  • Academics
  • Athletics
  • Work History
  • Honors or awards received
  • Clubs, organizations, and positions held (if any)
  • Professional Photo (Not expensive�K-Mart will do.)
  • Academic or educational goals statement
Interview Skills for College Admission and Scholarships:
  • Dress appropriately
  • Practice good posture
  • Practice your interview with parents or friends
  • Rehearse the "Yes Sir/Ma'am, No Sir/Ma'am" rule
  • Guide the interview by preparing a resume
Student Planning Guide
High School Plan
 
Establishing a Student Planning Guide, that is, developing a plan of attack about how a high school career progresses, provides you a great opportunity to map your high school plan. There is an old business adage that says "that which gets measured gets done".  Putting a plan in writing allows you to see what you've accomplished and what still needs to be done.
  • Plan of Attack
  • Map your high school plan
  • "That which gets measures, gets done"
  • Put the plan in writing so you can see what you have done!
When selecting students for admission, colleges use the first three years of high school work including G-P-A and class rank to determine admission, so getting off to a good start is very important.
 
Involvement is the key word.  Scholarship committees and colleges are looking for students who are not only academically inclined, but who also volunteer and accept responsibility.
 
Taking the P-S-A-T in the freshman or sophomore year puts you "in the loop".  It puts colleges on notice of your intent to pursue higher education, and assists them in their efforts to identify you. 
 During your freshman and sophomore years:
  • Align yourself with the "right" courses, such as College Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
  • Get Involved with Clubs and Organizations, Student Government, Sports, and volunteering in the local community.
  • Take the PSAT or PACT.
 
During your Senior year:
Don't slack off!  Although colleges admit on junior year scores, they can easily revoke admissions on poor senior year grades.  Most scholarships will include senior year scores and course work.  This is a great time to round yourself out; do not get senioritis.   See the link below for more information. http://collegeapps.about.com/?once=true&;
 
Putting it All Together
 
You now have an overview of the Package Development for financing college. And to reiterate, Packaging is the drawing together of the various college financing options that are used to finance the total cost of college.  The better you know your academic goals and the more detailed your plan, the more complete your package will be.  Review each of the areas covered in this course and accompanying video to develop a plan to make your college dreams a reality. 
 
Grants:  Free money through the Federal Financial Aid Process.

 

Work Study:  Your best bet for part-time college work.  Does not effect expected family contribution and makes you part of the university system. Obtained through the Federal Financial Aid Process.

 

Scholarships:  Merit and Need Based.  Identified through web searches, library resources and personal contacts. Use basic interview skills, plus follow up action as you apply. 

 

Creative Options:  Part-time work, Family Assistance, using Professional Organizations, and Shortening time in college.

 

Military Senior Military Colleges, ROTC, National Guard/Reserves and Active Duty all provide college financing sources in the form of GI Bill, tuition assistance, loan repayment programs, and part-time work.

 

Packaging:  Knowing Real World College Cost, understanding the Student Planning Process, Interview Skills, and how it all plays into Putting It All Together, is the key to the College Financing Process.

 

 

Loans:  Package builders that are low interest, not paid back until college completion, and obtained through the Federal Financial Aid Process.
 
Now that you have completed "Putting it All Together", you should have learned the following:
  • Grants, loans, and work study are package builders available through the federal financial aid process.
  • Merit and need based scholarships are found through web searches, library resources and personal contacts.
  • Interview skills and resume writing are keys to success.
  • Part-time work/internships, family assistance, using professional organizations, and shortened college are creative options.
  • Academies, SMCs, ROTC, National Guard/Reserves and Active Duty all provide college financing sources such as GI Bill, tuition assistance, loan repayment programs, and part-time work.
  • Knowing real costs, understanding the student planning process, interview skills, and how they intertwine, is the key to the financing process.
Forr an additional overview of the complete package for financing college, refer to the following links/web sites:

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