Funding the Future

Funding+the+Future

Applying to college is an extensive process full of visits, applications, papers, pamphlets and ultimately, a decision. After the initial application is finished, yet another application must begin which may be the most important part.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 65 percent of undergraduates apply for some sort of financial aid. Scholarships and financial aid opportunities are widely available for college bound students. 

A scholarship is money rewarded to students that have outstanding academic records or display special talent or achievement.  The amount of money earned from a scholarship varies from school to school whether students are looking at a state school or a private school.  A scholarship can allow students to have a more broad choice of schools, not solely based on what they can afford.  University websites have tabs with scholarship information that tell prospective students the criteria used to determine the types of awards students can qualify for.

The types of scholarships that a student can earn vary.  Depending on the scholarship, it can provide relief from tuition, room and board or textbooks.  Collegescholarships.com and wiredscholar.com are just two examples of the various helpful websites available for students interested in applying for a scholarship.

Senior Katie Thompson filled out an application for a scholarship on fastweb.com.  “There were a bunch of different ones you could choose from,” said Thompson.  “It was really easy.  Basically I just put down my name and sent it in.”  The FastWeb website is simple.  Students fill out a short survey and it matches you with an appropriate scholarship and all of the applicants have a chance to win the money. 

Senior Alex Brant earned a scholarship from the Kiwanis Club due to her outstanding performance in the Key Club.  “I was honored to receive the scholarship,” says Brant.  “I think it’s really near and will be put to good use.” 

Students may not realize a scholarship’s impact on the cost of college.  A state school, such as Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has a yearly tuition of $17,600.  For a four year education, the total cost of college would be $70,400.  If a student earned a scholarship for $2,000 per year, it would reduce the cost of the four years by $8,000. 

A full list of available scholarships provided by community organizations can be found under the scholarships tab on Mrs. Kuhn’s webpage on the senior high website.  Scholarship forms need to be returned to the guidance office approximately a week in advance of filing deadlines to allow enough time to process the transcript.

“Scholarship deadlines are very strict,” said Kuhn.  “It’s very important for students to adhere to the deadlines.”

FAFSA is the free application for financial aid.  FAFSA is federal student aid available for high school students to apply for to help with college expenses. 

  This process starts by applying online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  By filling out the free application, students are applying for federal grants, state grants, and also more information on loans.  “If you don’t think you are eligible for a grant, you still need to fill it out for a loan,” said Kuhn.

Unlike scholarships, loans and grants are provided by the state.  A loan is a sum of money that students qualify for depending on financial need.  A loan will be paid back by the student upon college graduation. A grant, on the other hand, is awarded to students depending on financial need and academic excellence.  It is not necessary for grants to be paid back by students. 

Applying for a scholarship, loan, or grant is a simple task that can make all the difference for students when paying for college. 

Side bar:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid:             www.fafsa.ed.gov

PA Higher Education Assistance Agency:                               www.pheaa.org

US Department of Education:                                     www.ifap.ed.gov

AES/PA Higher Education:                                            www.aesuccess.org

College Net:                                                                       www.collegenet.com

College Scholarship:                                                        www.collegescholarships.com

EDUCAID:                                                                            www.educaid.com

Fast Aid:                                                                               www.fastaid.com

Fast Web:                                                                            www.fastweb.com

FINAID:                                                                                                www.studentaid.ed.gov

Free 4 U:                                                                              www.free-4U.com

Gates Millennium:                                                           www.gmsp.org

Mapping You Future:                                                     www.mapping-your-future.org

PA Mentor:                                                                        www.pennsylvaniamentor.com

Princeton Review:                                                           www.princetonreview.com

Sallie Mae:                                                                          www.salliemae.com/scholar

Science Wise:                                                                    www.sciencewise.com

Wired Scholar:                                                                   www.wiredscholar.com

Education Planner:                                                          www.educationalplanner.org

Go College:                                                                         www.gocollege.com

Natalie Nakles:

Every year, St. Vincent College provides students with the opportunity to earn the Wimmer Scholarship.  This year’s recipient, Greater Latrobe senior Natalie Nakles, received a full ride scholarship to the school valued at $120,000. Students with outstanding academic abilities are encouraged to take part in the written examination given by Saint Vincent College in the fall.  The students who take part in the exam are nominated by their high school principals due to their strong academic abilities and qualifications.  Out of the more than 200 students who participated in the exam, Nakles earned the prestigious award and plans to study bioinformatics at St. Vincent in the fall. 

Antioch College:

                Antioch College, located in Yellow Springs Ohio, has an opportunity for prospective students to earn a full ride scholarship to the school.  The Horace Mann Fellowship is a competitive award which includes a full-tuition scholarship for four years for undergraduate students.  This scholarship is awarded to bold, imaginative and creative students ready to take on a rigorous education and desire to make a change in their community and the world.