What Can Federal Financial Aid Do For You?

When a parent fills out a FAFSA application, available on this site or at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov the outcome of the FAFSA application will allow the student to be considered for various need-based programs, listed below.  Some awards are specific for students pursuing certain careers or majors.  Students who believe they may qualify for one of these special programs should contact their financial aid office to determine what additional forms may be required.

Federal Pell Grant Program

The largest federal need-based student aid program providing grant assistance ranging from $976 to $5,350 to undergraduate students who are enrolled in a degree or certificate program and have not received their first bachelor’s degree. Eligibility is based on demonstrated financial need, cost of education, and enrollment status. The amount of the student’s award is determined using the Federal Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) , Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the Payment Schedule provided by the U.S. Department of Education.  This grant is renewable each year as long as the student meets the requirements.

Federal Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG)

A new federal need-based grant was created to encourage students to take more challenging courses in high school.  The Academic Competitiveness Grants are available to students in their first or second year of college.  Up to $750 is awarded to eligible first-year students, and up to $1,300 for second-year students.  Eligible students must be U.S. Citizens who are Pell Grant recipients and are enrolled as full-time students.  In addition, recipients must have completed a rigorous high school program.  Students receiving a second year of an ACG Grant must also have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00.

Federal National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant

A new federal need-based grant was created to encourage students to pursue majors in high demand in the global economy.  National SMART Grants are available to students in their third or fourth years of college.  Up to $4,000 will be awarded each year to eligible students. To qualify, students must be U. S. Citizens who are Pell Grant recipients and are enrolled as full-time students.  In addition, recipients must be pursuing a major in mathematics, science (including computer science), technology, or engineering and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 at the conclusion of each semester.

Federal DVA Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational assistance Act of 2008 (GI Bill).  Under this program, the act provides payment for tuition, fees, a stipend for books and supplies, and a housing allowance for veterans who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001.  Colleges and universities enter into matching agreements with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to pay veterans’ tuition and fee costs above those covered by the GI Bill benefit.  The maximum tuition and fees benefit available under the law is capped at the level of the highest cost public institution in state.  Complete information on the Yellow Ribbon Program is available on the Veterans Affairs website, http://www.gibill.va.gov.

TEACH Grant Program

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides up to $4,000 per year in non-needbased grants for graduate and undergraduate students who will commit to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families.  Students may receive up to $16,000 for undergraduate study and up to $8,000 for graduate study.  Part-time students are eligible, but the maximum grant will be reduced.

In exchange for TEACH Grant assistance, recipients must agree to serve as a highly-qualified, full-time teacher in a high-need subject area for at least four years at a school serving low-income students.  Recipients must fulfill their four years of teaching within the first eight years after graduating college.  Current legislation has identified the following as meeting the definition of a high-need subject area for the TEACH Grant Program: Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition; Foreign Language; Mathematics; Reading Specialist; Science; Special Education.  Failure to complete the teaching obligation will cause the TEACH Grant to be permanently converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were first disbursed. Once a grant is converted to a loan, it cannot be converted back to a grant.To receive a TEACH Grant you must meet the following criteria:

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need.

Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

Be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a postsecondary educational institution that has chosen to participate in the TEACH Grant Program.

Be enrolled in course work that is necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such course work. Such course work may include subject area courses (e.g., math courses for a student who intends to be a math teacher).

Meet certain academic achievement requirements (generally, scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25).

Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve

To learn more about the TEACH Grant Program go to, www.teachgrant.ed.gov.
Federal Campus-Based Programs

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Perkins Loan Programs are referred to as “campus-based” programs. Under these programs, institutions apply annually to the Department of Education for funds and receive these funds directly. The financial aid administrator at each school determines which applicants are eligible and how much aid each applicant will receive.

While the Department of Education does set broad guidelines regarding the distribution of these funds, the individual schools set specific requirements, deadlines, and eligibility criteria.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Provides grant assistance to students with exceptional financial need. In awarding Supplemental Grants, priority is given to Pell Grant recipients with the highest demonstrated financial need.

Federal Perkins Loan Program

This program allows students who demonstrate institutional financial need and who are enrolled for at least 12 credits per term to borrow up to $1,000 each year of undergraduate study.  The interest rate is fixed at 5.0%. Interest does not accrue to the borrower, not does repayment begin on Perkins Loans until nine months after termination of college enrollment on at least a half-time basis. Interest accrued during in-school and the grace period is paid by the federal government. The repayment period is up to ten years depending on the total amount borrowed. Perkins Loans do not carry an origination fee. First-time borrowers must complete a Perkins Loan master promissory note to borrow funds through this program.

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)

This program provides on-campus employment to students with demonstrated financial need.  Various academic and administrative departments employ Federal Work-Study students in clerical, operational, and other office support functions. Working hours are generally limited to 10 to 15 hours per week. Students are paid at hourly rates ranging from $6.55 to $8.50.  Wages are put toward a student’s outstanding balance with the college or university.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program (Subsidized) If a student must take out loans, subsidized loans are a better option than non-subsidized loans.  The government pays (subsidizes) the student’s interest while the student is in school.

Allows students who demonstrate federal financial need and who are enrolled for at least six credits each term to borrow up to $3,500 for the first year of undergraduate study, $4,500 for the second year, and $5,500 per year for subsequent undergraduate study. The interest rate is fixed at 5.6%. Interest does not accrue nor does repayment begin on subsidized Direct Loans until the student is no longer enrolled in college on at least a half-time basis.  Interest accrued while in school and in the grace period shortly afterwards is paid by the federal government. The standard repayment period is up to ten years. Subsidized Direct Loans carry a 1.5% federal origination fee and an up-front interest rebate equal to 1.0% of the loan amount. Net proceeds will equal approximately 99.5% of the loan amount.  New borrowers must complete a Federal Direct Loan electronic master promissory note and complete an online Entrance Counseling Session to borrow funds through this program.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program (Unsubsidized) Of all federal loans, unsubsidized loans should be the last resort choice.  Although repayment doesn’t have to begin until after the student leaves school, interest is added to the loan balance from the moment the loan is taken.

Allows all students regardless of federal financial need and who are enrolled for at least six credits per term to borrow up to $5,500 for the first year of undergraduate study, $6,500 for the second year, and $7,500 per year for subsequent undergraduate study less the amount of any subsidized Direct Loan received by the student. New borrowers must complete a Federal Direct Loan electronic master promissory note and complete an online Entrance Counseling Session to borrow funds through this program. The interest rate  is fixed at 6.8% and the origination fee are the same as specified above under the description of the subsidized Direct Stafford Loan Program, however, interest accrual begins immediately during in-school and deferment periods. Interest accruing during these periods may be paid or capitalized.

Independent students may borrow up to an additional $6,000 per year for the first and second years of undergraduate study and up to an additional $7,000 per year for subsequent undergraduate study through the unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. Dependent students may borrow up to the same additional amounts through this program but only if the student’s parent is denied eligibility to borrow funds through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program.

Federal Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

This program allows parents of undergraduate students who do not have an adverse credit history to borrow up to the full cost of attendance minus other financial aid.  The interest rate is fixed at 7.9%. Interest accrual begins on the date of the first loan disbursement. The first payment is due within 60 days after the final loan disbursement.  Plus Loans carry a 4.0% federal origination fee and an up front interest rebate equal to 1.5% of the loan amount.

Army ROTC Scholarship

The U.S. Army is interested in selecting the best candidates for scholarships and ultimately commissioning as the future officer leadership of the U.S. Army. ROTC scholarships cover full tuition, fees, and books and supplies. Recipients also receive a tax-free subsistence allowance each month that the recipient attends classes (up to ten months each year): $300 freshman year, $350 sophomore year, $450 junior year, and $500 senior year.

In addition to the ROTC national scholarship competition (applied for during a student’s senior year of high school), students may apply for a three or four year scholarship during their freshman year. Sophomores may apply for a two or three year scholarship and juniors may apply for a two year scholarship.

The Army ROTC Program provides an academically integrated curriculum intended to train college students as officers for the United States Army.  Through Military Science, a student gains pertinent leadership and management skills while earning a college degree. ROTC cadets may pursue any course of study except Theology.

 

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