Much of the college-based funding you’ll find yourself eligible for will be determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. As certain federal programs are controlled by your intended college and awarded as part of your financial aid package, they are still considered college-based funding options. Those include work-study programs where the paycheck you make at a part-time on- or off-campus job goes toward your tuition and fees, the Federal Perkins Loan program and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Outside of federal programs, your new campus could be a good source for scholarships and grants you wouldn’t be eligible for if you were attending a different college. Merit and academic scholarships are especially popular, along with awards based on other criteria that your intended college may find desirable, such as athletics or artistic abilities. Try our college search to investigate financial aid programs offered by your intended school, or conduct a free scholarship search to find awards on the state and local levels, or by college.
Although they are considered federal aid, awards originating from the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Work-Study programs will be distributed by your intended college. The federal government awards FSEOG grant funds to participating schools as a way of supplementing Federal Pell Grants, which are available only to undergraduates, for the students with the highest need. Students who receive an FSEOG must then also be eligible for a Pell Grant. Your FAFSA will determine your eligibility, as some schools may not participate in the program. (Schools must contribute financially to the FSEOG program for funds to be made available to them. For every three dollars of federal money allocated to FSEOG, colleges are required to contribute one dollar.)
Federal Perkins Loans are made directly through your intended college’s financial aid office. In this situation, your school will be the lender of your low-interest loan, even though the loan has been created through government funds. These loans are available to both undergraduates and graduates with a high degree of financial need. Your financial aid office will also be able to tell you whether you qualify to have your Federal Perkins Loan canceled. This provision most often applies to students pursuing fields in high needs fields like teaching, nursing or law enforcement, or volunteering their services in programs like the Peace Corps.
The Federal Work Study Program allows undergraduates and graduates with financial need to work part-time and earn money toward their college tuition and fees. The jobs are often connected to a student’s interests or field of study, and if you work on your college campus, the job will most likely have a connection to your college. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed must be in the public interest. You’ll be making at least the federal minimum wage at the job, and when assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your class schedule and your academic progress.
Most colleges will have scholarship funds set up that disperse awards only to students attending that school. Many of these will be based on merit and academics; some you’ll be eligible for without even applying for because you’ve maintained a high enough GPA throughout high school or college. Others will be offered to you because you have qualities and attributes desirable to your intended college. As some scholarships come with very specific requirements, complete a profile and conduct a free scholarship search to find awards you may qualify for based on the school you’re attending or based on other criteria. You don’t need to be at the top of your class to win scholarship money.
College-based grants and fellowships are often very generous, but very competitive. While fellowships are awarded based more on academics, grants will often take financial need into account to assist low-income students in attending their institution. Grants may also be awarded based on merit, field of study or other characteristics specific to the student. Athletic grants may supplement sports scholarships at schools to draw the most talented athletes to a college, and will usually require a minimum GPA in addition to a high level of talent in a given sport. As funding is usually supported by endowments, funding levels for college-based grants may change from year to year. Contact your intended college or start with a college search to find out more information about college-based grants. Most fellowships will target those pursuing educations beyond their undergraduate degrees, and most fellowship providers will ask for something in return before awarding the funding, such as research or a comprehensive thesis. As fellowships are lucrative, you could be competing against the top students in your graduate or doctorate class and students who have a stellar academic record will be the strongest candidates.
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