Every year, millions of students graduate from high school. A college education is often the foundation to achieve their dreams. Funding that education may not be as hard as it seems.
Student aid is available from many sources. A good place to begin searching is the local library. Most libraries have a student aid section. Some sources to research include:
- Federal Student Aid Programs
- State Student Aid Programs
- Religious Organizations
- Civic Groups
- Parent's Employers
- Organizations related to your field, such as the American Medical or Bar Associations
Federal Student Aid Programs
The U.S. Department of Education provides $33 billion each year to students attending "post-secondary schools." They provide financial aid through a variety of programs, including:
- Federal Pell Grants - For undergraduates only. They don't have to be repaid.
- Federal Stafford Loans - Available to both undergraduate and graduate students, they must be repaid. First-year undergraduates are eligible for loans up to $2,625. Amounts increase for each year of study. The interest rate varies but never exceeds 8.25%.
- Federal PLUS Loans - Unsubsidized loans made to parents. The interest rate varies but never exceeds 9%.
- Campus-Based Programs - Administered by participating schools.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants - For undergraduates only, they range from $100-$4,000.
- Federal Work Study - Provides jobs to both undergraduate and graduate students so they can earn money to pay education expenses.
- Perkins Loans - Low interest (5%) loans that must be repaid. Loans can be up to $4,000 annually for undergraduates and up to $6,000 annually for graduate students.
To qualify for these programs, the student must be:
- a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen registered with the Selective Service
- attending a participating school
- working toward a degree or certificate
- making satisfactory academic progress
- You must also have a financial need, have no drug convictions, and not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan.
For more information, contact your college financial office or visit the U.S. Department of Education website at: www.fafsa.ed.gov
Ohio Financial Aid Programs
The Ohio Board of Regents manages state-funded financial aid programs, including:
- Part-Time Student Instructional Grant - For Ohio residents who are enrolled part-time in undergraduate studies at an eligible Ohio college or university.
- Ohio Instructional Grant - Provides need-based tuition assistance to full-time undergraduate students from low-income and moderate-income families.
- The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Program - For children of deceased or severely disabled Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a declared war or conflict.
- Regents Graduate/Professional Fellowship Program - Merit-based financial aid to Ohio college graduates who enroll for further study at participating Ohio institutions.
- OhioSafetyOfficersCollege Memorial Fund - Provides tuition help to child or spouse of a peace officer, firefighter or certain other safety officers killed in the line of duty.
- Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program - Provides financial help to Ohio students enrolled for at least half-time study in an approved Ohio nurse education program.
- The Ohio Academic Scholarship Program - Provides competitive, merit-based financial assistance to Ohio high school graduates who are academically outstanding and who enroll for full-time undergraduate study in Ohio colleges or universities.
- Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program - Awards financial assistance to students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement in high school.
- Ohio Student Choice Grant Program - Provides financial help to full-time students who enroll for baccalaureate study in Ohio private non-profit colleges and universities.
- Student Workforce Development Grant Program - Provides tuition assistance to Ohio students enrolled full-time in private career schools.
For more information, visit the Board's website at: www.regents.state.oh.us/sgs/
Other Useful Websites for financial Aid Information
- FastWeb - www.FastWeb.com
- USA Funds - www.usafunds.org
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - www.gmsp.org
- I Know I Can - www.iknowican.org
- Cleveland Scholarship Programs, Inc., - www.cspohio.org
- Ohio College Access Network (OCAN) - www.ohiocan.org
- Ass'n of Student Financial Aid Administrators - www.finaid.org