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How do I Pay for College?

If you think you can’t afford to go to college, think again. Financial aid has helped millions of students pay for their education beyond high school. Many students are surprised to find that they qualify for some assistance.

How do I apply for financial aid?
It’s not difficult to apply. By submitting one application form, you can determine your eligibility for a range of financial assistance at many colleges, universities and career schools. Student Loan Network gives you a list of the different types of loans that are available and a list of all the schools in Utah eligible student loan programs.

To apply for financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form is available in early winter online at FAFSA. Your completed FAFSA will be made available to all the colleges you designate.

Four Basic Steps to Applying for Financial Aid
1.   Apply for admission to one or more colleges.
2.   Apply for financial aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (after January 1).
3.   Receive college admittance letter (timing varies).
4.   Receive letter from colleges outlining your financial aid eligibility (usually April 1 or later, depending on when you submitted your FAFSA).

What types of financial aid are available?
Financial aid comes in several forms:
1.   Need-based grants from federal and state governments that you do not have to repay;
2.   Loans from federal and state government or private banks that must be repaid with interest after you are no longer enrolled in college;
3.   Work-study jobs, either on or off campus, that enable you to earn money to help pay the cost of attending college;
4.   Other assistance including scholarships and educational benefits for students with special circumstances and abilities.

Contact each college you are considering to find out about special assistance and scholarships.

Understanding the Price of College
There are five factors usually included when calculating the total price of attending a college each year:

1. Tuition and Fees

Students pay tuition for receiving instruction at the school. In addition, there are fees automatically charged for services such as the health center, library or student activities.

2. Room and board

Four-year colleges and universities usually have a number of options:

  • Campus housing that's usually less expensive than off-campus options. Meals are available, but are usually charged separately.
  • Off-campus apartments where students can either prepare their own meals or pay extra to eat in the college cafeteria.
  • Rooming houses where meals are often provided. Or, students may pay extra to eat in the college cafeteria.
  • Living at home and commuting to campus.

Not all room and board options are available at all schools. Contact individual schools for specific details.

3. Books and Supplies

Unlike in high school, students in college are expected to buy their own books. In addition, they're expected to purchase their own pencils, paper, art supplies, calculators and computer supplies, etc. The price of books and supplies depends more on the courses a students takes than on the type of school a student attends. Students should plan to spend at least $800 each academic year on books and supplies.

Buying used textbooks can help students save money, and may be available in the campus bookstore or from online used booksellers such as:

4. Personal Expenses

Regardless of the type of institution the student chooses, he or she will have some personal expenses such as laundry, clothing, recreation, medical care, insurance and so on. Students should plan to spend at least $1,000 each academic year on these items.

5. Transportation Expenses

All students spend some money for travel, whether they live on campus or commute to school daily. If a student plans to travel home more than twice a year, this additional expense must also be considered. For the purpose of financial aid, colleges typically budget students for two round-trips home each year using the lowest-cost means of travel.

Commuter students who travel to and from the school on a daily basis must carefully figure in the cost of fuel and parking or public transportation. Both can add up quickly. The transportation costs for commuter students are also built into the financial aid calculations used by the school.

Financial Aid Programs

Program

Apply to

Amount

Type of Award

Eligible Students

Grants

 Federal Pell Grant

Complete FAFSA

400 to $4,731 per year

Based on financial need

Must be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, not in default on a federal loan and have no drug conviction while receiving federal aid. Males must be registered for Selective Service.

 Federal Academic
Competitiveness Grant

Complete FAFSA;
inquire at the college
financial aid office

$750 first-year undergraduate
$1,300 second-year undergraduate

Based on student’s completion of a rigorous high school curriculum and maintaining a 3.0 cumulative GPA in college

First- and second-year full-time undergraduates. Must be Pell eligible, U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, not in default on federal loans and have no drug conviction while receiving federal aid. Males must be registered for Selective Service.

 Federal SMART Grant

Complete FAFSA;
inquire at the college
financial aid office

Up to $4,000 per year for 3rdand
4th-year undergraduates

Student must be enrolled in a major in the physical; life or computer sciences; mathematics; technology; engineering or in a foreign language critical to national security.

Third- and fourth-year students must be full-time under-graduates admitted to designated programs. Must be Pell eligible, U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, not in default on federal loans and have no drug conviction while receiving federal aid. Males must be registered for Selective Service.

Federal Supplemental Grant

Institution

Up to $4,000 per year

Based on financial need

Undergraduates or vocational students enrolled at least half time. Males must be registered for Selective Service. Priority given to Pell Grant recipients.

Work Study

 Federal Work Study

Institution

Determined by the institution

Part-time job based on financial need; more restrictive than state program

Undergraduate, graduate and vocational students. Must be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Males must be registered for Selective Service.

Loan Programs

 Federal Perkins Loan

Private lenders (A few schools make loans directly to students)

Up to $4,000 per year for Under-graduates or $6,000 per year for graduate students

Long-term low interest loan based on financial need. Must be repaid

Undergraduate, graduate and vocational students enrolled at least half time. Must be U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, registered for Selective Service and cannot be in default or owe a refund on any Title IV Higher Education Act loan or grant received.

Federal Stafford
Student Loan

Institution

Up to $3,500 per year for first-year students, $4,000 per year for second year and $5,500 per year for students in at least third-year status. Loan limits are higher for graduate, professional and independent students

Subsidized and long-term, low-interest loans that must be
repaid; based on financial need;
government pays interest while student is in school

Unsubsidized Stafford loan available for students without
financial need; borrowers pay interest while in school

Any student enrolled at least half time in an eligible school in Utah or another state, under-graduate, graduate, professional and vocational students. Must be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, registered for Selective Service, cannot be in default or owe a refund on any Title IV Higher Education Act loan or grant.

PLUS Loan

Private lenders (A few schools make loans directly to students)

Up to annual price of attendance less other aid received for each dependent child

Long-term loans, variable interest that changes annually, must be repaid

Graduate students or parents of dependent, undergraduate students. Must be U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen, registered for Selective Service. Must not be in default or owe a refund on any Title IV Higher Education Act loan or grant received for attendance at any institution.