Schools offer aid in the forms of “tuition discounts,” “tuition waivers,” or even “entrance scholarships.”
By Yveka Pierre
Fall semester for college is looming, and with it the enormous cost. It is a fact, not just mass hysteria, that college costs are on the rise. Before going into a panic, it’s important to know there is help out there. There are low interest student loans, various private scholarships, federal aid, even colleges help in paying college tuition.
Colleges offer aid based on merit (grades), financial need and incentives to boost diversity and population. Here are the basics: Do not be afraid to apply for financial aid. Many people fall into the trap of not applying year after year because they are scared they will not qualify or they just won’t get it. This does not mean apply haphazardly. Reading qualifications carefully could be the difference between free money and a loan.
Schools offer aid in the forms of “tuition discounts,” “tuition waivers,” or even “entrance scholarships.” Some students qualify because of eligibility while some schools offer a specific tuition discount directly to a specific student. This does not often occur in state colleges, since tuition there is fairly low because they are subsidized by federal funds. Check to see if the discount you are offered is renewable, so you can plan accordingly for the next year.
If you are considering an out-ofstate school or a private school, the entire ball game is changed. Because the tuition for private schools and out-of-state schools is incredibly high, it’s harder for students to afford tuition. This prompts the tuition help. These offered incentives attract students to a school they would otherwise ignore because of cost. Ivy League schools do so by practicing blind need. This means that when an application is received, the acceptance of the candidate is based solely on applicant’s qualifications. Other private schools offer aid based on high school GPA and test scores. Others still offer tuition discounts to sons and daughter of employees, or even the dependents of alumni.
So do you use this information to your advantage? The state of Florida offers the Bright Futures scholarship program. This breaks into three different forms of tuition aid. The first is the 100 percent scholarship. This pays for the entire tuition and even gives a stipend that can go towards books and lab fees. To qualify you need 75 hours of community service, 3.0 cumulative GPA, and either 1270 SAT or a 28 ACT. The next is for ¾ tuition aid. The requirements are not as rigorous, but they do still require a 2.75 cumulative GPA. They even offer the Florida Gold seal vocational awards. To find which one fits your needs, visit floridastudentfinancialaid. org.
If you are wondering what help your specific school can give to you, don’t be afraid to ask. Look up the number for the financial aid office, call and talk to a representative. Peruse the school’s website and apply for financial aid offered by that specific school. When in the search for money for college; don’t be afraid to fight for it, ask for it or work for.