Paying for college
How to pay
There are many ways to finance a college education. Most colleges provide scholarships and financial aid. The most common types of aid are funded by the federal government, a college or university, or various companies and organizations.
To apply for federal aid (loans, grants or work-study programs), you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in January of the year you plan to attend college. The best way to apply is online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Some colleges may require you to complete additional financial aid forms.
Check with the financial aid office for details. Be sure to ask about scholarships, which — unlike financial aid — are often based on criteria other than financial need. Even if you donít qualify for financial aid, you may qualify for some scholarships.
Scholarships from colleges
In addition to financial aid, colleges provide scholarships to help cover costs. You may apply for scholarships funded by the university, specific academic departments, alumni and staff members.
Merit-based, need-based and athletic-based scholarships are usually available. Check with the college financial aid office for scholarship information. Find out if you are automatically considered for scholarships or if you need to apply for specific ones. Most colleges are linked to Internet sources for scholarship information.
In 2008-09, UNT awarded more than $21.7 million in scholarships. Scholarships are available for entering freshmen and transfer students. Scholarship and other financial aid information can be accessed online at www.unt.edu/finaid. You can also find more sources of financial aid online.
Scholarships from other sources
In addition to college scholarships, you may apply for scholarships from businesses, churches, Greek organizations, foundations and community organizations. Your high school counselor and local librarian can help you find information on these and other scholarships, or check the web.
Students who have served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces may be eligible for educational benefits from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
The department also provides educational assistance to eligible widows or widowers and children of veterans who died while in service or after discharge from a service-connected disability, and to spouses and children of veterans who have a service-connected disability considered total and permanent.
Texas veterans may also be eligible for tuition waivers provided for by the Hazlewood Act for Texas Veterans.
The best news about grants is that they donít have to be repaid. Two common grants for undergraduate students are the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. These grants are based on financial need and are awarded to the neediest students.
In addition to federal grants, students also may qualify for the Texas Public Educational Grant, the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program and other state awards. The Texas Public Educational Grant and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program are awarded based on financial need and satisfactory academic progress. They require the student to be enrolled in college half time or more.
Other state and federal awards are available to undergraduate and graduate students depending on financial need, satisfactory academic progress and availability of funds.
Students interested in attending a private college should investigate Tuition Equalization Grants, offered by the state of Texas for students demonstrating financial need.
Eligibility for the federal work study program is determined by financial need, satisfactory academic progress and an enrollment status of half time or more. Students who are eligible for work-study may go to the collegeís student employment office to find out about available jobs. Typical jobs include office assistant, library assistant, cafeteria helper and lab assistant.
Campus jobs (other than work-study)
Most colleges employ students for administrative, research and technical tasks, regardless of whether the student is eligible for financial aid. You may work in an office on campus, assist a professor, or work in a residence hall or a campus cafeteria. Off-campus jobs are usually also available. Check with the college student employment office for details.
About 80 percent of UNT students work while in school. UNT's Career Center helps place students in more than 3,500 on-campus jobs, plus thousands of off-campus jobs. The Student Money Management Center provides workshops and confidential, personalized counseling sessions to help students manage their finances.
Borrowing for your education through federal loans is a privilege and a serious commitment. Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans and Federal Perkins Loans are based on financial need. The Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students are two that are available to students regardless of financial need.
If you are a Texas resident, you also may be eligible for state loans through the Hinson-Hazlewood Loan Program.
Students must make satisfactory academic progress and be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for these loan programs.
Financial aid tips:
- Save your money. Although financial aid and scholarships may help with college costs, you or your family will still be expected to pay any remaining costs.
- Apply online or send forms early. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be submitted by mid-January of the year you plan to attend college. Scholarship deadlines may be earlier than federal form deadlines ó check with your collegeís financial aid office.
- Make a copy. Millions of students apply for aid each year. Be prepared if a college, federal agency or company misplaces your information.