College Financial Aid & Scholarships
The cost of higher education at both public and private institutions continues to escalate. Many of the more expensive schools can become affordable if there is sufficient financial need-based assistance available.
Regarding cost, a college education should be viewed as a major life-time investment; one that will appreciate over time and add to a higher quality of life.
Financial need is determined by subtracting what the parent and student can afford, EFC (Expected Family Contribution), from the total cost of attendance.
Financial assistance can include loans, grants, scholarships, and work opportunities. There are three basic financial aid application forms to be aware of: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is used by all colleges; the College Scholarship Service PROFILE which is used primarily by private institutions, and an institutional form that an individual college may have created itself. Be prepared to complete any combination of these forms if you are applying for need-based financial aid. You are required to complete these forms online.
- http://www.fafsa.ed.gov – Almost every college will require the submission of this free form to consider you for financial aid. You are encouraged to complete and submit this online.
- http://profileonline.collegeboard.com/pvf/index.jsp – Some colleges will require the Profile in addition to the FAFSA. There is a fee to complete this form, and it is used to gather more detailed information about your finances.
- http://collegeboard.com – This is a very comprehensive site with lots of answers to your questions. It contains several financial aid calculators, loan information, and much, much, more.
- http://www.finaid.org – This site provides good general information on financial aid. It has a financial need estimator which will predict your estimated family contribution based on the information you provide. There is also an “Ask the Expert” section where you can send questions online and get a response.
- http://www.salliemae.com – This site lists both private and public educational loans and has a tutorial on Financial Aid 101 which includes eligibility, the application process, and how to go about securing a loan. It also has calculators to compare different loan products.
- http://studentaid.ed.gov – This is the financial aid site for the US Department of Education. The Student Financial Assistance Programs are the largest source of student aid in America. This site has a great deal of information including tax cuts for education and how to find out about direct loans from schools.
Regardless of your financial situation, there may be one or more scholarships available to you. Scholarships are given by individual colleges, organizations, companies, and community groups, and they have many different criteria, ranging from an outstanding academic record, to demonstrating a special talent (art, music, athletics, etc.), to an unusual degree of community involvement. You may be eligible because you have a parent working for a specific company or the award may be for ethnic background or religious belief. If you are serious about finding monies for college, you should be willing to spend some time on your search.
- AHAM Scholarship for Hispanic-American Women
The Asociación Hispano-Americana de Mujeres (AHAM) welcomes applications from Upstate South Carolina high school seniors of Hispanic origin or descent for its 2017 College Scholarships Award Program. Candidates must be of Hispanic origin or descent (only from Spanish speaking countries, first or second generation), have legal presence in the USA, be in a public or private high school Class of 2017, and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. All applicants must be accepted as a full time student at an accredited university, technical college or vocational school in the United States. Family income must not be greater than $60,000. Applicants must submit a typed essay (minimum 250 words) describing career goals, how you feel about your Hispanic heritage, and ways in which you would like to volunteer and give back to the community. Completed applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2017. For more information or to print an application, click here.
- South Carolina Council on the Holocaust Scholarship
The South Carolina Council on the Holocaust scholarship is open to high school seniors who will attend a two- or four-year college or university, with matriculation to begin in the 2016-2017 academic year. The scholarship is open to students in the state of South Carolina. Students must submit a 750- to 1,500-word essay with a Works Cited page in MLA format addressing the following topic: Several years ago the South Carolina Superintendent of Education proposed cutting the funding for the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust. Write a convincing argument about the importance and relevance of Holocaust education to South Carolina today.Student essays are due postmarked by Saturday, April 1, 2017 or emailed by midnight. This scholarship is a one-time presentation of $1000, to be used to support the student’s first year of college or university education.Submissions may be sent by mail to: Emily Taylor, South Carolina Council on the Holocaust, PO Box 596, Swansea, SC 29160. Submissions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The SCCCW Reverend William F. Pentis Memorial Scholarship
The SCCCW mission strives to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in Spirituality, leadership and service. The scholarship was created to encourage and promote such themes among Catholic females graduating from high schools within South Carolina. This merit-based scholarship grants one $1,500 award to its recipient. Applications must be completed by April 15, 2017. Click here for more information and to apply.
- The St. Mary’s Catholic Women’s Club scholarship was created to encourage and promote spirituality, leadership, and service among Catholic females. This merit-based scholarship grants one $1,000 award to its recipient. Applicant must be a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
All pages of the application must be completely filled out, signed by a parent or guardian and received by St. Mary’s Catholic Women’s Club no later than April 15, 2017. An essay not longer than two typed pages must be submitted with the application. The essay topic is: “What part do Spirituality, Leadership, and Service play in my life now, and what part do I hope they will play in my life in the future?” Applications can be accessed online by clicking here, and are also available in the College Counseling Office.
- The South Carolina Association for Educational Technology scholarship is now open. Applicants must be enrolled in and accepted into an CAEP/NCATE accredited teacher education program or library/media specialist program at a South Carolina college or university. All admission requirements for the respective program must be completed including passing PRAXIS Core scores (or SAT/ACT score waiver). The deadline for all materials to be submitted so time is May 15, 2017. For more information or to apply, click here.
- The Peck Law Firm in Charleston, SC is currently accepting applications from graduating high school seniors for their $2,000 college scholarship to attend any accredited college/university in the United States. This scholarship is open to any American citizen, who will have graduated from high school before July 1, 2017. Only students, who have a 3.0 GPA or higher may apply for this scholarship. Any student wanting to be considered for the scholarship must complete the online application here. All written scholarship submission materials must be received by 11:59 PM EST on May 31, 2017. The winner will be announced on July 31, 2017 and will receive a one-time award of $2,000. This will be sent directly to the winner’s school and can be used for all school-related expenses.
- Law Day Essay Contest
The Senior Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar is sponsoring a Law Day Essay Contest that is open to all 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th public school, private school and home schooled students. The topic for this year’s essay is:
Why is the Fourteenth Amendment important to America’s aspirational ideal that all citizens are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The best overall state-wide essay is awarded $1000 and the best state-wide essay in each class year is awarded $500. The essay must be 1000 words or less and submitted by June 9, 2017. Click here for more information.
- Naviance Scholarship Link
- http://www.collegeboard.com – This site includes a scholarship search database known as the Fund Finder from 3,300 national, state, public, and private sources. How to spot a scam is also mentioned.
- http://www.fastweb.com – With this database, the student registers and is assigned a mail box on the site where information on new scholarship opportunities is posted. The database contains over 500,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans. Probably one of the best search sites available.
- http://www.fastaid.com – The world’s largest and oldest private sector scholarship database. You will find scholarships here that you won’t find anyplace else.
- http://www.collegeanswer.com/index.jsp – The most comprehensive “Going-to-College” resource on the Internet. Use it for all of your planning and paying for college needs.
- http://www.finaid.org – This site will run a scholarship search for the specific interests of art, biology, computer science, engineering, journalism, and nursing.
- http://www.scholarships.com – This site offers a database of 3,000 sources and detailed search results.