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.
- Hampton Wildlife Fund sponsors four scholarships for South Carolina students: Harry Hampton, Wallace F. Pate, David M. Cline, and James O. Thomason. These scholarships are specifically designated for students interested in natural resource disciplines (including wildlife biology, forestry, marine science), law enforcement/criminal justice/forensic science, and print or photo journalism, advertising, public relations, or mass communications. Please click here to view specific criteria and award amounts for each scholarship, as well as print applications. All applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2017.
- Watson Brown Foundation Scholarship
The Watson-Brown Foundation awards scholarship between $3,000 and $5,000 to student from eighteen counties in Georgia and South Carolina. Students can apply online here by February 15, 2016.
- 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 National Catholic College Admission Association Scholarship
The National CCAA annually offers the National CCAA Scholarship to college-bound high school seniors from various geographic regions attending one of the National CCAA member institutions in the fall. For fall 2017, the National CCAA will award eight one-time $1,000 awards.To be eligible for the National CCAA Scholarship, applicants must graduate in the spring of 2017, recipients must be accepted to one or more National CCAA member institutions. Click here for a current list of member institutions.Students who are eligible to apply for the scholarship may click here for more information and to complete the application online. The deadline is apply is March 1, 2017, at 11:59 pm PT. Award recipients will be selected in mid to late March.
- The Silver Pen Writing Competition
the Silver Pen Writing Competition asks students to write an essay about the impact someone has had in your life. The goal of The Silver Pen is to get young adults interested in the process of aging so that we can foster a culture of mutual understanding and respect for the aged in our society. To apply, students must be a high school senior with a weighted GPA of 3.0 or above.Applications are due March 7, 2017. The first place award is $1,500, second place $1,000, third place $750, and fourth place $500. Members at each of the participating retirement communities will select 4 winners per community, which will be announced April 7, 2017. Click here for more information or to apply.
- 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.