Don't assume you can't afford to go to college. There are many financial aid resources available to help you pay for it. This assistance is generally in one of the following four types of financial aid:
Here are a few ways to help:
- The financial literacy course you take during your junior or senior year in high school.
- UtahFutures.org has a wide variety of financial aid and scholarship information online.
- Your high school counseling center.
- College presentations at your high school.
- Visit the college(s) that interests you. Schedule an appointment with a financial aid advisor at the college or university when you plan to visit and have a parent go with you if possible.
Grants are awarded to students based on financial need. Like scholarships, grants don't have to be paid back. The U.S. Department of Education uses the information reported in the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine your eligibility. Talk to your high school counselor or contact the financial aid office of one of the state's universities or colleges for more information. Here are some examples of available grants:
The federal Pell Grant provides a foundation of financial assistance to which other kinds of aid can be added. This award is only available to undergraduate students.
There are also several state grant programs that may be available to Utah residents who qualify. Contact your college's financial aid office for more information on these state grant programs.
Finding financial aid is a process that starts with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and ends at the college you attend. The FAFSA is a federal form that every college-bound student should fill out. Based on the information you enter into the FAFSA, you can qualify for different types of financial aid, including grants, work-study, and student loans.You will need tax information (both yours and your parents) to complete and file the FAFSA, so the best time to do this is between January and April. The earlier, the better! Much of the best financial aid that institutions have to award goes to the students who file the FAFSA by the school's priority filing deadline. Most colleges set a priority filing deadline, and they will bive preference to students who not only file the FAFSA by that deadline but how also complete their file withe school soon after that date.
- Your most recent tax return
- Your parents' most recent tax return
- Your Social Security Number
- Documentation of any untaxed income
- Current bank statements (student and parents)
- business/investment/mortgage information (parents)
- Documentation that you are a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen (student only)
You may access the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. Once you have selected the colleges where you want the FAFSA information sent (you may select up to 10 schools initially on the FAFSA), it is important that you follow up with that institution to verify your financial aid status. Many colleges require additional forms in order to complete your file. If you have questions or a situation that requires more assistance, be sure to contact a college financial aid office near you—they are well equipped to help you. TIP: Many schools have priority filing deadlines for financial aid. Apply early for the best financial aid options.
Scholarships are awards typically based on unique criteria such as talent, achievement, financial need, etc. Billions of dollars worth of scholarships are available each year to college students across the country. Utah schools offer dozens of scholarships. Some scholarships require students to take specific classes, maintain minimal standards during your time in school (such as a minimum GPA), or take a certain number of credit hours per semester.
Never applied before? Don't worry. Applying for scholarships can be easier than applying for a job.
- The best place to begin your search for scholarships is with the college(s) you plan to attend.
- Visit UtahFurtures.org for more information on hundreds of scholarships.
- High school counseling centers are another excellent source for researching available scholarships.
- Scholarship applications usually ask for information regarding your academic performance, extra-curricular activities, financial need, community involvement, and may ask for letters of recommendation.
- Once you have found suitable scholarships, apply for them as soon as possible.
- Some scholarships may require you to audition, be interviewed, or complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or "FAFSA"). Be sure to complete the FAFSA because you never know when a particular scholarship will require it.
- Beware of scams! All college scholarship searches should be free to use and most schools have their applications available online.
Regents' Scholarship Program is comprised of three awards; a Base award, an Exemplary Academic Achievement (EAA) award and a Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Supplemental award. This scholarship can be used at any public college or university in the Utah System of Higher Education, as well as Brigham Young University-Provo, LDS Business College, and Westminster College.
Students who qualify for the Regents' Scholarship Base award may also be eligible for the UESP award and/or the EAA award. The Base and UESP awards are established as one-time payments. Th EAA award is flat dollar amount and may be renewed for the shortest of the following: up to four semesters, 65 credits of full-time enrollment or completion of a bachelor's degree. Award amounts are determined on an annual basis and are subject to legislative funding and number of qualified participants. Therefore, award amounts may be reduced, may vary from year to year, and are dependent on when the recipient is enrolled in college.
Students must apply for the scholarship by February 1 of their senior year. Applicants must be a United States citizen or a noncitizen eligible for federal student aid that does not have a criminal record, graduate from of a Utah high school, and complete a defined core course of study during grades 9-12. Recipients must enroll full-time at an eligible Utah institution of higher education fall semester immediately following high school graduation unless an approved deferral is obtained.
To learn more about the scholarship program, including information about the required courses visit: http://www.higheredutah.org/scholarship_info/ regents-scholarship/.
The New Century Scholarship encourages students to accelerate their education by earning an Associate's degree in high school from an institution within the Utah System of Higher Education. The scholarship may be used at a 4-year public college or university within the Utah System of Higher Education, as well as at Brigham Young University-Provo and Westminster College
The scholarship award is a flat dollar amount and may be renewed for the shortest of the following: up to four semesters, 60 credits of full-time enrollment or completion of a bachelor's degree. Award amounts are determined on an annual basis and are subject to legislative funding and number of qualified participants. Therefore, award amounts may be reduced, may vary from year to year, and are dependent on when the recipient is enrolled in college.
Students must apply for the scholarship by February 1 of their senior year. Students apply for the scholarship during their senior year. Applicants must be a United States citizen or a noncitizen eligible for federal student aid that does not have a criminal record, graduate from of a Utah high school, with a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average and achieve the requirements for the Associate's degree with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average by the date they graduate from high school or complete the approved math and science curriculum. Students who were home schooled or complete high school through an on-line institution must take the ACT exam by June 15 of the year their peer group graduates from high school with a minimum score of 26. Recipients must enroll full-time at an eligible Utah institution of higher education fall semester immediately following high school graduation unless an approved deferral is obtained.
To learn more about the scholarship program visit: http://higheredutah.org/index.php/scholarships/newcentury-scholarship/.
Utah CTE Scholarship
Awarded to students who excel in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) area. The awards cover one year of tuition for students who are (1) planning on attending a CTE program that is a two-year Associate Degree program or less OR (2) those who are planning to teach in a CTE area (a four-year program).
Visit UtahFutures.org for more information on these and hundreds of other scholarships.
Work study allows eligible students to earn money through a part-time job. The financial aid or student employment office at your college can help you find a work study job.
"Repaying Your Student Loan" Calculators
Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid. Like a car loan from a bank, student loans have interest. The interest rates on federal student loans are generally low. When considering a loan, you need to read the terms of the agreement carefully. Be wise about the amount of money you borrow. Higher education is one of the best investments you can make throughout your lifetime, but be realistic about the amount of money you need for school. Types of loans include:
Stafford loans are variable and fixed interest loans. In some cases, the interest is not applied until six months after you leave school. This type of loan is called a Subsidized Stafford Loan. In other cases, the interest begins to accrue immediately. This type of loan is referred to as an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
The Perkins loan is a low-interest, subsidized loan available to students with exceptional financial need. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.
Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) loans are available to parents with good credit histories. These loans are for education expenses for dependent children enrolled at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible school.
Your best resource to find out more about student loans and other money for college is the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) at 801-321-7294, 877-336-7378, or visit www.uheaa.org. UHEAA has been helping Utah's students and families plan, prepare, and pay for college for more than 30 years. A UHEAA representative will review your options with you.
Additional Financial Aid Resources for Students Interested in Attending College Outside of Utah
The Western Undergraduate Exchange, WUE, is a program in which students may enroll in designated two-year and four-year institutions and programs in other participating western states. It allows qualified students to attend at a reduced tuition rate. A list of the participating institutions and programs can be found at www.wiche.edu/sep/wue.