A college education today is a necessity for any young adult. In fact, a college graduate will earn nearly twice as much throughout their lifetime as compared to someone with only a high school diploma. A college education is also very expensive. A four-year education will typically cost anywhere from $50,000 to $180,000. Because a college education is more important than ever, you need to learn as much as you can about your funding options. The following information will hopefully assist you with questions you may have about financial aid.
Types of Financial Aid
The U.S. Department of Education has several major student financial assistance programs. They can be categorized in three different ways:
1. Grants: financial aid you do not have to pay back.
2. Work-Study: allows you to work and earn money to help pay for school.
3. Loans: money borrowed that must be repaid with interest.
To receive aid from the federal programs, you
1. Have a financial need.
2. Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
3. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate.
4. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
5. Have a valid Social Security Number.
6. Make satisfactory progress.
7. Register with the Selective Service, if required.
Aid from the federal government in most cases, is awarded based on financial need. When you apply for federal student aid, the information you report is used in a formula established by the U.S. Congress. The formula determines your Expected Family Contribution, an amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education. If your Expected Family Contribution is below a certain amount, you may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements.
When you apply for federal student aid, your answers to certain questions will determine whether you are considered dependent on your parents or not. If you are considered dependent, you must report their income and assets as well as your own. If you are independent, you must report only your own income and assets (and those of your spouse, if married). You are an independent student if at least one of the following applies:
1. You were born before January 1, 1977.
2. You are married.
3. You are enrolled in a graduate or professional education program.
4. You have legal dependents other than a spouse.
5. You are an orphan or ward of the state.
6. You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Remember that college financial aid funding is always awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Meeting deadlines, completing your application in a timely manner and tracking their progress are all vital steps in the college financial aid process.
To apply for federal financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may submit a FAFSA:
- Through the Internet by using FAFSA on the web at www.Fafsa.ed.gov
- By using FAFSA Express software
- By mailing a paper FAFSA.
When to Apply
Apply as soon after January 1 as possible.
The results will be sent to you and to Sacred Heart University.
Athletic Related Aid/Scholarships
If you are awarded an athletic scholarship at Sacred Heart University, you will be sent a National Letter of Intent and/or a Financial Aid Agreement form. Your National Letter of Intent and Financial Aid Agreement must be returned by the deadline specified to be considered valid. Your athletic scholarship will be reported to the University's Financial Aid Office and will be considered in your EFC.
Athletic scholarships have a dollar value as well as an equivalency value. Because of NCAA rules and regulations there are maximum equivalency values for all sports sponsored by Sacred Heart University and these numbers are monitored. Other forms of aid you may receive can affect your equivalency value and must be reported to the Athletic Financial Aid and Scholarship office. Failure to report aid received can result in a degradation of your athletic aid.
A full athletic grant in aid covers the following: