Explore all possibilities to help ease the burden
Learning, of course, is the goal of any college experience. Part of that education means familiarizing yourself with some unfamiliar terms. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
As part of an occasional series, we’ll explain phrases, lingo or topics to add to your college vocabulary. We call it “Say What?” If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, please send suggestions to [email protected].
Today we’ll learn about ways you can pay for school through financial aid.
Think of financial aid as the umbrella term for all the ways to pay for higher education, and it comes in many forms. For just about any sort of financial aid, the starting point is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, which you complete online.
For some, filling out the FAFSA is pretty straightforward. For others, it’s a long and involved process. You can save your work, so if you have to stop, that’s OK.
Basic information to have handy includes:
- Your social security number
- Your driver’s license number
- Federal tax return (Student/Parent when applicable)
- Anything else that shows reported income
- The school you’re attending or interested in attending
It’s best to file the FAFSA as early as possible. Again, as the name states, it is free to fill out – no fees whatsoever.
Getting back to student financial aid, there are five main types:
- Federal Grants: Requires a FAFSA application. Grants are need based and given without repayment requirements.
- Federal Work Study: Requires a FAFSA application. This program allows students to earn money to pay for their college education. These positions are not guaranteed.
- State Programs: State-sponsored programs such as Tuition Incentive Program, Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS), Michigan Education Trust (MET) and Michigan Education Savings Plan (MESP).
- Scholarships: Are given without repayment requirements but may have many factors involved in meeting requirements, often need and academic levels. There is a separate application required. A number of scholarships may require that a student has completed a FAFSA.
- Loans: Requires a FAFSA application. Funds are available to both students and their parents. All loans must be repaid with interest. Repayment begins when you are no longer attending college at a part-time credit level or graduation.
It’s best to explore your options and possibilities with each source and use each to best advantage. Most students pay for college through a combination of financial aid. Schoolcraft College’s Financial Aid team can help answer questions.
Looking into scholarships
Schoolcraft College currently has over 300 scholarships for students. Non-traditional students and those from underserved populations are especially encouraged to explore what’s offered.
Keep in mind that these are just the start – many entities offer scholarships as well. As with working to find the right job or internship, networking skills can help you find scholarships, too. Some students may qualify for the Detroit Promise scholarship opportunity. There are also other scholarship avenues students can pursue like Scholarship America and FastWeb! that lists multiple scholarship opportunities any student can receive.
CARES Act Funding
Schoolcraft College recently received its disbursement from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to assist those who incurred financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic. The College is now accepting applications for CARES 3 Grant funding to support enrolled and previously enrolled (since March 2020) students who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
To apply for CARES 3 visit Scholarships to see a variety of options.
You will need to complete the General Scholarship Application first and then you can select “Apply To” on the CARES 3 application to answer the additional questions.
- Awards will range from $800 – $1,500 per semester
- The grant funds will be awarded based on responses in the application
- Students only need to submit one (1) CARES III application for multiple semesters
- Award continuation will depend on utilization and availability of funds
- Grant will be awarded after confirmation of attendance for the semester
This grant is intended to help students with expenses that may impact their ability to complete their course(s). Applicants will be required to certify that they have coronavirus related financial need for education costs or emergency costs.
- Past due balances
- Tuition and fees
- Books and supplies
- Housing costs
- Medical and mental health care
Learning about loans
In a general sense, loans are available from two sources: The federal government or lenders. The federal government distributes federal loans at a fixed interest rate. These rates are generally lower to those from a private lender.
A lender such as a bank or other institution offers two types of loans – secured or unsecured. A secured loan is backed by collateral, such as a house or other property or assets. Secured loans basically offer some security for the lender and generally have lower interest rates. Unsecured loans do not have this type of backing and generally have higher interest rates.
Depending on your financial situation, it may be advantageous to have a co-signer for your private loan. In fact, the lending institution may require it.
To learn more
For more information about financial aid at Schoolcraft College, please visit the financial aid webpage at schoolcraft.edu/aid. You can also reach the department via email and phone at [email protected] or 734-462-4433.