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THE BASICS OF COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID

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					          THE BASICS OF COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID

 There are two types of college financial aid: scholarships and federally- or state-
awarded financial aid.

SCHOLARSHIPS:
  Scholarships are generally awarded for some type of merit or talent. Usually,
there is some type of competition involved. Also, most scholarship application
forms vary from one another. Scholarships may be awarded for:
    Outstanding academic performance as verified through grade point
       average and ACT/SAT test score.
    Outstanding leadership skills as shown through extracurricular
       involvement and election to office.
    Exemplary talent (vocal or instrumental music, art, speech/drama, athletics,
       etc.). These may be awarded only after try-outs, auditions, etc.
    A combination of the above, which may or may not include financial need.

WHERE TO LOOK FOR SCHOLARSHIPS:
          1. Ask your high school counselor! Search the “Scholarship Area”
             located between the High School Office and Counselor’s Office
             doors. This area is designed to help you have easy access to
             scholarship forms. Also, listen to daily announcements about
             scholarship updates or due dates.
          2. Subscribe to internet scholarships searches:
www.fafsa.ed.gov
www.pin.ed.gov
www.act.org
www.collegeboard.org
www.okpromise.org
www.okhighered.org
www.fastweb.com
www.cashforcollege.ok.info
www.oklahomamoneymatters.org
www.collegestart.org
www.mapping-your-future.org


        3. Ask your parents to find out if scholarships are available
           through their workplace. Many companies and labor unions
           have special scholarships set up specifically for children of
           employees.
        4. Ask your own employer if a scholarship is available for employees
           (this may be especially true if you are employed by a nation-wide
           company.)
        5. Ask your church if scholarships are available either through your
           own local church or through your larger church body.
        6. Ask your insurance agent. Some insurance companies have
           scholarships for patrons.
        7. Check civic organizations such as Moose Lodge, Kiwanis Club,
           American Legion, Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H, etc. to see if
           scholarships are available. Also, check to see if scholarships are
           available for members of national organizations (National Rifle
           Association, Quail Unlimited, American Junior Maine-Anjou Cattle
           Association, etc.)


        8. Don’t overlook aid from organizations connected with your field of
            intended career area (American Medical Association, etc.) Many
            organizations award scholarships to students planning a career in
            their particular field. Scholarships may not be available right now to
            entering college freshmen, but may be available once the student
            becomes a junior or senior. These organizations are listed in the
            U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook,
            located both on-line and at public libraries.
        9. Student with disabilities may qualify for funds through the
            Vocational Rehabilitation program. This program distributes money
            based on family income, degree of disability, and amount of funds
            available. Contact the Duncan Vocational Rehab. Office at 255-1115.
        10. Contact the college where you will be attending concerning the
            types of scholarships they offer. Many colleges offer scholarships
            based on academic success, but may also offer scholarships based
            on leadership and/or talent. OU list a February 1 deadline, but in
            reality scholarships to OU have begun to be distributed in the
            middle of October and may be depleted by February 1st. This
            means—apply to OU EARLY!!! Both to be admitted and also for their
              scholarship. OSU and Cameron have a February 1st deadline and do
              not award any scholarships until after this date. USAO’s deadline is
              February 8; all other state colleges and universities have a March 1st
              deadline.
          11. Students of American Indian descent may receive financial
              assistance through tribal money allocations. Most tribal agencies
              request students apply for federal student aid before students are
              awarded tribal monies. Be sure to contact your tribal office for more
              information.
          12. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education sponsors
              scholarship programs including the Academic Scholars Program for
              students named as a finalist or scholar in the National Merit
              program, or students who score in the top 99.5% on the ACT or SAT
              exam. They also sponsor the “Oklahoma’s Promise” (OHLAP)
              program for students whose family income is not more than $50,000
              a year, earn at least a 2.5 gpa, and take a college preparatory
              curriculum. Students must enroll in this program their 8th, grade,
              freshmen, or sophomore years.


FEDERALLY- AND STATE-AWARDED FINANCIAL AID:

  Federally- or state-awarded financial aid is based on financial need. This need is
determined by your family’s ability to pay for college and the expense of the
college you plan to attend. If your education will cost more than your family is
able to pay, then you are considered to have financial need. Each family is
expected to contribute to the cost of education; those who are financially unable
to assist with a significant portion of these costs are awarded financial aid.

APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID:
  Only one application to apply for financial aid is required: the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    1. Go on-line to apply at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This is FREE—if you are asked to
       pay money for this service, you are at the WRONG website!!!
    2. Apply first to get a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Both student and
       at least one parent should do this. Parents may use this same number to
       apply for financial aid for their younger children. This process takes about
       one minute and just asks you to provide your name, social security
       number, birth date, and an e-mail address. You may now even make up
       your own PIN number—which is the best thing to do so that you do not
       have to wait for one to be assigned for you!
    3. Fill out the FAFSA application completely. You will be asked questions
       about both your income and your parents’ income for the previous year.
       This information is based on information taken from income tax forms;
       therefore, your taxes need to be figured before you complete the FAFSA,
       but they do not have to be filed.
    4. The FAFSA allow you to name up to six colleges or universities to which
       you give the U.S. Department of Education permission to send your
       application information. Be sure to list all the colleges you think you will
       be attending—it can slow down the process when you have to add
       additional colleges once the FAFSA has been processed.
    5. APPLY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!!! Money begins to run out by the
       middle or end of March, and you want to be able to get all the money you
       are eligible to get!
    6. After you apply, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Look this
       over carefully; if there are no corrections, contact the Financial Aid office
       of the college where you will be attending.
    7. Be sure to notify the Financial Aid officer of any major changes that may
       have occurred since completion of the financial information (loss of job,
       etc.) Financial Aid officers can use their own judgment to override some of
       the financial figures listed.

Federal Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): The
information you include on the FAFSA determines whether you are eligible for these
programs. The Pell Grant and FSEOG are for undergraduates with the lowest Expected
Family Contributions—that is, the most financial need. This is grant money which does not
have to be re-paid. The Pell Grant is awarded to all eligible students. FSEOG funding is
limited because it is awarded through individual colleges. Each college receives limited
amounts of FSEOG monies and therefore is usually reserved for only those with
exceptional financial need. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards can
be made from that program for the year.

2007-2008 Awards:
Federal Pell Grant                        Maximum up to $4,310
FSEOG                                     Maximum up to $4,000 (varies from school to school)

Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG): This is money distributed through the Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education which does not have to be re-paid. Recipients must be residents of Oklahoma
attending an Oklahoma college or university at least half-time. Also uses FAFSA to determine
eligibility, and students indicating an Oklahoma residency and intent to attend an Oklahoma college
automatically have student information sent to OTAG program. Funds are limited and OTAG money
usually runs out very quickly!

2007-2008 Awards:
OTAG                  Maximum annual award is 75% of enrollment costs or $1,000,
                      whichever is less.

Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program: This program provides part-time jobs for students with
financial need. Community service and work related to the recipient’s course of study are
encouraged. Recipients are paid by the hour, and must be paid directly at least once a month. The
total FWS award is determined by date of application, financial need, and funding available at the
college.

Federal Perkins Loan5% fixed rate loan with the college serving as the lender. Principal and interest
charges deferred while enrolled at least half-time. Eligibility based on financial need. Up to $4,000
awarded annually to undergraduates. Repayment begins 9 months after the student graduates,
drops below half-time status, or withdraws from college. Repayment may run up to 10 years.

Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized): Annually adjusted variable interest rate with a
8.25% maximum. (Currently 6.00 % for subsidized and 6.8% for unsubsidized.)Eligibility for
subsidized is based on financial need and features deferment of principal and interest charges while
enrolled at least half time. As an additional alternative, the unsubsidized is for independent students,
and dependent students who do not qualify for the maximum subsidized version. Eligibility for the
unsubsidized is not based on financial need. Annual amount for full-time dependent undergraduates
is up to $2,625 for the first year, up to $3,500 for the second year, and up to $5,500 thereafter. A
standard repayment may run up to 10 years. Repayment begins 6 months after student graduates,
drops below half-time enrollment, or withdraws from college. The government pays interest for the
subsidized loan until repayment begins. The borrower pays all interest charges for the unsubsidized
loan, which may be deferred and capitalized at extra cost to the borrower.

Federal PLUS Loan (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students): Loan available to parents at an
annually adjusted variable interest rate with 9% maximum. Eligibility determined by college, but on
credit history rather than financial need. May borrow up to the difference between college costs
minus estimated financial assistance. Repayment begins within 60 days after loan is fully disbursed.
Interest rate currently at 8.50%.

APPLY EARLY!!! MONEY IS CLAIMED ON A FIRST-COME BASIS!!
                 TIPS FOR COMPLETING FAFSA

1. READ THE FORM! Many questions on the FAFSA are straightforward, but
others may require you to read the instructions in order to answer the
question correctly. Words like “household”, “investments”, and even
“parents” may have specific definitions for purposes of student financial aid.
Be sure to read instructions carefully.

2. APPLY EARLY! Deadlines for OTAG, FSEOG, etc. may be earlier than for the
Pell Grant. It is therefore very important that you apply as quickly as
possible. Your FAFSA can be processed and some Pell Grant money will be
awarded up to June 30, 2003; however, OTAG and other money will be
depleted long before that time and you cannot receive it—even if you were
eligible!

3. YOU DON’T NEED TO FILE YOUR INCOME TAX RETURN BEFORE YOU
SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA. Filling out your tax return first will make completing
the FAFSA much easier. However, you do not need to submit your tax return
to the IRS before you submit your FAFSA. If you know it will be April (or
later) before your income tax is figured, use the previous year’s figures as an
approximation and complete the FAFSA anyway (you may, however, be
required by the university financial aid office to show current income tax
figures before award money is finalized.)

4. YOU CAN FILE YOUR FAFSA ELECTRONICALLY. Completing and submitting
your FAFSA over the internet is the fastest way of getting this application
processed. Also, your information is edited before it is submitted and
therefore if information is in error or omitted, this can be caught immediately.

5. YOU MUST CONTACT THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE AT THE COLLEGE OR
UNIVERSITY BEFORE THE PROCESS IS COMPLETE! The college financial aid
office is the office that determines the amount of award you will receive
based on your family’s estimated family contribution (EFC) subtracted from
the cost of the college. BE SURE to inform the financial aid officer of unique
situations which may affect your family income for the coming year.

6.  ADDITIONAL FORMS MAY BE REQUIRED. Some colleges may require
additional information beyond the FAFSA. These documents may include tax
returns, Social Security information, etc. If there are extenuating
circumstances that may cause portions of the estimated family contribution
to change, these will also be required (medical records, etc.).