FINANCING COLLEGE: UNDERSTANDING OPTIONS
Baldwin Wallace continues to earn high marks for affordable excellence in rankings designed to help families find the right college fit.
While today's economy can make it challenging for families to fund higher education, studies show that a college degree is a solid investment and is considered to be a minimum requirement for most well-paying jobs.
The majority of students receive some form of financial aid. Understanding and assessing options can help you select the right choices to suit your family's circumstances.
Types of Student Aid
Scholarships can be based on academic merit, extracurricular involvement, leadership, talent and/or other factors. Scholarship sources can include Baldwin Wallace University as well as companies, organizations, community agencies and school-related groups with which a student or parents have an affiliation. Scholarships do not require repayment.
While the criteria of each grant can differ, federal and state grants as well as BW grants are awarded to students based on need, residency and/or other factors. Grants do not require repayment.
This is comprised of a broad category of funding sources, including federally backed, low-interest student and parent loans. Students who have a co-signer also may secure private, alternative educational loans to help meet their cost of education.
A shared institutional and federally funded program, Work-Study provides students with part-time on and off-campus jobs in which they earn a paycheck to help them with college expenses. The number of hours a student is permitted to work on campus is determined by the dollar amount of his/her Work-Study award.
BW's Financial Aid staff is available to answer questions and help you assess financing options. Contact them if your family's household income or status changes. This may include work or income-related losses, having an additional family member residing at home and/or having a health issue that severely impacts your finances.
In an effort to help students find additional funding sources, the Financial Aid Office has created a web page listing outside scholarship information.
Don't assume your student will receive the same aid package every year. Because you must apply for financial aid every year, a student's aid package does change each year, especially if there have been revisions to your family's income, family size and the number of students you have in college. When applying for aid through FAFSA, you will be using a renewal application that has much of the data preprinted from the previous year. You can access your renewal application electronically and then use your Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the federal processor to complete the electronic FAFSA application. Both a parent and a student need separate federal PINs.
Remind your student of the financial implications of grades. BW merit-based scholarships are renewable each year (for up to four years or eight semesters) if a student maintains good academic and social standing. A student who does not maintain this standing can lose scholarship funding. Likewise, other sources of BW financial aid, such as grants, can be lost or reduced because of low academic achievement.
If you need to borrow, always choose to take Federal Direct Student Loans first because private education loans have a higher interest rate and can require repayment while in school.
Changes to your student's status do effect when student loans require repayment. When a student leaves college (even if he/she plans to return) or drops below half-time enrollment, the six-month grace period for student loan repayment begins. Before making any enrollment changes, a student should contact BW's Financial Aid Office.
Be alert for scams relating to financial assistance and/or scholarships. According to the Federal Trade Commission, be wary of letters, e-mails or phone calls that:
- ask you to provide credit card or social security information
- have a scholarship guarantee or "your money back"
- claim to have privileged information that can help you
- say your student is a finalist in a contest he/she never entered