Every Athlete, Everywhere


Grants, Scholarships and Loans Available to Students

The price of higher education can be daunting to students and their families. It is easy to become discouraged when you first look at the costs associated with earning a college degree. However, you may not realize that there are many resources that are available to help deserving students. There is a wide array of grants, scholarships and loans that are offered by the federal and state government, in addition to aid provided by your chosen college and other organizations (both private and nonprofit). They are all designed to help you fulfill your academic goals!

It's important to first understand the differences among grants, scholarships and loans. Grants and scholarships generally do not have to be repaid, whereas loans do have that requirement. Grants differ from scholarships in that they are usually based on financial need, whereas scholarships are most often based on merit. These are all nuances that you must take into consideration.

As you face the challenge of college costs, you will need some guidance. Here are some student aid opportunities that are especially helpful to students just like you.

The U.S. Department of Education offers several specific types of federal grants. The first step is to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Then you can work with your college (or career school) to find out what amount you are eligible to receive. The important thing to remember is that this is a process. There are no shortcuts. Take the time to study your options and fill out the paperwork early. Ticket2Greatness hopes you take advantage of these opportunities. We all want you to succeed both athletically and academically, and we know that you can focus on your athletic and academic goals more easily when the finances are in place.

Federal Pell Grant

Federal Pell Grants do not need to be repaid. They are primarily awarded to undergraduates who have not yet earned a bachelor's or professional degree. Grant amounts may vary from year to year. As an example, the maximum Federal Pell Grant was $5,550 for the award year of 2012-2013. The amount depends on your financial need; whether you are a full-time or part-time student; whether you will be attending school for a full academic year or less; and the cost to attend the school of your choice.

The U.S. Department of Education provides these funds to participating schools so that they can disperse them to their eligible students. Your school may pay you directly, apply the funds to your school costs or provide a combination of both.

Special note: Effective on July 1, 2012, you are only eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant for a period of no more than 12 semesters.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) 

A Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is an award for undergraduate students having exceptional financial need.

To apply, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM) so that your school can determine the extent of your financial need. If you have qualified for a Federal Pell Grant and you have exceptional financial need, you will receive the FSEOG before the Pell Grant.

The FSEOG is campus-based, meaning that the FSEOG program is administered by the each participating school. Since not all colleges participate, be sure to check with the school's financial aid office to see if the FSEOG is offered. The amount can range between $100 and $4,000 a year depending on factors like your need and the availability of your school's funds. It's a first-come, first-serve policy until the funds run out. So it's important to fill out this form early. This is different than the Pell Grants that provides awards to all eligible students.

Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan 

The U.S. Department of Education also offers loans that have a low interest rate to eligible students. Again, eligibility depends on your financial needs. Unlike scholarships and grants, these loans need to be repaid.

There are "Direct Subsidized Loans" and "Direct Unsubsidized Loans". Direct Subsidized Loans pay the interest of your loan for you if you are in school at least half-time, for the first 6 months after you graduate and during any period of deferment (if there is a postponement of loan payments).

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to all students, and there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. In this type of loan you are responsible for the interest. You can choose not to pay the interest while you are in school, but that interest will accrue and be added to the principal amount of the loan.

In both the Direct Subsidized Loan and the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, your school determines the amount that you are eligible to receive.

Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) 

PLUS loans are also federal in origin. It was designed so that graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can afford to pay for college or career schools. It helps pay for education costs that are not covered by other financial aid. The loans are offered to eligible borrowers through schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program.

To apply for a Direct PLUS Loan, you (as a graduate student) or your child (in case of parent borrowers) need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school's financial aid office can help you with understanding the process.

The summary above is just a snapshot of available aid. It's important that you study all options thoroughly. Some important Federal websites that you should review are:

Federal Student Aid:

http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships

Federal Pell Grant:  

http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/pell

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/FSEOG

Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized

Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/plus

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/wdffdl/index.html

There are also private and non-profit resources to help you in addition to federal and state aid. Talk to your High School guidance counselor or your college financial aid advisor. Do not give up! Perseverance is important! Don't let financial challenges derail you from your path to greatness!