College Financial Aid and Scholarships

Over the past few years the increasing cost of higher education and loan burden have become staples in the media. It is possible to minimize loan burden by actively seeking scholarships during the high school years. Financial Aid is often the umbrella term used to refer to loans, grants, merit aid, need-based aid and scholarships that fill the gap between what the college costs to attend and how much the family is expected to contribute. This gap is where Financial Aid is placed.

How is the Gap Filled?

Need-Based Aid - Need-based aid is based on family income, size and other income factors. This aid can take the form of scholarships, grants and/or loans. To be considered for need-based aid, students will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) after January 1st of their senior year of high school. Families can fill out a FAFSA Forecaster on the same website prior to January 1st of the senior year to determine an approximate Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - which is the amount a family will be expected to pay out-of-pocket for college.

Some schools will also require the CSS Profile which awards institutional grants and aid. There is a fee to file the CSS Profile. Before any student completes the CSS, it is recommended they speak with their College Counselor to determine if their schools require the Profile. The Profile is available in October of the senior year.

Merit-Based Aid - Merit -based aid is determined solely on merit. Typically schools have a sliding scale for stanardized test scores (ACT or SAT) and a student GPA. This scale is used to determine merit aid that may be awarded.

Scholarships - Scholarships can be specific for a school, for example the Knights of the Roundtable Activity Scholarship at Camelot University, or they can be general and used at any school, for example the Rotary Club Scholarship. Scholarships do not need to be paid back. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged to complete as many scholarship applications as possible.

Grants -Grants are awarded by institutions, Federal government or agencies and are not paid back. Grants are typically income based.

Work Study - Work study programs are on-campus jobs that may be funded by the Federal government. The money is earned by the student while in school.

Loans - Loans can be privately funded or funded through the Federgal Government. Common Federal loans are the Stafford, Direct and Perkins loans. These loans are borrowed by the student for their education. Parent PLUS loans may also be used for families who wish to borrow money. In a Parent PLUS loan, the parent borrows the money and is responsible for re-payment.

How do I find and Apply for Scholarships?

We strongly encourage rising seniors to complete a minimum of 2-3 scholarship applications per college application they complete. Scholarships are the best way to minimize the gap. Start early since there is more time and more money available the earlier you begin. There are many sites that feature scholarship searches, a few are listed below. In addition to this, many agencies contact U of D Jesuit directly to advertise scholarships. These scholarships may be found on Family Connection. College Counseling will mail all of your scholarship applications once you complete the scholarship process.

A scholarship, Financial Aid, and College search engine.

"The SmartStudent guide to Financial Aid"

State of Michigan
Comprehensive student aid site that discusses all aspects of funding a
college education.

Scholarships.comThis site provides a customizable search for scholarships.