Financing Your Education

I submitted my FAFSA for 2016-2017 last month, it is the LAST time applying for financial aid in my undergraduate career!  Looking at the cost of attendance, and what kind of aid I’m eligible for has got this topic on the brain, and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all.

Everyone knows college is expensive. This is true at any institution of higher learning. And without sugar coating anything- it is true at DePaul. While I can only speak from my own experience, when I was applying to college, cost and financial aid were of upmost importance. While it had always been my dream to attend a great private school, one with a fantastic arts program and career opportunities, the price tag often made it seems like my dream college was out of reach.  DePaul had always been my first choice school, but the cost was overwhelming. To my good fortune, DePaul is also one of the schools I applied to that offers the most scholarship and financial aid to its students, and in my 3 years has continually tried to help me pay for my education.

When paying for your higher education, whether at DePaul or elsewhere, it is important to cover all your bases, and know what resources you have available to you.

1) FAFSA - this is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is an application that all students must fill out before being offered any kind of aid. This form is for the government, and schools use it to determine how much aid you will be offered. When I was in high school, there was a rumor that FAFSA was just money they give to students. NOT TRUE. FAFSA is simply a way of measuring your “need” to see if you are eligible for government funding grants and loans that will be paid to your school.  Remember loans are the ones you have to pay back!

2) Know what kind of scholarships and grants your school offers. DePaul offers a MULTITUDE. In fact a great majority of students at DePaul receive scholarships and other aid to cover costs of tuition, housing, and more. Be in communication with the financial aid department of your school.  There are ALL kinds of scholarships available, from academic to talent, to even ones based on service. Weighing what is available against cost of attendance is a great way to measure if a school is affordable to you.

3) Know there are outside scholarships available. I have spent many hours of my life applying for outside scholarships, and believe me there are tons out there! I am fortunate to currently have a scholarship from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which gives me scholarship dollars to supplement the aid I get from DePaul. There are scholarship search engines that help you find ones based on the criteria you specify! The internet is a glorious thing for finding help paying for college.

4) On campus jobs and work-study. Many schools, including DePaul, offer on campus jobs, and work study jobs that you can apply for to help get some extra cash or cover educational costs.

The key is really about being strategic, being thorough, and knowing for yourself what is doable. I knew coming to college that I wanted to keep my debt to an absolute minimum. Weigh your options! Paying for college is hard, but luckily I have been adamant about knowing the resources available to me, and DePaul is one of the most helpful institutions I know! I will graduate with an arts degree from a great private catholic school, with minimal debt! That’s absolutely something to be grateful for.

 

Check out these links to learn about Financial Aid and scholarships to finance your degree!

 FAFSA - The Government Website can be found here​

 DePaul Financial Aid Department info located here​

 There are many scholarship search engines out there. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Fastweb​

Cappex  ​

Scholarships.com ​

And of course there is always good old fashioned Google! 

 
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