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About 74 percent of the undergraduate student body – over 5,200 students – at Quinnipiac receives some form of financial aid. An understanding of the process for obtaining this aid is not as widespread.
Last year alone, undergrads received an estimated $75 million worth of aid. This aid comes in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work study.
According to Dominic Yoia, senior director of financial aid, a great deal of the financial assistance that students receive comes from sources outside of the university. Some such sources are scholarships from outside agencies, the state and federal government and a variety of lending institutions for students seeking loan assistance.
Students who are interested in applying for financial aid are required to complete a FAFSA form (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid) yearly. Students are encouraged to begin this process as high school seniors, but in order to receive continued aid the form must be completed every year. Financial aid deadlines for incoming students are March 1st and April 1st for returning students.
While a great deal of aid does come from outside sources, the university has many opportunities for students to obtain funding. For incoming students, the admissions office offers merit-based awards such as Dean’s Scholarships, Academic Scholarships, Quinnipiac Sibling Awards and International Student Scholarships and Grants. Requirements for these awards can be obtained through admissions. There are also scholarships available to transfer students.
The athletics department also allots funds to students athletes in a variety of sports teams. Regarding athletic scholarships Yoia said, “[The financial aid office does not] determine who gets [the money] or how much they get. That’s done by sport and by coach. But what we do is we coordinate that aid with everything else they are getting.”
Students who are looking for additional funds in the form of scholarships and grants have a wealth of sources to turn to. Yoia suggests Web sites such as FastWeb.com and WiredScholar.com, where students can search based on their eligibility.
A key factor to remember while looking for outside aid is that there are companies that charge fees to do the paperwork for students. Some of these groups may be taking advantage of student needs and not provide the support that is anticipated. Yoia said, “We always tell students to be careful. You don’t want to pay money to get money.”
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the financial aid offerings is requests for review. In the event that a student’s financial status should change dramatically over the course of a semester, the office encourages students and parents to speak with a financial counselor within their department.
If the situation warrants further review, the family can file forms with their new income to recalculate eligibility and see if there are any funds still available. Yoia said that the department tries to see that difficult situations are not ignored, but “[the office of financial aid has] a finite amount of money to award.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that changes made by the Bush administration regarding student eligibility for federal aid could cause as many as 90,000 students to lose their Pell grants and other government aid.
With this in mind, students should take every opportunity available to them for additional monetary support. By filling out a yearly FAFSA form and seeking out grants and scholarships, students can take a proactive approach to paying their college bills.