HSoC Weekly Update
February 20 - 24, 2023
Quote of the Week
We often don’t realize that where God puts us is the very place we need to be to receive what He wants to give us.
Below you will find a list of 15 Scholarship Programs that will give out more than 220 Individual Scholarship Awards during the 2022 school year. Students from your school district are eligible for all awards below.
*Weekly Scholarship Newsletter available here: https://scholarshipguidance.com/newsletter
College Financial Aid Award Letters
College award letters are often designed poorly. They use confusing jargon, omit important information, and fail to highlight what matters: how much you need to borrow or pay.
In 2018, the New America research organization analyzed over 500 award letters to find:
- 136 different terms were used to describe the same type of federal loan, with 24 of those terms not even using the word “loan”
- 15% of letters mischaracterized parent loans as student award
- More than 30% of letters didn’t include any information about the college’s costs, to help contextualize the financial aid offer
- 60% of letters didn’t calculate the amount students would need to pay out of pocket
But college is one of the most expensive decisions we can make, with lasting financial repercussions on your future. So in the next few videos, we’ll go through how college finances work and what you need to know.
Two Key parts of a College Award Letter:
Not only do financial award letters fail to be straightforward; they’re also frustratingly inconsistent. Yes, that makes it difficult to compare. But in all cases, you want to pay attention to two pieces of information:
- How much it costs to attend the college
- How much financial aid you’ll get
The “Cost of Attendance” should include ALL costs (not just “direct” ones like tuition or accommodation). It should also include the other “indirect” costs of going to collegeーlike paying for textbooks and supplies, transport to get back home for winter/spring/summer breaks, and other incidentals. Only about half of schools properly include all indirect costs too.
The “financial aid” package will include a blend of:
- federal government aid (if you filled out your FAFSA®)
- state government aid (if you filled out your state aid AND are attending school in-state)
- institutional aidー in other words, grants and scholarships from your specific college, normally funded by their endowment
Three types of financial aid: Grants, Work-Study, and Loans
There are really only 3 categories of aid:
Grants and scholarships (also known as “gift aid”): This is free money from either the government or your college. You do not have to pay it back.
Work-study: This is money you are guaranteed, as long as you work for it. For example, the federal government might offer you $1500 per semester in Work-Study. You’ll have to find a qualifying work-study job (there should be many on campus!) to earn that $1500. Different jobs may have different pay rates, so depending on what you get, it’ll mean a different number of hours before you max out on that $1500.
Loans: Loans should be your last resort, so only take what you need. But if you need to take them, max out first on the direct subsidized/unsubsidized loans offered by the government. (These have lower interest rates.) If that’s not enough, you might also be offered Parent PLUS loans which technically your parents must pay back, not you. These have closer to “market-rate” terms (meaning that they may or may not be better than take a private loan).
You’ll need to reply to your college to say what aid you accept or decline, so remember that while you should ALWAYS accept grants, scholarships, and work-study (if you don’t end up working, nothing happens)ーyou may choose to accept only part of the loans offered to you.
High School of Choice (HSoC)
We are an alternative high school designed to help at-risk students achieve their goals of high school graduation and beyond. HSoC supports students through rigorous, innovative, and engaging learning experiences. Every student will be empowered to fiercely navigate their world with resilience, purpose, courage, humility, and pride.
Academic Performance and Effort
It is an expectation that all High School of Choice (HSoC) students put forth the effort to reach their maximum potential. Academic excellence is achieved by challenging yourself to improve on every assignment or task you encounter.
WISD Vision: Our vision is to be a district where innovation thrives and growth is limitless