Financial aid opportunities

Peter Frost

All students are eligible for some form of financial aid, whether in the form of a scholarship, a grant, work study or a loan. It is not too late to apply.
“Of course, students who applied early or as soon after Jan. 1, 1999, as possible have the best chance of getting all of the gift aid for which they qualify,” said Nancy Sinsabaugh, interim director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
But there is still time to apply. Students have until April 1, 2000, to send an application for all forms of financial aid including grants, scholarships, work study and loans for the 1999-2000 academic year.
“The first step for seeking financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA,” Sinsabaugh said. This determines financial need based on how much support the student’s parents can give.
Once the OSFA processes the students’ FAFSA applications, the office matches that information with the qualifying criteria of each program within the categories of need-based and merit-based aid.
Sinsabaugh said University policy is to first consider students for gift aid such as tuition waivers, grants or scholarships that do not need to be repaid.
Next, a student is considered for scholarships administered by the University and its colleges.
However, “most merit-based scholarship money is already awarded for this school year,” said Deb Pusari, associate director of undergraduate services for OSFA.
“Merit-based scholarships are awarded by the admissions office, and most of the time, they have to be applied for separately within your department,” Pusari said.
Students have another aid possibility in grants.
The federal Pell Grant and the Minnesota State Grant are always available by filling out a FAFSA, but early application is recommended as other funds are limited and do run out.
Work study is also an option that could be included in your financial aid package.
If students indicate an interest in employment, they are checked to see if they qualify for state and general work-study programs.
Work study is basically getting a regular job at the University, with some advantages like not having to report earnings for the next year’s FAFSA, and being eligible for jobs that other students cannot apply for.
Pusari also noted that if students get a scholarship or grant and still have need, OSFA develops an aid package for them, which can include a combination of all types of financial aid.
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid publishes a 36-page reference guide, the “1999-2000 Scholarships & Financial Aid Handbook,” which is a resource on financial aid procedures, time lines, programs and services available to students.
The handbook is available year-round at the student services centers on both campuses, the University Bookstores, University Libraries, the Office of Admissions, Coffman Union information desk, advising offices and other campus locations.
A financial aid advising service is also available to students from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 4 p.m. on Friday at the Student Services Center, 200 Fraser Hall in Minneapolis, and from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 130 Coffey Hall in St. Paul.
Students can also call (612) 624-1665 to reach a phone counselor from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday.