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Financial aid explained

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For many students, finding ways to pay for school is essential to the continuation of their education. Whether this is through academic scholarships, work-study programs, housing scholarships or receiving tuition waivers, students are offered many forms of Financial Aid.

When first applying for scholarships, many students tend to feel overwhelmed by the duration of time it takes to apply, and the amount of information needed.

WSU Sophomore Jessica Powell emphasizes this, “My first year at Weber State, I didn’t consider filling out the FAFSA. At this time, I didn’t think that I would receive any compensation. This year, I applied for the FAFSA, and I received money that I had no idea I would qualify for.”

Powell also mentioned that her advice to any freshman, is to just spend a few hours applying for scholarships and financial aid every year.

According to the Financial Aid Office, Weber State University offers more than $90 million in financial aid and scholarships each year. Aside from the Universities allotted money, FAFSA is a separate application that allocates $185 billion dollars each year to students. The money comes from government funds, colleges/universities, and private sources. The FAFSA awards scholarships and grants, loans, and work study.

Scholarships and grants are offered as “gifts,” because students can take this money and do not have to repay it. These are based on financial need, academic responsibility, and athletic involvement.

Within the FAFSA, there are also thousands of scholarships offered from private sources. Many of these include, research projects, essays, and community involvement.

Loans, on the other hand, are borrowed money that students must pay back in a specific amount of time. The down-side of loans, is that you gain interest on the original amount of the load and graduate with debt.

Another option within the FAFSA is Work Study. This offers students campus-based part time work. These students will receive a check, and can use this money towards on-campus living, books, and tuition costs.

The first step is to fill out the FAFSA. This document requires your tax information, job information, and various personal information. Then, students can create their Financial Aid Verify Account through the eWeber app. Finally, students need to complete the Specialized Scholarship Application. The Financial Aid webpage walks students through each of these steps.

“The Specialized Scholarship Application opened on Sept. 1 2019 for the Fall 2020 award year. Although, the earlier the application is completed the better. The Financial Aid priority deadline to have financial aid ready for Fall semester is Apr. 1, 2020 for the Fall 2020 award year,” said Jed Spencer, director of financial aid and scholarships.

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