As you can imagine, college finances are a hot topic for prospective students and parents. While some things are more difficult to explain than others, here are five of the most commonly asked questions and very simple answers to help get you started. Reach out to PUC’s team of financial aid counselors if you have additional questions or need clarification on anything!
How do I apply for financial aid at PUC?
The most important thing you can do is file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an online form you will submit each year that determines your eligibility for student financial aid. Filing the FAFSA also potentially qualifies you for a Pell Grant, which is a subsidy from the U.S. federal government, and is something you don’t have to pay back. Amounts can change each year, but for the 2018-2019 award year, the maximum Pell Grant award is $6,095.
According to a study by NerdWallet, in 2014 U.S. high school graduates left a whopping $2.9 billion in free federal grant money on the table just by not completing the FAFSA, which made them ineligible for a Pell Grant. In our great state of California, over 100,000 seniors would have qualified for Pell Grants if they had filed their FAFSA, but as a result, they lost $396,401,205. See how critical it can be for you to take the time to do the FAFSA?
If you live in California, we also strongly recommend you apply for Cal Grant. Cal Grant is a financial aid program administered by the California Student Aid Commission that provides aid to California undergraduates, vocational training students, and those in teacher certification programs. The short version: A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back!
Cal Grants can be used at most colleges in California. If you’re planning on attending a private non-profit California college like PUC, Cal Grant is worth up to $9,084 per year. That’s over $36,000 to help pay for four years of college—and it’s free!
Don’t forget to apply for PUC scholarships as well. Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see everything we offer as well as scholarship requirements, deadlines, and their applications.
How can I get an estimate of what PUC might cost me?
Once we have your FAFSA data on file, our team of financial aid counselors can determine how much financial aid you are eligible for and create a personalized estimate where you can see how much per month it would cost to attend PUC. It’s incredibly helpful and absolutely an essential thing for you to have when making a decision about where to attend college.
While you wait for your estimate, you can also use PUC’s net price calculator to receive a free preliminary estimate of your aid eligibility, including grants, loans, and PUC scholarships.
Should I apply for aid anyway, even I think I won’t qualify for anything?
Yes, absolutely! Even if you think you won’t qualify for financial aid, or if you aren’t planning on taking out loans, it’s still recommended you file FAFSA. It might surprise you what you qualify for! Many families mistakenly think they won’t be eligible for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. There are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. You also never know when your circumstances may change, and it’s always better to have the option of more financial aid available, should you need it.
Where should I look for outside scholarships?
It’s estimated there are 1.5 million scholarships in the United States alone, so it’s time to get to work if you haven’t already started your scholarship search!
Here are several scholarship websites worth checking out:
Are there jobs at PUC to help pay off my tuition bill?
Having a job while in college can help defray the costs of obtaining a degree, and equip you with some of the necessary skills needed to enter the workforce post-graduation. In 2017-18 approximately 500 students were working on-campus at PUC, some with multiple jobs. Learn more by reading our “How to Get a Student Job at PUC” blog post!
Our Student Finance team is here to help if you have questions about financial aid and scholarships. Call (800) 862-7080, option 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected with a financial aid counselor now.