Friday, February 26, 2016

Scholarships & Grants Make College More Affordable

There are two ways to help your college bound student to make a college price tag more affordable. The first is one that students control over the course of their K-12 schooling -- grades.

Merit Based Aid
Colleges look at a students' high school grade point average in combination with their SAT or ACT scores to help make a determination about scholarships. We also look at recommendations and extra curricular activities but the primary determinant is the high school grade point average.

Most colleges will convert the high school grades to a 4.0 scale. An 85 high school average is a 3.0 and a 90 average is a 3.5 and up to 4.0 for a 100 average.

At St. Thomas Aquinas College we utilize the Net Price Calculator to help families estimate their costs for college. The 2016-17 tuition and fees at St. Thomas is $29,600, lower than nearly all of the private colleges in the region and St. Thomas is consistently ranked in US News & World Report's Top Tier among Liberal Arts Universities in the Northeastern United States -- quality at an affordable price.

A student who has a well rounded admissions application (available through the Common Application) and a 3.5 high school GPA with a 1000 on the Critical Reading and Mathematics portion of the SAT, will garner a $14,000 academic scholarship, bringing the tuition cost down to $15,600.

For students who want to live on campus, add $12,390 to that cost and it will be about $28,000. From there, we review students for additional need based grants, federal and state forms of aid, and a standard student loan of just $5,500. With additional help from the College, federal or state grants, the family obligation can drop significantly down below that of a typical New York or New Jersey state university cost.

The STAC Honors Program
A student who is above a 3.6 and a 1200 combined on the Critical Reading and Mathematics portion of the SAT (27 ACT) may be eligible for the St. Thomas Aquinas College Honors Program. This program may close for new freshmen applicants for the fall by March 1, so plan ahead when applying to colleges. The $21,000 scholarship includes a Summer Study at Oxford University in England -- tuition, fees, room and board are paid by the college. There is specialized coursework during the student's four years at St. Thomas and they may choose from among any of our majors, minors and specializations. This program is only available to new freshmen upon initial application to the college. If tuition rises while the student is enrolled, the scholarship increases as well to maintain a 70% discount.

The STAC Aquinas Leaders Program
A student who is above a 3.4 and a 1100 combined on the Critical Reading and Mathematics portion of the SAT (24 ACT) may be eligible for the St. Thomas Aquinas College Aquinas Leaders Program. This program offers students an opportunity to gain structured leadership experience in their freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior years both on campus and off. There are leadership seminars for Aquinas Leaders and the scholarship provided to selected students will be approximately 60% of their tuition cost. The scholarship starts at $17,250. Students are selected and invited into the program based on their overall application and submission of a special essay upon request. This program is only available to new freshmen entering each fall and selection is done based on the student's overall application. Prior leadership and community service also weigh into the decision to invite a student to apply to the program.

More Scholarship Aid
As a student's high school GPA goes down the scale from 3.4 to the 2.8 range, scholarships diminish slightly but are still available and based on the overall application.

Need Based Aid
The second method for reducing your overall costs is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine if you are eligible for any federal aid programs -- and a must for all students who are receiving any college aid as well. There are different forms of federal aid, the most coming from the PELL grant which can provide students with just over $5,500 per year in aid you don't pay back.

For state residents, you need to complete the appropriate state application for aid if you are going to attend college within your state of residence. In New York, students complete the NYS Tuition Assistance Program application which can provide students just over $5,000 per year in aid that you don't pay back.

For students who are strong academic students and high financial need students, St. Thomas Aquinas College also provides additional college grants to help this type of student make college even more affordable.

Visit Campus
To schedule a visit or speak with a counselor at St. Thomas Aquinas College, contact the Office of Admissions. Join us for Open House.

Looking forward to seeing you on campus….

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