Choosing a college is not just about college tours, ACT scores, and countless college rankings. The process is supposed to be exciting, full of hope and creative thinking about your future and your goals. Here, KICA wants to help you think about two of the bigger factors in planning for your higher education: Available Major Options and Financial Aid Options.

Even though KICA members are "small" schools, they offer big career options - Zoo Science, Sports Management, Law Enforcement and Criminology, Civil Engineering, Cyber Security, Video Game and App Design, Ecosperic Studies, and 211 other degree options on their main campuses alone! 

              

 

If you have been considering a college education, you’ve probably been wondering how you are going to pay for it. Student financial aid is monetary assistance to pay college expenses when you are enrolled in an eligible program at a college or university participating in the federal student aid programs. Aid can cover expenses such as tuition and fees,room and board, books, supplies, and transportation.

The first step in the college financial aid process is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) . If you need help completing the FAFSA, there will be several opportunities during the months of January through March at several sites across the state to assist you in that process. This is a great opportunity for you to meet with financial aid professionals and receive hands on help with the FAFSA. These opportunities are coordinated by the Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (KASFAA) . If you’re thinking about college—and worrying about how you can afford it—this is the right place for you to receive help.  Other financial aid options are:

Federal Grants
Grants are financial aid you do not have to repay. Most grants are limited to undergraduate students. The amount you receive depends on your need, the cost of attending college, and enrollment status (full-time or part-time). Some examples include:

Federal Pell Grants: Federal Pell Grants for the 2016-17 award year (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017) range from $650 to $5,775 for students enrolled full time, with lesser award amounts available to students enrolled less than full-time.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: FSEOGs range from $100 to $4,000.

TEACH Grant Program: Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. For more information click here.

Loans

Loans are borrowed money you must repay with interest. There are several federal loan programs, and even more private banking options, and you may be eligible to borrow money from one or more of them. Parents may also borrow to pay the educational expenses of their dependent undergraduate students. Common loans for financial aid include:

Federal Perkins Loans: These loans are offered by participating schools to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. The interest rate for these loans is 5.0%. The annual loan amount is $5,500 for undergraduates and $8,000 for graduate students.
 
William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loans: Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank or other financial institution. There are three types of Direct Loans:

1. Direct Subsidized Loans are for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period and during deferment periods. The annual award limits are between $3,500 and $5,500 depending upon grade level.

2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods. The annual award limits are between $5,500 to $20,500 depending upon grade level and dependency status.

3. Direct PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. The annual award limit is based on the school’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.
 
Work Study
The federal work study (FWS) program locates part-time, on and off campus, jobs for college students at participating schools. The wages you receive will help pay your educational expenses. FWS encourages community service work and work related to your course of study whenever possible. As each Work Study program is different, contact the financial aid office at your school of choice to learn about options and procedures.
 
Kansas Comprehensive Grant
The Kansas Legislature provides limited assistance to financially needy students through the Kansas Comprehensive Grant for full-time enrollment at either one of the nineteen private colleges and universities located in Kansas, the six state universities, or Washburn University. In order to document need and be considered you must complete and submit the FAFSA, listing one or more of the eligible colleges. Priority receipt deadline is April 1. The funding level allows about 1 in 3 eligible students to be assisted with award amounts ranging from $200 - $3,500 at the private institutions and $100 - $1,500 at the public institutions. For more information click here.
 
Kansas Undergraduate Scholarships and Grants
The state of Kansas provides numerous scholarships, grants, and awards to KS resident students with varying needs, diverse backgrounds, and multiple interests. You can apply for State of Kansas
Student Aid here. Some scholarships of note include:
 
Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship: Designed to assist financially needy, academically competitive students who are identified as members of any of the following ethnic/racial groups: African American; American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; or Hispanic.
 
Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship: A merit-based service obligation scholarship program that provides financial assistance to both students pursuing bachelor’s degree programs and currently licensed teachers pursuing endorsement in hard-to-fill disciplines or master’s degrees in hard-to-fill disciplines or either group planning to teach in an underserved geographic area. Recipients sign agreements to teach one year for each year of scholarship support in Kansas.
 
Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship: This scholarship requires an obligation to practice as a LPN or RN in Kansas and work for a sponsor. A sponsor means any adult care home, psychiatric hospital, medical care facility, home health agency, local health department or any state agency, which employs LPNs or RNs, licensed by the State of Kansas. The sponsor will provide partial scholarship funding and provide employment upon licensure of the recipient. Recipients must sign an agreement to practice nursing for a sponsor one year for each year of scholarship support.
 
Kansas State Scholarship: Designed to assist financially needy students in the top 20-40% of Kansas high school graduates who are designated as state scholars during the senior year of high school.