How to receive your scholarship funds
How to Receive Your Scholarship Funds
ASPIRE at SHS
The first thing you should do upon notification that you have been awarded a local scholarship is to write a thank-you note! Names and addresses of scholarship organizations are available in the ASPIRE and counseling offices. Note cards are also available in each of those offices.
Each scholarship organization has its own method of distributing the funds to recipients. Carefully read the instructions contained in the award letter or on the original scholarship application. Here are the most typical methods:
1. The scholarship organization will send the funds directly to your account at the college you will be attending, once you provide proof of enrollment and your student ID number. You can usually get proof of enrollment (which may be a written statement, a schedule of classes, or even a billing statement) from your online account at the college. Just print a copy and send it to the scholarship organization, along with a brief note (see the back of this page for an example). Be sure to include the mailing address of the college financial aid or business office. You may also be asked for a copy of your student ID card.
2. A few organizations send the money to the business office at Siuslaw High School, from which the funds are sent to your college. The procedure is mostly the same as in #1: provide proof of enrollment, student ID number, and college mailing address to the SHS business officer (Debi Free) and she will send to the money to your college account.
3. It is rare, but one or more organizations may send a check directly to you. It may be made payable to the college or to you. If it is payable to the college, you may take it to the business or financial aid office and apply the money to your account. If it is payable to you, you may deposit it to your personal account. Be sure to follow the instructions and intent of the scholarship; its purpose is probably to further your education, and the money should be used for education-related expenses.
4. Some organizations will not disburse funds until you provide a copy of your transcript from your first term (quarter or semester) in college. Your transcript may be available in November/December (for schools on a quarter system) or January/February (for schools on a semester system). Be sure to follow all instructions in your award letter! You may need to acknowledge enrollment when you begin taking classes, and then send a copy of your first transcript when it is available. Mark your calendar so you do not miss a deadline.
Renewable Scholarships: A few scholarships are renewable each year while you are in college. If this is the case, be sure to follow all instructions and deadlines to renew. You may be asked to write a letter requesting renewal, provide a copy of your transcript, explain any changes in your financial circumstances, etc.
Receiving Federal and State Grants: There are three types of federal and state grants: Pell grants (federal), Oregon Opportunity grants (state) and Oregon Promise (state, only for community college). As long as you specified your college on the FAFSA application form, funds will be disbursed automatically to your college account. Usually this will be done by quarter or semester rather than all at once. Check your billing statement regularly to make sure that the funds have been applied. If not, you may contact the financial aid office at your college, or ASPIRE at SHS, for assistance.
Renewing Federal and State Grants: Pell Grants, Oregon Opportunity Grants, and Oregon Promise must be renewed each year. Completing the FAFSA will renew your Pell grant and your Oregon Opportunity grant, assuming you remain eligible. The application period usually opens on October 1 and closes on June 30 (although your FAFSA must be completed by June 1 if you are renewing Oregon Promise). The Oregon Promise application period is typically November 1 to June 1).
Federal Loans: There are several types of loans available through the federal government. You may have been given the opportunity by your college financial aid office to sign up for one or more of these loans. Be sure to check with the financial aid office about the type of loan you have been offered: amount of loan, interest rate, payback period, etc. Before taking out any loans, it is wise to consider how and when you will be able to pay back those loans. Limit the amount you take out in loans to what is absolutely necessary.
Consider other ways of paying for college:
· On-campus job or off-campus job – There are usually a lot of jobs available on campus or near the campus, but be sure to apply early (preferably before school starts) because the best jobs get snapped up quickly.
· Tutoring – You may be able to work the campus academic assistance center as a tutor, or you may be able to establish your own tutoring business by posting notices on campus bulletin boards.
· Summer job – There are usually some on-campus jobs available during the summer, such as school ambassador or tour guide, as well as jobs in the community. Check with the school employment or career office for information.
· Resident Assistant (RA) – If you are fortunate enough to get a job as an RA, you may not have to pay room and board. RA’s watch over a wing or section of a dorm, help students with problems and issues, keep order, etc.
· Teaching Assistant (TA) – After you complete some classes in your area of concentration, you may be eligible to serve as a TA, helping a professor to prepare for classes, grade papers, etc. Seniors and graduate students may be eligible to teach classes. Getting to know your professors will improve your chances of getting one of these jobs.\
· Departmental scholarships may be available after you have completed your first year of college. Once again, get to know your professors, as they are the ones who make decisions about departmental scholarships.
· Take time off from college to work (a semester or a year)
· Take classes part-time to get more paid working hours (caution: you must take a minimum number of courses each quarter or semester to maintain your eligibility for federal and state grants. Don’t fall below the minimum or you will lose your grant money).
· Take classes at a community college – The cost will be less than at a 4-year college or university, but be sure that the classes you take will be accepted for credit by your school. This is a likely option when you are a freshman or sophomore, but community colleges don’t offer the advanced courses you will need as a junior or senior.
· Change Colleges – some colleges and universities offer better scholarship assistance than others. You may be able to get a better financial deal by switching to a different school.
· Local and Private Scholarships – Although most local and private scholarships are for students who are just graduating from high school, there are some for students who have completed a portion of college. You will find a partial list of these at the SHS ASPIRE website: https://sites.google.com/site/siuslawafterhs/financial-aid-1/grants-and-scholarships. Scroll down the page until you find “SCHOLARSHIPS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL” in red letters. New scholarships are added as we learn of them.
· Join the military – After four years in the military, you could have earned a 2-year degree, gained valuable skills, and established eligibility for the GI Bill which will pay up to $70,000 or more in education expenses.
· Find an employer who will pay for your education – There are some jobs that will pay you to take classes and/or earn a degree. For more information, check with the employment or career office at your college.
· Commercial Loans: Recommended only as a last resort. Commercial loans generally carry a higher interest rate than federal loans, and the payback terms may be stricter. If you must use a commercial loan, shop around to find the best rates and terms.
See the SHS ASPIRE website for lots of information about life after high school: www.sites.google.com/site/siuslawafterhs. Scroll down the menu and click on “College Life” for lots of useful links. Then click on one or more of the How To… pages for details on getting a passport or birth certificate, renting an apartment, buying or selling a car, etc.
Please feel free to contact the ASPIRE or counseling office at SHS at any time if you have questions or if we can be of help. We remain committed to your success!
Here is a sample letter to a scholarship organization when you are asking that funds be sent to your college
Street or P.O. Box
City, State, and Zip
Dear (name of the contact person at the scholarship organization). If you don’t have this information, the skip this line.
Thank you again for the generous (name of organization) scholarship. I have enclosed proof of my enrollment at (name of college or university). (NOTE: what you say here will depend on what the scholarship organization wants; you may be including a billing statement, schedule of classes, copy of your ID card, or college transcript).
Please send my scholarship award funds to my account (student ID # __________________) at the following address:
Financial Aid Office
Name of College/University
P.O. or street address
City, State, Zip
(you sign here)