It’s no secret that paying for college may be challenging. Paying for college may be extremely costly, what with tuition, housing, and course fees. However, there are several methods and possibilities available to students to assist with the expense of education, ranging from scholarships to government assistance.
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at the University of Arizona provides a variety of services to assist students in paying for their education.
“The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is essentially the go-between between the federal government, its resources, and the student,” said Paul Weeks, a financial aid counselor with the financial aid office. “Our primary objective is to ensure that students get the greatest amount of financial help to which they are eligible.”
Filling out the FAFSA is a critical step that all students must perform in order to be considered for financial assistance. By completing this form, a student becomes eligible for federal financial help.
“The student begins by completing the FAFSA. Once it has been scrutinized by the government, we will retrieve it and use it to develop a financial help plan,” Weeks said. Students who have not completed their FAFSA may be disqualified for a variety of kinds of financial help and services offered by the financial aid office. The FAFSA for the next school year is available in October of the previous year.
Among the financial aid office’s offerings is Scholarship Universe, which links UA students to potentially millions of dollars in awards.
“In terms of further scholarships and awards, [students] should absolutely make an account on Scholarship Universe,” Weeks said. “[Scholarship Universe] is a resource management program with hundreds and hundreds of resources.”
Scholarship Universe connects you to hundreds of scholarships – both those financed directly by the University of Arizona and those granted by other parties.
When it comes to obtaining financial help, “the second thing [students] should do is speak with their department,” Weeks said. Numerous colleges and departments at the University of Arizona offer department-specific scholarships and pools of funding dedicated to student financial help.
If students continue to need financial help after receiving all available gift aid (scholarships and grants), they should investigate student loans. Some are made available via the financial assistance office in the form of subsidized and unsubsidized loans, while others are made available through commercial organizations like banks or credit unions.
Any undergraduate or graduate student may apply for a popular Instant Approval student loan, but they must pay interest on the loan. On the other hand, government-subsidized loans are offered exclusively to students who can show financial need, and the government pays the interest.
“We are not permitted to grant greater financial help than the cost of attendance,” Weeks said. “[Students should explore] student loans when their cost of attendance exceeds the amount of help they will get. … They may want to do some [research] on our website.”
Federal Labor-Study is another alternative for paying for school. This is a need-based kind of financial aid in which the federal government offers part-time work to assist students in earning money to help pay for their education. This is one of the several supplementary services offered by UA’s financial assistance division.
The University of Arizona’s Virtual Career Fair has work-study possibilities in addition to other types of employment. The inaugural job fair will take held from 1-4 p.m. on Aug. 25.
“Ask pertinent questions. That is why we are here,” Weeks said. If you have more questions concerning financial help, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at (520) 621-1858 or visit their website at financialaid.arizona.edu.