The Smart Choice
When considering how to pay for your college education, the first step is to understand what kinds of aid are available. There are four main sources of funding for students, and not all of them need to be paid back:
Scholarships are a type of financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. McNeese offers a number of scholarships based on academic achievement, financial need and other factors, while specific degree programs, clubs, organizations and athletic teams may also offer scholarship opportunities or awards. For more information, check out the Scholarships Office.
Grants are funded by the state or federal government and, like scholarships, don’t need to be repaid. Awarded on a first-come first-serve basis, competition for grant funding is fierce, so it’s important to fill out and submit a FAFSA as soon as possible to see if you’re eligible. Grants available to McNeese students are:
- The Federal Pell Grant. A needs-based grant, the Federal Pell Grant awards range from $200 to $3,098 per semester. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to qualify.
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) awards up to $500 per year. Students qualify for this grant based on need, enrollment status and the amount of other aid received. To qualify, students must also be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, have at least a 2.0 GPA and have the required number of earned hours each semester.
- The Louisiana Go Grant. This grant is aimed at making college more affordable for students from moderate- and low-income families and helps cover the difference between the cost of attending a public or private college in Louisiana and the amount of a Pell Grant award. The Go Grant award for full-time students is $3,000 per academic year, while eligible part-time students may receive up to $2,000 per year.
Student loans are funds borrowed to pay for tuition and other university expenses, and must be repaid with interest. There are two main types of federal student loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans – Students with a demonstrated financial need may qualify for subsidized student loans. In this type of loan, students do not have to pay interest on loans while enrolled or during the six month grace period after graduation.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans – Regardless of financial need, all students qualify for unsubsidized loans. With this type of loan, students are responsible for making interest payments on loans while enrolled.
What loans you qualify for vary based on financial need, how many credit hours you have and whether you are an independent or dependent student. Visit student loans for more information.
The Federal Work Study Program provides jobs for students with demonstrated financial need. Work-study students are paid minimum wage and work between 8-12 hours per week on campus. To qualify, students must be enrolled at least part time (6 credit hours) and maintain SAP. Funds are limited and positions are awarded based on student eligibility and on a first-come, first-serve basis. To find out if you qualify, submit your FAFSA as early as possible and contact the Student Employment Office.
No matter what type of financial aid you’re applying for, you’ll need to fill out a FAFSA form. Head over to How to Apply for Financial Aid to find out more.