Paying for College > Overview
Federal Financial Aid
1. Scholarships are competitive, widely available, and another source of college funding. It does require the most effort, but once you’ve mastered it, it can be another source of college funding.
2. Expect to spend a minimum of six hours on the project to start. It takes about 15 minutes to complete a scholarship application, two hours to create a personal statement, two hours to complete a FAFSA, and two hours to solicit and gather your letters of recommendation.
3. Once you’ve assembled your first financial aid packet, future scholarship applications will go quickly. You can often reuse your personal statement (sometimes with a little editing to meet new scholarship criteria), your letters of recommendation, and your FAFSA.
4. The financial aid season begins in January with the release of the next academic year’s FAFSA, college applications, and many major scholarship applications. The majority of scholarships have an early-March deadline so they can award students by June.
5. You must follow directions and complete everything required by a scholarship to be eligible for it. For example, the MCC-UH Foundation requires an original of the application packet and one copy. If an application packet is submitted without the copy, it can be considered an incomplete packet and set aside without consideration.
6. Need help? Call EOC at 984-3286.
Types of scholarships
There are two major types of scholarships. Institution-based scholarships are available only to students at a particular institution. State and national scholarships are more competitive and open to a larger pool of students.
At MCC, all current scholarships are listed on a bulletin board at the Educational Opportunity Center and on-line at EOC’s SCHOLARSHIP LISTINGS. Once you’ve selected the scholarships you are eligible for, you may get the applications or directions to on-line applications from EOC.
A former client, a single father, and an MCC nursing student made too much money to qualify for federal grants, and rather than taking out loans, he researched and applied for 60 scholarships. He was awarded 11 totaling over $10,000. He was able to scale back his work hours and devote more time to completing his program.
Institutional aid includes the scholarships, tuition waivers and special loans a school offers its students. At UHMC, many scholarships are funded by private donors through the UHMC-University of Hawai‘i Foundation. The scholarship packet is available in late January at the Educational Opportunity Center and usually due at UHMC’s Financial Aid Office in early March.
There are many private scholarships available on a local, state, or national level. They have varying criteria, deadlines, and filing requirements. There are many available for native Hawaiians and low-income students.
Finding private scholarships requires research from as many sources as possible. This includes EOC, the internet, public libraries, newspapers, high schools, school departments, and more. Each January, EOC receives a number of privately-funded scholarship applications including the Hawai`i Community Foundation and Kamehameha Schools.
Completing a scholarship application
A scholarship application is just one part of a financial aid packet. In addition to the throughly completed application, many require the following:
• a personal or goal statement
• two or three letters of recommendation
• a personal financial statement (usually the FAFSA or as with Kamehameha Schools, a CSS Financial Aid Profile.
Personal or goal statement
Personal or goal statements are the most important part of a scholarship packet. A financial aid officer at UH Manoa said that if the winner of a scholarship gets 100 points, 80 is for this statement. With that in mind, your statement needs to be perfect: no misspellings, no white out, typed, and double-0spaced. Your statement should include information about who you are, what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you plan to do. EOC counselors are available to review your personal statement if needed.
Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation are used to verify you meet the requirements of a scholarship. If, for example, the scholarship requires financial need, academics, or community service, be sure one or more of your letters of recommendation state so. These letters should be on letterhead and written by a variety of people – a teacher, a counselor, an employer, and, if applicable, someone who can verify your community service.
Personal financial statement
Most scholarships require a financial statement. For many scholarships, this is the federal FAFSA. For others, like Kamehameha Schools, it is the CSS Financial Aid Profile. Others may have their own financial statements.
Assemble and submit
Once you’re completed all parts of your application packet, assemble everything and sumit by the scholarship’s deadline. If it’s late or missing data, it will normally not be reviewed.
For more EOC financial resources, click on the following links:
Paying for College > Overview
Federal Financial Aid
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