Butler University’s Office of Financial Aid recently sent out the academic scholarship award letters, which has sparked many questions among admitted students. Before you begin, you might want to familiarize yourself with these common financial aid terms.
Still have questions? Let us help you:
Q: I haven’t received my scholarship letter yet, is it coming soon?
A: Most academic scholarship letters were mailed in late December and should have already arrived in your mailbox. If you haven’t received it yet and are wondering if you should have, please contact your admission counselor. He or she will be happy to assist you!
Q: If I didn’t receive a scholarship, what are my options?
A: First, we are very excited that you are considering Butler University as one of your top choices! Second, there are many options that students have when it comes to funding their college education. Here are a few to help you get started:
- Gift Programs: These can include departmental scholarships and grants. In fact, Butler University is the largest provider of financial aid to its students. To learn more visit www.butler.edu/financial-aid.
- Aid Programs: Financial aid programs include federal, state and university grants, federal student loans, and federal student work-study. For consideration of all aid programs, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To ensure maximum consideration and timely notification of any of the following awards complete the FAFSA online between January 1 and March 1 each year. For more information, visit www.butler.edu/financial-aid.
Q: Does Butler University accept outside scholarships?
A: Yes, we do accept outside scholarships! An outside scholarship is any scholarship not awarded by the government or the school, such as a scholarship provided by a private sector company, philanthropist, or foundation. We strongly encourage students to apply for as many outside scholarships as possible. Outside scholarships can quickly add up and many go unclaimed each year, so be sure to start applying for these as soon as you can. Here is a list of websites we recommend:
Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have specific questions and they will be more than happy to help!
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A few weeks back, we decoded admission specific language for you. Now it’s time to share the ins-and-outs of Financial Aid terminology. Before we jump into the financial aid process in the next few weeks, let’s define a few terms you might need to familiarize yourself with:
- Aid: Need-based aid refers to federal, state and university grants, federal student loans, and federal student work-study. For consideration of need-based aid, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We recommend each year that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC): This is calculated by the federal methodology using information you provided on the FAFSA.
- Grants: Grants are a form of financial aid, based on need, which you do not have to repay.
- Merit & Talent Awards (also known as scholarships): Awards based on academic achievement or performance ability (scholarships). Those you do not have to pay back.
- Loans: Students and parents who wish to borrow from any of the loan programs (ex: Federal Direct PLUS Loan or Private Loans) must determine their borrowing needs for the entire academic year before beginning the application process.
- Verification: Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education and others are selected by the school. Not sure what to do if you’ve been selected for verification? Visit the eCampusTours website for more information. The Office of Financial Aid will also send you more information if you are selected for this process.
Now let’s cover some important dates:
- Gather the previous calendar year’s W2s and federal tax returns, and identification documents (social security cards, drivers licenses) for both the student and the parents.
- File the FAFSA (school code 001788) between January 1 and March 1.
- The Office of Financial Aid will use your EFC to determine how much aid you’ll receive.
- The Financial Aid Notification (FAN) will be mailed to you after March 15. This is a complete overview of the financial aid offered to students eligible to receive financial aid based on merit or need. The FAN also includes an average cost of attendance, which is used to determine financial aid eligibility. You’ll receive a financial aid award letter that tells you the amount of aid you’ll receive for the school year and in what form: loan, grant or campus-based program.
- Your offer of financial aid will be available to you online at my.butler.edu (Self-Service – Student Center – Finances – Review/Accept/Decline Financial Aid) after you’ve received your award letter. You can accept or decline each award, select a lender (if necessary) and report any outside scholarships.
- To help you consider your options, you can also fill out the Family Responsibility Worksheet (PDF) will guide you in evaluating the different financing options available and developing a plan for your investment in a Butler education.
We know that this is a quick overview of the process so for more in-depth information, please visit www.butler.edu/financial-aid.
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First of all, congratulations on your acceptance to Butler University! We are very excited to welcome you to the Class of 2017. Now that you’ve been admitted, you’re probably starting to wonder what you should be doing next. Just know that we’re here to help! We’ve come up with a short list to get you started:
- Attend an admitted student event. We offer a variety of events including academic days, basketball games, regional receptions, and more. Whatever you choose, we have the perfect visit for you. You can register for these events via the emails we send you or by logging onto your student status page.
- Submit your deposit. By submitting your deposit, you guarantee your spot in the freshmen class. Deposits are fully refundable until May 1. Visit our admitted student page for more information and directions on submitting your deposit.
- Visit campus. If you’ve never been to Butler before, you’re really missing out. We strongly encourage admitted students who haven’t been to campus to visit this spring. We offer individual visits and True Blue days to help you make an informed decision. Once you get to campus, you’ll fall in love!
- Select an Early New Student Registration date. Once you’ve submitted your deposit, you can select which Early New Student Registration date you would like to attend. Registering early allows you to meet with an academic advisor to discuss course options and schedule, meet classmates in a small group setting and get your college photo ID.
- Start thinking about housing options. Your housing information and contract will be sent once your enrollment deposit has been received. Residence hall choices: First-year men live in Ross Hall; first-year women may select either Ross Hall (co-ed) or Schwitzer Hall (all women). Transfer and international students have additional options. Roommate matches are made based on personal preferences students select on the housing contract (including things like, “Are you an early riser or a night owl?” “Do you study to music or in complete silence?”) Housing and roommate assignments will be mailed in July.
- Send in your final transcript. Arrange to have all of your final academic transcripts sent to the Office of Admission at the end of the school year with your date of graduation posted. If you are taking AP exams, have your scores sent to Butler University.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact your admission counselor. We’re excited to see you on campus this spring and permanently this fall!
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We realize that it isn’t December 15 yet and you have not received your admission decision. However, it’s never too early to start thinking about financial aid. We’ve created a helpful checklist for you to get a head start on financial aid:
- Did you know that you are eligible for academic scholarships just for applying to Butler University? Award amounts range from $6,000 to $16,000 and vary each academic year based on the quality of the applicant pool. You will receive your scholarship amount approximately two weeks following your admission decision.
- File your Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1. (Estimate the required tax information if your tax forms are still incomplete.) You must complete the FAFSA by March 1. Keep a photocopy for your records.
- If you haven’t already, start researching outside scholarship opportunities. Search for outside scholarships on Zinch.com, Cappex.com, scholarships.com, fastweb.com and more!
- On March 15, we send out the Financial Aid Notification package. This includes the types and amounts of financial aid for which you qualify, the cost of attendance and your expected family contribution.
- If your family’s financial circumstances have changed significantly since you submitted the FAFSA, contact financial aid immediately.
- If your financial aid application is selected for verification, the school will require you to submit additional documentation, such as signed copies of your W-2 statement, tax returns and 1099 forms. The federal government selects 30% of the FAFSAs for verification.
- Finally, decide which school you want to attend and accept the offer (hopefully ours). We’ll show you how to do this when the time comes!
Be sure to check your email for updates from financial aid! If you have questions anytime throughout this process, please feel free to contact our Office of Financial Aid at (877) 940-8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter if that is easier for you!
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So you’ve applied and are now waiting for your admission decision to be sent. While some might say filling out applications is the most grueling step in the process, I’d have to disagree. Waiting has to be, by far, the hardest part.
While you’re waiting for December 15 (that’s the day we’ll be mailing your admission decisions), there are plenty of things you can do to stay busy and keep your mind off of that fat envelope:
- If you haven’t been to campus yet, now is a great time to visit. Visiting can also serve as a great way for you to meet current students and really begin narrowing down your choices.
- Start researching your financial aid options. You can begin filing the FAFSA on January 1, but there’s no reason you can’t start filling it out now.
- Begin looking for outside scholarships. Sites such as Zinch, Cappex and scholarships.com are great ways to find extra cash to finance your college education.
- Stay connected. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for important announcements and exciting updates. Feel free to leave us a comment on our fan page or tweet us using #Butler2017.
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It’s time! …to fill out the FAFSA that is.
If you are planning on attending college in the fall it is essential that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student (or otherwise known as the FAFSA), even if you think you will not qualify for financial aid. At the very least, you will have completed the proper form to take out a federal student loan. The FAFSA should be submitted each year you are enrolled in college before January 1. Check with your college or university to see when they want you to file the FAFSA because many schools will have a certain date they want you to complete the FAFSA by in order to receive the maximum consideration in financial aid, particularly gift aid – free money. All schools are not the same, so it is important to check the date for each school that you have applied. Indiana residents – it is important that you complete the FAFSA no later than March 10 each year to be considered for state grants.
- The FAFSA can be completed and submitted electronically at www.fafsa.gov.
- Apply for a PIN now! The PIN (personal identification number) will serve as your electronic signature and is required to submit your application online. You and a parent, one with whom you live, will each need a PIN. You can apply for the PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. Keep this PIN safe, you will need this number to submit your FAFSA next year.
- Complete the FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) Worksheet before beginning the arduous task of filling out the application. The FOTW Worksheet will help you collect the required information you may not necessarily know off the top of your head.
- It is best to have a completed federal income tax return (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) for the most recent tax year (2011 for the 2012-2013 academic year) since many of the income questions on the FAFSA link directly to a specific question on the tax return.
- Answer each question on the FAFSA as it is asked. The FAFSA is a standardized application and does not take into consideration special situations. If while you are completing the FAFSA you believe there is more information to be shared about your family’s ability to contribute towards your college expenses than what is asked for, make a note and contact each of the schools to which you are applying to see how you make them aware of these special circumstances.
- Don’t forget to hit “submit” when you have completed the application. You can save your work if you need to come back to it at another time, but a saved application will not be processed and the information will not be sent to your schools of choice.
For help in completing the FAFSA, contact the financial aid at your college or university, attend a Financial Aid Night coordinated by your high school or attend College Goal Sunday.
For many high school seniors, and college students alike, it might just be a few hours of your time. We know in today’s economy families are trying to make every dollar stretch as far as they can and sometimes the financial aid offered through federal and state government and colleges or universities just aren’t enough. Colleges and universities are spending every dime they have to help students just like you, but if you want a piece of the pie from all the dollars that go unspent every year you just might have to commit to a little time.
Outside scholarships are scholarships that are awarded outside of the normal financial aid processes and available through community groups, Fortune 500 companies and professional organizations. But how do you find these scholarships? There are a number of ways…I recommend starting with your high school guidance office. Your advisor has most likely been developing a list of scholarship opportunities from community and service organizations such as: Optimists, Kiwanis and Dollars for Scholars. Your parents may even be an unrealized source through their involvement in religious, social and trade memberships such as the Knights of Columbus, Masonic Lodge and the union local.
The corporate pages of Fortune 500 companies and scholarship search engines like Fastweb.com, College Board Scholarship Search and Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search are just a few good online sources. Many corporations will provide college scholarships for students who qualify, so it does not hurt to search the corporate website for scholarships. The scholarship search engines will ask for students to register and complete a student profile so the student can be matched up with possible scholarship opportunities. There are no guarantees and you still have to apply for the scholarships, these websites do give you a start in locating scholarships for which you may apply. One piece of advice set up a separate email account just for your scholarship search; some sites, not all, will sell email addresses to keep the service free.
- Start now and keep looking. Not all scholarships are offered at the same time.
- Apply, apply, apply! Cast a wide net by applying for as many scholarships as you can – you are bound to catch something.
- Don’t discount any scholarship. A $100 can go a long way.
- Scholarship opportunities are not limited to graduating high school seniors. It is important that you apply every year.
- A little time and effort can net results. Don’t overlook a scholarship because the application requires an essay or additional information that may time to create. Consider the amount of time it takes in relation to the potential return.
Associate Director of Financial Aid