By Ellen Blaize, December 7, 2020
The cost of tuition can be a major source of stress for many students looking to enter college. The task of finding the right financial aid can often overtake the excitement that comes with applying and getting accepted to their dream institution. In fact, the worry of not being able to afford college keeps many from attending at all. However, don’t be discouraged! There are many ways to keep college affordable.
Everyone’s journey to college looks different, which is why you should choose the financial aid opportunities that work best for you. There are four types of financial aid, including grants – free money for school which is typically based on your financial need, scholarships – earned money offered by states, schools or other organizations, work study – earned money with a part-time job while enrolled in school, and loans – borrowed money you need to pay back with a low, fixed interest rate, which is available to both students and parents.
To determine what free financial aid you may qualify for, submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline of Feb. 1 using your parents’ 2019 income tax returns beginning Oct. 1, and be sure to use UCM’s FAFSA code 002454. The following federal grants are awarded based on the results of your FAFSA:
By submitting your application for admission at ucmo.edu/apply, you can also apply for additional grants, such as:
When looking at scholarships, it’s important to keep an eye out for the words “renewable” and “stackable.” If a scholarship is renewable, that means you’re able to receive it for additional semesters, not just once. If a scholarship is stackable, that means it can be added together with other scholarships for a larger award. Don’t get caught up in the dollar signs of one short-term scholarship and ignore smaller scholarships that may have a stronger payout over time.
A great question to ask when looking at colleges is, “what will my final cost be after my scholarships are applied?” For example, a $20,000 scholarship sounds great, but if your annual tuition is $50,000, it would be more affordable to go to a university that gives you $5,000 towards a $15,000 annual tuition. It’s your money and your investment, so be sure to get all the details.
Good news – UCM offers many renewable scholarships, and all of our scholarships are stackable. We make finding and applying for scholarships easy with UCM Scholarship Finder, which allows you to apply for multiple scholarships at one time. Simply fill out one application and it will be automatically submitted toward all eligible scholarships!
We provide the following automatic scholarships that are guaranteed. If you qualify, you receive them!
UCM also offers two additional scholarships, including:
We even offer scholarships specifically for transfer students that are renewable for up to six semesters, including:
Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a need-based federal student aid program that provides funding for part-time employment to some eligible students. This is a great way to earn funds to pay for college while gaining experience! The Work-Study award (not a grant or loan), represents an employment earnings allotment, for part-time work, up to 20 hours per week. For more information, visit ucmo.edu/sfs. If you don’t qualify for Federal Work Study, you can still apply for campus jobs at jobs.ucmo.edu.
Loans are sums of borrowed money that accumulate interest and must be repaid. They can help bridge the gap of your total cost to attend after your financial aid funding has been applied. Private lending organizations offer loans to assist with your education and living expenses. The federal government also offers low-interest loan programs to help you attend UCM, such as:
The quality of your education matters. At the University of Central Missouri, you can spend less without sacrificing quality. Your money goes further here, because we take action to keep costs low and affordability high. That’s why our tuition is lower than both the Missouri and national average, and why we have been recognized by the student finance bureau LendEDU for having one of the lowest national student debt numbers for 2019 graduates. Here’s how we make that possible:
The best investment you will ever make is the one you make for yourself and your future. UCM has a rich heritage of providing unparalleled student support, exceptional academic programs and valuable learning opportunities, and has helped students achieve success through affordable access to a high-quality education for the past 150 years. Find your savings today with UCM’s net price calculator, and estimate how much financial aid you could receive with UCM’s scholarship calculator.
It’s a great time to apply, because UCM is now test-optional! This means that students applying to UCM with a 2.75 GPA or higher may be admitted without submitting an ACT or SAT test score. Students admitted as test-optional will also receive a $1,000 Red & Black Scholarship. Learn more about the University of Central Missouri, and apply today!