Financing a College Education

Research College Costs

Certain things about college costs are generally true: tuitions of independent colleges are higher than those of public colleges; tuitions of public colleges are less for in-state than for out-of-state students; and community colleges cost the least of all. Yet for specific students, none of the above may be true. Financial assistance makes the difference. Before you let preconceived ideas of cost make a college decision for you, take the time to learn the real bottom line about any college you consider.

As you develop a “short list” of colleges that you might like to attend, make a list of costs for each one, and don’t eliminate any based on cost. The colleges’ own publications and admissions offices readily provide this information. Make sure to obtain the most current figures. In addition to tuition, fees, room, and board, don’t forget to estimate the cost of books, living, and travel expenses, and the occasional movie, concert, or other treat. Remember that all the costs tend to go up a bit each year, so take that into account as you plan for four years of college.

Plan as a Family

Planning for college requires family teamwork. After all, it’s a major investment for the entire family. It might be helpful to look at this whole undertaking from your parents’ point of view. In a way, the cost of college for them is like the cost of financing a new car every year for four years. It may be awkward to talk with your parents about money matters, especially if you haven’t participated in family financial decisions before. But now is the time to become involved, because preparing for college includes taking on new responsibilities.

You and your parents should assess how much money is available for your college tuition and expenses. This would include savings, employment earnings, investments, and other assets – your own and those of your family. If the college of your dreams still costs more than your family has to spend, don’t give up hope! Financial assistance puts college within reach for thousands of students every year.

Learn About Financial Aid

Numerous programs exist to help the motivated, qualified students get a college education. Federal and state governments offer grants (outright gifts of money that need not be repaid), low-interest loans, and part-time employment programs, including the Federal College Work-Study Program. Colleges and universities also award their own grants and scholarships (grants awarded for academic or other talents). In addition, religious and civic organizations, local businesses, and other private groups sponsor a wide variety of grants and scholarships to deserving students who meet specific criteria.

Make an appointment to discuss scholarship and loan programs with your high school guidance counselor. Contact the financial assistance officers at the colleges in which you are interested to find out what programs they offer. If your state has a grant program, call a representative of the appropriate state agency.

To find out even more, head to your school or public library and ask the reference librarian to show you the books and directories that list financial aid programs. There is also a lot of information about financial aid available on the Internet. We suggest you start with the following Websites: www.finaid.org and www.collegeboard.com. Be sure to find out how and when to apply for each assistance program and to call or write to obtain all required application forms. A little research and effort on your part can yield a lot of savings.

Even though you may not think you qualify for financial assistance, the facts may surprise you. Last year at Drew, for instance, over 80 percent of all students in the College received some form of financial assistance. Make your financial circumstances known. Get to know your financial assistance officer(s). They will work with you to be certain you are applying for all forms of aid for which you may be eligible. Remember, if a college admits you, it’s because it wants you to enroll. The financial assistance and admissions officers will try to make it possible for you to attend.

You may be able to obtain enough financial assistance to meet all or most of your financial need. If so, a high-cost college may not be much more expensive than one with lower costs. This frees you to choose a college based on quality rather than cost.

Find Out About Other Financial Options

Even if you don’t qualify for assistance, or are not awarded enough aid to meet your need fully, you have other financing options. Education loans are available from local banks and other lending institutions. Tuition payment plans, offered by some colleges and by financial institutions, let you pay your yearly expenses in smaller monthly installments that can be more easily incorporated into the family budget. Part-time jobs are often available on or off campus. In addition some scholarships are awarded without regard to financial need to students who demonstrate notable academic ability or other talents.

Submit Your Application

To receive need-based financial assistance, you need to apply for it by the stated deadlines. You should set up an application calendar, circling deadline dates well in advance to remind yourself of each one. Allow plenty of time to fill out each form. Missing even one deadline may mean missing out on significant financial assistance. You and your family should fill out the applications together, if that is possible.

Your parents will have to provide specific financial data and sign the forms where required, but you are the only one who will really benefit by being involved from start to finish in this process (and who will probably have to pay back the loans after graduation!). Some families who have more complex financial situations find it helpful to include their accountants or tax consultants in the completion of the forms, although most families can complete the process by themselves.

Financing a Drew Education

At Drew, tuition and fees cover less than three-quarters of the University’s cost to educate each student. Each student is the beneficiary of gifts to the University from businesses and industry, alumni, churches, and other friends.

Admission to Drew is based solely on academic merit and extracurricular achievement. If you are admitted to the College and demonstrate financial need, you can expect financial assistance in the form of a “package,” which may consist of grants, work opportunities, and low-interest loans.

First-Year Student Assistance

To receive financial assistance for your first year at Drew, you must file the FAFSA:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)Due February 15, the FAFSA is available beginning January 1. List the colleges to which you would like the FAFSA information sent. Drew’s six-digit federal Title IV Code Number is 002603.

NOTE: No action will be taken on your request for financial assistance until the admission decision has been made and analysis of the FAFSA has been completed.

Transfer Student Assistance

To receive financial assistance as a transfer student to Drew, you must file the FAFSA:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)Due February 15, the FAFSA is available beginning January 1. List the colleges to which you would like the FAFSA information sent. Drew’s six-digit federal Title IV Code Number is 002603.

Transfer students are eligible to receive need-based financial assistance as currently enrolled Drew students, if funds are available. Transfer students are eligible for merit scholarships as well. Awards are offered in various increments and are based on strength of candidacy. Because most Drew scholarship money is awarded in the fall for one academic year, the availability of funds for mid-year transfer students is reduced.

NOTE: No action will be taken on your request for financial assistance until the admission decision has been made and analysis of the FAFSA has been completed.

Continuing Education Assistance

Need-based financial assistance does not carry over from year to year. You must reapply annually, updating and refiling a federal Renewal Application or FAFSA.

We recommend filing as soon as possible after completing your federal income tax returns. If necessary, estimate to the best of your ability. The Renewal Application deadline for returning students is April 1.

The assistance programs listed in this brochure are renewable annually for students who are making satisfactory academic progress and who show continuing need.

International Student Assistance

Students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States are not eligible for federal financial aid programs nor do they qualify for Drew’s need-based financial assistance.  However, International Students are eligible for consideration for Drew’s generous merit-based institutional grants.

Financial Need

Most financial assistance is based on an assessment of your financial need. Need is the difference between your educational expenses – tuition, fees, room and board, textbook costs, and personal expenses – and what your family can reasonably be expected to pay toward those expenses from income and assets as well as from your own earnings and savings.

Many factors in addition to income are considered in determining financial need: assets of both the student and parents, debts, number of brothers and sisters in college, other family educational expenses, and parents’ retirement needs. If a student’s need for assistance changes from one year to the next, his/her financial aid may change.

Determining Eligibility for Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines your eligibility for federal and state funds.  Institutional parameters, such as home equity, are added to the federal calculation to determine eligibility for Drew funds. Other adjustments may be made on a case-by-case basis to determine an amount that represents the family’s ability to pay.

Aid Awards Philosophy

Drew offers financial assistance in “packages,” a combination of gift aid (grants/scholarships that need not be repaid) and self-help (low-interest loans and part-time jobs). It is Drew’s policy to award grants first, recommend employment second, and suggest loans as the last part of the package. One-half of a student’s annual grant award and loan amount is credited to the student’s account each semester. Those with Federal Work-Study jobs or other campus employment receive regular paychecks for time worked. Work-Study is not credited to the student’s account.

Aid packages for returning students are based in part on academic performance.

Academic Process

A student must maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree overall and on performance every year to continue in good standing at the College. Unless special permission is granted, a student is expected to maintain full-time registration in the College. (Full-time registration is 12 credits or more per semester.) Students enrolled for less than 12 credits in the final semester of their senior year may receive financial aid (including Drew scholarships) on a prorated basis. Please visit the Office of Financial Assistance if you are planning on enrolling less than full time.

To complete the degree in the normal eight semesters, a student must average 16 credits per semester. Unless an appeal is granted by the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeals Committee, recipients of Drew scholarships are limited to a maximum of four years of institutional assistance as full-time students; years of study at other institutions are counted toward the four-year total. In no case may a full-time student expect to spend more than 10 semesters earning a degree, unless granted an exception to the rule by the Committee on Academic Standing. Students must maintain, after two years, the grade-point average required for graduation (2.0) to receive financial assistance. If a student is placed on required leave, he or she is not eligible for assistance during that period. A student can re-establish his or her eligibility for financial assistance through an interview with the dean of student life and an academic progress petition to the Academic Progress Appeals Committee.

Aid Restrictions

Generally, scholarships are applied toward tuition only, and no grants are awarded at Drew solely for the participation in sports. Scholarship students must maintain full-time enrollment (at least 12 credit hours per semester).

The average Drew undergraduate who borrows under the Federal Subsidized Stafford and/or Federal Perkins Loan Program carries approximately $16,610 in need-based loan indebtedness after four years. It is the Federal Department of Education’s policy not to withhold funding from any student found to be in default or not making satisfactory repayment on any student loan.

Due to federal legislation passed in 1986, all grant and scholarship awards that total more than the cost of tuition, related fees, books, and educational supplies are subject to U.S. tax. Consult your tax adviser if you have any questions.

Merit Scholarships

In addition to providing need-based assistance to students, Drew University recognizes and rewards excellence with scholarships that are based on merit and achievement. For more information on merit scholarships, click here.

Outside/Private Scholarships

Any funds received from sources such as high school scholarships, civic organizations, or foundations, or other benefits, must be reported to the Office of Financial Assistance. Federal regulations require that these awards be treated as educational resources for determining the financial aid applicant’s eligibility. Drew University’s policy is that such resources will first be used to reduce unmet need, then loan eligibility, then work eligibility, and, only if necessary, scholarships and grants. If a student receives no need-based financial assistance, then the combination of all merit and outside resources may not exceed the cost of attendance.