As high school seniors get ready for their first semester at Auburn University, their parents have been preparing for much longer. College tuition has always been notoriously high and every year it continues to get higher.
Auburn University is no exception as tuition rates have increased. Since 2009, an Alabama resident taking 10-15 hours (excluding Vet Med, Architecture and Pharmacy) has to pay $800 more and a non-resident has to pay 1500* more for one semester. That is also excluding room and board and books and supplies.
So what exactly are students supposed to do when tuition rates are at an all time high?
There are many scholarships, grants and federal loans that a student can apply for. Looking at all this information, however, can be a bit overwhelming and discouraging.
It should not be so nerve-racking to find ways to pay for a higher education, so here are a couple of tips and information that should help.
Students who wish to apply for any financial aid must first complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (the FAFSA) online every year that they attend school. Some parents may remember that they could fill out the FAFSA on paper and mail it in. This option is no longer available and everything is done online.
After completing the FAFSA, students will receive a Student Aid Report which they must go over and see if there are any mistakes. The University will receive the FAFSA and determine the eligibilty for financial aid based on the data.
Students must be responsible when applying before deadlines. Most scholarships will not automatically consider a student if they do not apply by the priority deadline. It can be competitve so apply early.
For out-of-state students who have to pay 3 times more than that of in-state student, there is an option to become a resident. Those students have to be intent to be an Alabama resident and be declared financially independent, work full-time for 12 months. During that year, they cannot attend the University full-time. They can take no more than 9 hours. This can a lengthy process that simply is not an option for most students and cannot be done.
Non-resident freshmen are eligible for many scholarships. Richard Daniel originally from Georgia was awarded the Spirit of Auburn Scholarship in 2007. He is a senior in Graphic Design and graduating this May. "I got the Spirit of Auburn Founders Scholarship," Daniel explains. "If I didn't have this scholarship, I probably would have gotten a job to pay for my tuition."
The Spirit of Auburn Scholarship is a renewable four year scholarship. Daniel was awarded the Founders scholarship which means his high school GPA was between 3.5-4.0 with a SAT score between 1330-1600 (excluding the writing score) or an ACT score between 30-36. The Founders level pays tuition. There are two other levels: Presidental and University.
For students whose parents or guardians are alumni, the Auburn Spirit Foundation Legacy Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen with a minimum 3.0 high school GPA. The Auburn Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship can be either for incoming freshmen or transfer students with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students are considered for these two scholarships based on whether they indicated their parents are alumni on their application.
Loans can be scary. Many students hear the horror stories about graduates with so much debt. While the stories can be true, debts can be manageable. These loans are low interest and long term.
For new borrowers, the Entrance Interview is required for student loans. It is quick and helps students to understand their future responsibilites when taking out a loan.
The worst thing that any student can do is procrastinate. If they know they need help, they need to seek it out.
Auburn University offers so many ways to help a student and the employees at the financial aid office are always ready to help and answer any questions a student or parent has.