By Taylor Hoppe
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Everyone knows college is expensive, but what some students do not realize is how much financial aid colleges and universities offer to help make college affordable.
The BenU Financial Aid website states the office is, “dedicated to helping students and their families make a Benedictine University education affordable.”
By stopping in the Financial Aid office located in Lownik or by looking online, students can learn how much assistance the University offers to students to make college more affordable.
“Benedictine offers over 100 scholarships to students,” said Associate President for Advancement John Morris. A portion of these scholarships are offered to students studying in specific fields, other scholarships are offered to students studying in any field.
Students can apply for scholarships through a new system called STARS. “Students can fill out their academic and personal information and the system populates everything they might qualify for. It really simplifies the application process,” explained Morris.
The STARS website can be accessed through http://stars.ben.edu/stars/.
Through the new STARS program, “students can search through every scholarship [BenU] has on record that they might qualify for,” said Morris.
“We’re hoping the online system makes applying for scholarships much easier,” commented Morris. He explained BenU, as well as donors, want scholarship money to be used. “When we build new scholarships, we try to [design] it so that it impacts the [benefactor] donating the money and so it impacts the student receiving the scholarship.”
Freshman Jessica Clodi likes the idea of the new application process. “It sounds more eco friendly and user friendly,” she says. Clodi comments that since she wants to apply for as many scholarships as she can, the fact that STARS pools all of the scholarships available to her will be beneficial.
However, Morris explains not everyone can apply for every scholarship. “Criteria for receiving some scholarships vary. Some are restricted to certain criteria.”
“I wish I had applied for scholarships in years past. I’ll definitely be applying for them next semester,” commented senior Bre Rimkus.
The Financial Aid Department also offers grants and loans for students to apply for.
“Scholarships are awarded through an application process, while grants are primarily through outside agencies like the government,” explained Morris. “Loans are to be paid back by students with interest after graduation.”
The Financial Aid office suggests students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By completing this form, students become eligible for all federal, state and University need-based assistance.
“There’s [scholarship] money out there for students to find, but it’s a matter of diversifying to find it,” advised Morris.
Applications to receive financial aid for next semester must be submitted by Feb. 28.