Scholarships 101- Redux

Last year the scholarship applications was an amazing success with over 300 awards given out to students. We almost tripled the number of submitted applications and are hoping to make those numbers go even higher this year!

 

This post may seem a little familiar to you but that’s because we posted something very similar last year when our endowed scholarships opened up but some things have changed between this year and last so even if it seems familiar we definitely recommend giving it another read- through!

 

Wentworth’s various endowed scholarships are now available on Academic Works. These scholarships are a great opportunity for student’s to get additional funds to help with the cost of their education and we have lots of them!

For those of you who don’t know these scholarship opportunities are available due to generous donations made to the college from various sources, including alumni, faculty, staff, corporations and one from our very own President Pantic!

It is important to note that in most cases you must be a returning WIT student to be considered, meaning you have completed at least one semester at WIT during the 15/16 academic year.

There are some specific qualifications set by the donors for the awards but it is easy to tell on Academic Works if you fit the qualifications or not. In this post we will review best practices for these applications and tips on how to maximize your chances of being awarded a scholarship.

First things first, let’s go over how to actually apply. Go to www.wit.academicworks.com and log in with your standard Wentworth log-in (what you use to get into the computer). This should direct you to the main scholarship page where you can submit your General Application, let’s call it GA for short. The GA is probably the most important part of your application so be sure to fill it out to the best of your abilities. There are three sections to the GA- demographic questions, activities, and essays.

Please note that ALL questions MUST be answered fully in order to even be considered for a scholarship. We will NOT consider anyone who does not fully complete the application. This means that if you do not answer even one of the essay questions your application will not be considered. Keep in mind that even if you fill out your application but don’t hit that submit button it won’t process through and you will not be considered.

Additionally no late applications will be accepted. The deadline for these awards is June 1st– that gives you close to 6 months to complete. They close at 11:59pm on the deadline date which means come 12:01 on June 2nd they will no longer be available.This is an automated function and no exceptions will be made.

Now that we’ve gotten that bit out of the way let’s talk about best practices. The first section of demographic information is pretty simple and straightforward. We recommend using your WIT email address on the application itself.

*One important change to note on the question regarding your classification- we have added additional options for CPCE and Graduate students. Please reflect your current status as accurately as possible as it will help determine your eligibility for various scholarships.

The second section is all about activities. Now these can range from on campus involvement, high school activities, Co-Op’s, Internships, jobs, anything really! Just list the relevant items that you are doing while enrolled at WIT. We limit it to five so pick the most relevant to your application!

The third section is the most important- the essays. There are four different essay questions that, again, must ALL be fully answered to be considered. Grammar and spelling do count towards your consideration so we recommend writing your essays in a program like Word so that you can run the checks on the essays. The application also times out after a period of time so in order to not lose your progress we recommend writing all essays in a Word or text doc.

The scholarship committee uses these essays to get a feel for who you are, your goals, and why you would benefit from this award so be honest but also remember that you are applying for scholarship funds so appropriate language is key. There is a minimum word requirement (150 words) – this is an increase from last year so be sure to pay attention to your word count- rather than character count. That being said feel free to write until you feel the question is answered fully.

If you feel as though you are struggling with your writing abilities The Learning Center has professional writing tutors that can assist with grammar and sentence structure. You can find more information about their office here

The cool thing about Academic Works is that once you hit that submit button you will be auto-matched to various scholarships based on your qualifications. It is still important to go through the scholarships to apply directly to some awards as some of the scholarships require additional information that is not covered in the general application.

Once you’ve applied to all the scholarships you feel you would be a good match for and you have fully submitted your application there isn’t much else you need to do. Review will begin over the summer and awarding takes some time on the committee part. You can expect to hear back in the fall semester.

We also highly recommend that students look to outside scholarships to assist with your balance. As we’ve mentioned in our past few posts, SALT is such a great resource for students on how to find scholarships that best suit their needs. We recommend starting with this article on “Where to Find Scholarships” as a great jumping off point. If you are an International student check out this video to help you in your search as it can be a bit more complicated.

As always if you have questions feel free to contact us!

See you next time!

-Mady

 

Don’t be a SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress that is)

If you receive financial aid you may have heard the term SAP thrown around before. SAP refers to Satisfactory Academic Progress. SAP is a federal and state regulation that requires students to be maintaining academic progress towards completing their degree. There are two components of SAP and not meeting either one of them can result in a suspension of financial aid.

So you may be wondering what are the components of SAP? Well first, as expected, there is a GPA requirement. We created a helpful chart below for reference as GPA requirements range from whether or not you are a day student, undergraduate CPCE, or graduate student.

Total Credits Earned Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average Required For SAP
Undergraduate Associate/Baccalaureate CPCE Undergraduate Baccalaureate  Day Graduate
0-31 1.85 1.75 3.0
32+ 2.0 2.0 3.0

 

The other requirement comes from your attempted vs earned credits. Student’s must complete (with a passing grade that is) at least 66.67% of your courses attempted. So what exactly does that mean? Let’s say that you are enrolled in four courses. You withdraw from one of the courses, fail another, but pass the remaining two. Since you withdrew and failed one course those would not count as earned credits; however the courses you passed do. This would mean you would have a 50% ratio of attempted vs earned credits.

It is important to keep in mind that anything below that 66.67% mark is considered unsatisfactory. Even if you are sitting at 66.65% it still will not be meeting the criteria. Same thing goes for your GPA. If you sit at a 1.99 as sophomore, junior, or senior it will not be making the cut.

Another important thing to note is that all credits taken at Wentworth count towards SAP, regardless if your change your major. If you found yourself doing poorly in your original major, changed and are doing better there is still a chance you will not be meeting SAP.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not doing well in school there are options for you. The financial aid office will accept SAP appeals from anyone not meeting satisfactory academic progress. Please be aware that submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval. You must have a sufficient reason to not be meeting SAP according to the regulations and our appeals process. We also highly recommend talking with professors and using the resources on campus if you need assistance.

For more information regarding SAP we highly recommend this awesome article from SALT Money.

As always feel free to reach out to us with questions! Until next time!

-Mady

A Day in the Life: The SSC Blogs

While we do love our information packed blog posts we also like to have a bit of fun in our office. We’ve introduced our staff members before but since that first blog post we’ve had some staff changes go into effect and would love to re-introduce the financial aid (and potentially beyond!) staff!

These blog posts will cover staff members in the Student Service Center and will offer interesting information about each staff member but also more practical information to help you identify who the best person to outreach to is.

First up we have the lovely Katie Paquin, one of our newer financial aid counselors. Katie has been working at Wentworth for 4 months, 28 days and 7 ½ hours (she is very precise). Katie completed her Undergraduate degree at Rhode Island College in Dance and Psychology (what a weird mix). She also has her Master’s degree in Counseling from Providence College- can you tell she is from Rhode Island? We asked her a series of questions and have reordered her responses below verbatim (no pressure- right?)

What do you love most about Wentworth?

Um *laughs* I love my co-workers. They make it all worth it. I love the location and I love the student body. It’s one I feel I can relate to. Why? I also went to school in a city for my freshman year and I was faced with a lot of the same financial challenges that our student’s face when they arrive here.

What piece of advice would you offer to a student?

Use your resources. Student’s often think that the financial aid package they are offered is it but there are thousands of outside scholarships and resources that students can look into. We provide student’s free membership to a site called www.saltmoney.org. It’s awesome-I use it all the time.

What are your job specialties?

Well, funny you should ask. I am in charge of SALT- our usage is monitored so please sign up for my job security. I am also in charge of state grants and the Massachusetts No Interest Loan program.

What is something someone may not know about you?

I am a professional ballerina. I have run three half marathons and I am training for my second full marathon. So I eat a lot of food. Like a lot. All the time. And if you ever want to bring me a treat my favorite food is ice cream (any variety except Cherry Garcia).

Final question- give us a fun fact about yourself.

I am only 5 feet tall and I have to climb on shelves when I go grocery shopping.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Katie- we will have another staff posting up soon enough so keep an eye out!

Until next time!

Mady

150%- Not Just A Grade To Strive For

If you have borrowed Stafford loans in in the past two years or are a new borrower you may have heard the term “150 percent” thrown around. This term refers to the time limit in which you can receive Subsidized loans.

If you are a first time borrower as of July 1, 2013 (meaning any loans as of that date or after) there is a limit to the maximum period of time- measured in academic years- that you can receive Subsidized Loans. If you only receive Unsubsidized loans or Direct PLUS loans then you can just move right along! (Unless you read this blog for fun- totally wouldn’t blame you)

Now if you do borrow Subsidized Loans then the maximum amount of time you can receive these loans is 150 percent of the published time for your program. Now you may be wondering what exactly this means. Think about it this way: if your program is scheduled to last for 4 years then the maximum amount of time you can receive Subsidized loans is 6 years. That’s four years (100%) plus two more (50%). Easy now, right?

If you are in a program that is scheduled to last two years the maximum you can receive the loans three years. (two years 100% one year 50%)

Now let’s say you started off in an associate’s degree program and decided to move up to a bachelor’s degree- that means that your eligibility would increase from three years to six years! But let’s say you move from a bachelor’s degree to an associates- your eligibility would then decrease down to three years. This means if you’ve used two years you would only have one remaining instead of four. Definitely something to consider!

It is also important to note that even if you change majors if both degrees still take the same amount of time your clock does not start over. This means if you decide to change your major in your- let’s say junior year- you would have already used upwards of three years of those six years available to you.

If you find yourself closing in on your 150% of your degree program please feel free to reach out to your counselor to discuss potential impacts! We also HIGHLY recommend checking out this great article from SALT Money for more information!!

As always reach out to us if you have questions!

Mady

Budgeting 101

Now that you have arrived on campus, maybe even started a new job, it is time to start thinking about how to budget. It is never too early to set out a budget plan for yourself to help manage funds and become financially responsible!

It is extremely important to come up with a monthly budget while in college to help you stay on top of your monthly costs. Those little things that you get can add up quickly making you wonder where all your money went at the end of the month. Let’s consider that a drink at Starbucks that costs $3 a day adds up to $60 a month! That’s the same cost of that new video game you’ve had your eye on.

If you were awarded Federal Work Study or Wentworth Work Study it’s important to keep in mind that you have a limit of what you can earn over the school year. For example let’s say you were offered $1,600 in work study. You should figure out a monthly plan that stays within that $1,600 over the course of the school year. We recommend using a monthly budget worksheet to start yourself out and alter as you go along (like this one from SALT!).

It’s important to remember that the first budget you set out will not be your budget forever. Changes in living situation, work situation and even family situation will always play a factor in what expenses you experience each month. If you find yourself spending more in one category than you had originally budgeted and less in another category then you can easily adjust your budget to reflect that change.

When it comes to tracking how much you spend a checking account and online banking can give you real time information on your spending and current balances. If you don’t have a checking account currently then shop around with various banks as many of them will offer student’s free checking accounts with minimal to no fees.

After you have created your budget you are already well on your way to saving money, cutting expenses and being financially responsible! If you need even more convincing on why you should budget check out this video from SALT below.

If you haven’t done so register with SALTMoney- a free tool for Wentworth student’s to learn about spending, loans, and overall financial literacy.

If you have any questions either the financial aid or SALT staff will be happy to help!

Until next time!

-Mady

Constitution Day Part Duex!

Each year on September 17th we celebrate Constitution Day which is a celebration of the signing of the US constitution in 1787. In case you missed it last year- here is some basic information on the Constitution!!

Since its inception it has been amended 27 times which roughly balances out to an amendment every 8.4 years.

The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and address two major concerns of the founding fathers; protecting individual freedom and the balance of power between the states, federal government, and the people. The Bill of Rights was added into the constitution in 1791 and cover important subjects such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The amendments that follow in the constitution range a variety of subjects; including voting rights, prohibition and the ratification of that amendment, and abolishing slavery.

This year we’ve decided to utilize the great resources from Constitution Facts to come up with our own little Constitution Day Quiz! Test your knowledge about one of the most important documents in US History! (don’t worry answer key is provided below!)

  • What was our first constitution called?
    1. Articles of Confederation
    2. Declaration of Independence
    3. Federalist Papers
    4. Emancipation Proclamation
  • Laws for the US are made by:
    1. President
    2. Senate
    3. Congress
    4. Supreme Court
  • How many Constitutions has the US had?
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
  • Until the 25th amendment was passed, what happened if a vice president died in office?
    1. The president appointed a new VP
    2. There would be a special election for a new VP
    3. There would be no VP until the next election
    4. The speaker of the house becomes the president
  • Nine states were required to ratify the Constitution- which state was the first and which state was the last to ratify?
  1. Pennsylvania, Georgia
  2. Delaware, New Hampshire,
  3. Massachusetts, Maryland
  4. Delaware, South Carolina
  1. A                      2. C                         3. B                        4. C                                5. B

Fun fact about the number of Constitution’s we’ve had: The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution and was in effect from 1781 to 1789. In 1789, the second Constitution went into effect after it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

If you are interested in taking even more quizzes on the Constitution to test your knowledge check out Constitution Facts for plenty of basic and expert level quizzes!

Until next time!

-Mady

Ways To Pay

Now that the bill has come out you are probably asking yourself: “How do I pay this?” There are many ways to cover that gap between your financial aid award and the bill. We don’t formally recommend any particular way to cover your balance since every family is different. However there are three major ways that we often see families utilizing to pay their bill.

Parent and Graduate PLUS loans– The PLUS loan is a federal loan that are available to the parents of dependent students and graduate students. These loans require an application and credit check in order to qualify. The Parent PLUS loan is a loan taken out in the parents name as opposed to the student. This means that the parent is primarily responsible for repayment of the loan. Applications for the PLUS loans are processed through www.studentloans.gov.

Private or Alternative Loans: If a PLUS loan is not the right option for you but you still would rather take a loan out than pay upfront then an alternative loan would be your next stop. Alternative loans are offered through a bank or lender and are loans taken out in the student’s name; however they will often need a co-signer to be approved. The repayment options vary depending on the loan and some loans may have other fees associated with borrowing so always ask the lender before you apply! You can compare private loans by using the Borrow Smart tool. The financial aid office does not recommend alternative loans to students or their families. A list of commonly used alternative loans can be found here.

If you want some more guidance on what private loan to borrow you can check out this great article from SALT titled “How to Shop Around for a Private Loan.”

Payment plan- Wentworth offers an interest-free monthly payment plan with Tuition Management Systems, or TMS for short. When you set up a payment plan you are dividing the costs of the academic year over several payments. There are various plans available depending on how you want to break down your payment plan. Check out this handy- dandy chart below with a breakdown of the plans, associated fees and payment dates.

TUITION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (TMS)

Payment Plan Details

Plan Type # of Payments First Payment Date

(Current Year)

Last Payment Date Enrollment Fee
Full Year 12 April 5th March 5th

(Following Year) 

$75.00
11 May 5th
10 June 5th
9 July 5th
  8² August 5th
Fall Only 5 June 5th October 5th $60.00
4 July 5th
Spring Only 5 November 5th March 5th

(Following Year)

$60.00
4 December 5th

The monthly statements are sent out by TMS and all payments are remitted directly to TMS and will appear on your WIT account once TMS receives the payment.

You can get some more information regarding TMS here!

Some families will do a combination of the above options but again it is really up to the student (and family) how they wish to cover this balance.

As always we highly recommend that students also pursue outside scholarship awards to help bridge the gap and manage their borrowing. If you are in need of a place to start check out these articles and SALT’s great scholarship search tool to get started on the application process!

Until next time!

-Mady