I recently expanded the information available on our website about the College’s joint ROTC programs with the Citadel (Army) and Charleston Southern (Air Force). You can check it out at go.cofc.edu/rotc. Special thanks Michael in the President’s Office for gathering the content, the hardest part of website creation.
I recently had a student ask me how much the average graduate from the College has in student loan indebtedness. In reviewing the student loan page, I saw that our stated figure came from the Common Data Set. For those that aren’t data nerds like I, the CDS is a group of facts and figures reported to various government agencies. I like reviewing it to dispel bad facts, for example the female to male ratio at the College is 1.7 to 1, not 100 to 1 or whatever random number you’ve heard.
After telling the student about our page, I realised that the 2012-2013 CDS is in the process of being released. I checked the Financial Aid section and it included the most recent average loan indebtedness figures for students graduating from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. I was surprised by two figures: H4: 47.8% of graduates had borrowed a student loan and H5a: $30,266 was the average amount of federal loan that those students had borrowed. Here’s what’s surprising to me.
47.8% of graduates had loan. The amazing part of this, to me, is the inverse: 52.2% of students graduate without student loan debt! Slightly over half of the students that crossed the Cistern last year did so without a pending loan payment. How do these students do this?
$30,266 average federal student loans borrowed. Of the remaining half of students, the average amount borrowed will require 10 years of $348 monthly payments. So how will this affect students in the first decade of their “adult life”? Will they take jobs because of the money instead of the career trajectory, will they delay buying a house, or getting married?
Hopefully in a future post I can list some ideas that we toss around our office for ways a student can keep student loan indebtedness down, hopefully down to zero. In the meantime, students or recent alumi please post what you did to borrow less or nothing.
Yesterday afternoon we made awards of federal and need-based aid to over 4,000 freshmen entering. This is quite possibly the earliest we’ve ever made the awards and I’m really excited that we got them out before Accepted Students Weekend.To be considered, a student must be admitted to the College as a first-time freshmen for next fall semester, have completed the FAFSA, and completed any missing documents except those associated with verification. Students that were awarded should have received an email prompting them to check MyCharleston. Students who complete a FAFSA at this point will only be considered for the funds which we have an “unlimited” supply of, e.g. Pell Grants and federal student loans.
So at this point, all the aid we’re going to award to entering freshmen has been awarded. The only additional funds would come from things the student has applied for such as departmental, specialty or outside scholarships or private student loans.
We received the first list of next year’s freshmen Palmetto Fellows from CHE last Friday and quickly set about awarding the scholarships. With a bit of clean-up, they were all awarded by this morning. Students that are applying with CHE for the June deadline will get awarded when we get that list, probably in August. Our Assistant Director for Scholarships also awarded the Palmetto Promise scholarships this weekend to South Carolina valedictorians, salutatorians and Palmetto Fellows who were not previously awarded an institutional scholarship.
Since we wrapped up awarding Avery scholarships last week and re-ran the LIFE and HOPE awarding programs this morning, that means that all state and institutional scholarships have been awarded for next fall’s entering freshmen. (We have not started awarding federal or need-based aid, but should soon. Returning student scholarship will begin awarding after spring grades post.)
Last, I want to take a brief moment to remind everyone, in particular entering freshmen and their parents, that our office relies almost entirely on email notification, and those mostly to the student’s College email address.
The application for summer financial aid is available at finaid.cofc.edu/pdf-forms/SSAP.pdf. This application is for Maymester through Summer II. The priority deadline is April 15; if you do it after that your aid probably won’t be ready for when the bill is due and you’ll risk getting dropped for non-payment.
To receive aid (except unused Pell Grant), you must be enrolled half-time, 6 hours for undergrads and 3 hours for grads. The summer application has a place to enter the number of credits you’re taking in which term. Please only submit the application after you’ve signed up for the courses. We will not process it until your registration matches, and so turning it in early slows down the process. Also, if you change from one term to another (like switching from Summer I to Summer II), you must contact our office: I recommend emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have awarded LIFE and HOPE Scholarships for entering freshmen in MyCharleston. When the Commission on Higher Education notifies the College of Palmetto Fellows in April, we’ll award those scholarships, but until then the computer automatically awards a LIFE Scholarship. Palmetto Promise will be calculated at that time too.
Entering freshmen can take the SAT and/or ACT tests through the June test dates to raise their score for a state scholarship. So if a student has a HOPE Scholarship and increases his/her score to 1100 SAT or 24 ACT, the HOPE will be replaced with the LIFE Scholarship. Since the Palmetto Fellows involves applying through the high school, I would recommend that students with close scores talk to their guidance counselor about the feasibility of increasing the scores high enough to become eligible.
Last week we sent out emails notifying entering freshmen that were awarded Presidential Scholarships. All students that applied for admission by Dec. 1 were considered. This year’s group was filled with more talented students than ever before; the average for a scholarship recipient is SAT score of 1325 (ACT: 30) and weighted GPA of 4.438. So for everyone that was awarded a scholarship, congratulations.
Unfortunately our budget doesn’t allow for us to award all the students we wish we could, not by a long shot. Also, due to the preparation the scholarship committee takes in making the awards, the awards are not negotiable. Of course, we always recommend that student diligently research and apply for outside scholarship.
Federal aid will be available the beginning of April for students that have completed the FAFSA.
NASFAA has published the Parent and Student Guide to Federal Tax Benefits for Tuition and Fees with general guidance to federal education-related benefits.
Click here for details