The All-In-One Helpful College Guide to Financial Aid

Apr. 20, 2021 by Adriana Thompson

people sitting on a sofaDid you know that 100% of students at Concordia University Texas receive financial aid? We understand that the financial aid process — especially for new students — can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating.

That's why we've compiled this comprehensive college guide to help you and your family better understand the different forms of financial aid.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA is the form you use to apply for financial aid in college at the undergraduate and graduate levels. To qualify for federal aid, you must fill out the FAFSA every year.

Universities use this information to create the financial aid package they offer students who are admitted to their institutions.

One number calculated through the FAFSA is called the "expected family contribution" (EFC). Investopedia defines EFC as "the amount of money that a student's family is expected to contribute to college costs for one year." Your financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, fees, and room and board) and your EFC.

The FAFSA informs both types of financial aid: gift aid and self-help aid.

Gift Aid vs. Self-Help Aid

"Gift aid" refers to money offered to students that does not have to be repaid. This includes grants, scholarships and awards.

"Self-help aid" refers to money offered to students that does have to be repaid. This includes federal loans, the federal work-study program and private loans.

Federal Aid

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers three primary types of federal aid:

  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Work-Study Program

Grants

Federal grants are considered gift aid, which means that they do not have to be repaid.

Examples of federal grants include the following:

  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

Please note that if you fail to meet any requirements of the grant, the U.S. ED will convert the grant into a direct unsubsidized loan and calculate the loan's interest based on when you received the grant.

Loans

The U.S. ED also supplies loans, which are self-help aid and must be repaid with interest.

Functioning as a lender, the U.S. ED offers four types of loans:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans

Offered to undergraduate students, this is a need-based loan.

Interest does not accrue while a student is enrolled at least part time in college. However, interest begins accruing during a six-month grace period after the student earns his or her degree and continues accruing throughout repayment of the loan.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Provided to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, this is not a need-based loan.

Interest accrues while a student is enrolled, during the six-month grace period and during repayment of the loan.

  • Direct PLUS Loan

Parents of dependent undergraduate students, graduate students and professional students are eligible for the PLUS loan. This loan requires a minimum credit score.

A dependent undergraduate student's parent may apply for the parent PLUS loan to borrow enough money to compensate for the cost-of-attendance expenses not covered by the student's other financial aid awards.

The grad PLUS loan functions the same way for graduate and professional students. The only difference is that the graduate or professional student applies for the loan.

  • Direct Consolidation Loans

This program enables students to combine all federal student loans for which they are eligible into one loan that is provided by a single loan servicer owned by the U.S. ED.

Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study program offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to earn money through part-time jobs to help pay for their degrees.

Open to part-time or full-time students, the Work-Study program is a need-based option that is considered self-help aid. The program provides part-time employment to students while they are enrolled in school.

Many schools across the country receive federal funds to offer the work-study program, including Concordia University Texas. Participating schools usually allow students to choose from on-campus and off-campus jobs.

Unlike other types of federal aid, work-study funds are not paid upfront. The student earns money as he or she works, being paid by the university at least once a month. The University pays the student directly unless the student requests that the funds be sent directly to his or her bank account or applied directly to the cost of attendance.

Work-study funds are limited, so students can earn only as much as they are awarded.

Non-Federal Aid

Students also have access to financial aid from universities, private foundations and other resources that are not connected with the federal government:

  • Awards & Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Alternative (Private) Loans

Awards & Grants

Financial awards and grants distributed by universities, foundations, state and local governments, and other non-federal entities are considered gift aid and do not have to be repaid.

Awards and grants are distributed to students based on specific qualifications established by the provider. This type of gift aid generally also has requirements to renew the award or grant.

Scholarships

Scholarships are another form of gift aid. What makes scholarships unique is that they are based on merit in academics, athletic talent or another skill.

In addition to universities, external entities (e.g., organizations, foundations, etc.) award scholarships to students. You can find scholarships for an array of skills, such as creating the best greeting card, sharing the funniest story or conducting research for the potato industry.

Alternative (Private) Loans

Private loans are considered self-help aid and must be repaid. Unlike federal loans, private loans are distributed by private lending institutions (e.g., banks, credit unions, etc.).

It is highly recommended that private loans should be used only when you have exhausted all other options for financing your education. Each private loan institution sets its own eligibility criteria, interest rates (typically higher than the U.S. ED), fees and repayment conditions.

Additionally, a student often needs a credit-worthy cosigner, which is typically a parent. If you default on the loan, you will damage both of your credit scores.

Eligibility & Renewal Requirements

All forms of financial aid have individual qualifications that students must meet to receive financial aid, in addition to conditions for renewing financial aid.

While each type of federal financial aid has unique requirements, all forms of federal financial aid require students to meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate financial need
  • U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • Social Security number
  • If the student is a male between the ages of 18 and 25, registered with the Selective Service 
  • Enrolled or accepted as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Sign certification statement on the FAFSA form
  • Show qualification to attend a higher education institution

Likewise, each non-federal scholarship, grant and award have distinct criteria.

Financial Aid Package

A financial aid package is the total amount of federal and non-federal aid that a college or university offers you upon admission.

When deciding which college or university to attend, it's important to consider the financial aid package each institution offers you.

Please note that you do not have to accept every form of financial aid offered to you. For example, you can accept scholarships you're offered while declining a federal loan.

Concordia University Texas Financial Aid

Concordia University Texas offers undergraduate and graduate students financial aid.

Undergraduate Students

CTX undergraduate students are eligible for the following types of financial aid:

Award Type

Need Based?

Types of Students Eligible

Federal Aid    
    Grants    

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

No

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • On-campus Adult Degree Program (ADP) students
Pell Grant

Yes

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students
  • On-campus and online ADP students
TEACH Grant

No

Traditional undergraduate students

    Loans    

Direct Subsidized Loan

Yes

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • ABSN students
  • On-campus and online ADP students

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

No

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • ABSN students
  • On-campus and online ADP students
Parent PLUS Loan No Dependent student
    Work-Study Program    
Federal Work-Study Program

Yes

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • ABSN students
  • On-campus and online ADP students
    State Aid    

Texas Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG)

Yes

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • On-campus ADP students
Non-Federal Aid    
    Awards & Grants    
Church Work Grant No Traditional undergraduate students
Concordia Commitment Grant No Traditional undergraduate students
Concordia Grant Yes Traditional undergraduate students

Concordia Partnership Grant

No

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • ABSN students
  • On-campus and online ADP students
Dean's Grant    No Returning traditional undergraduate students
Honors Award No Traditional undergraduate students
ISD Community Scholarships No Traditional undergraduate students
LCMS Award    No Traditional undergraduate students
Loyalty Award No Traditional undergraduate students
    Scholarships    
  • Achievement Scholarship
  • Distinction Award
  • Distinguished Transfer Scholarship
  • Excellence Scholarship
  • International Scholarship
  • Kilian Award
  • Luther Scholarship
  • Lutheran Servant Leadership
  • President's Scholarship
  • Prestige Scholarship
  • Walther Scholarship

No

Traditional undergraduate students

    Alternative (Private) Loans

Yes

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • ABSN students
  • On-campus and online ADP students

 

Graduate Students

CTX graduate students are eligible for the following types of financial aid:

 

Award Type

Need Based?

Types of Students Eligible

Federal Aid    
    Grants    
TEACH Grant No MEd (Advanced Literacy or Culturally Responsive Special Education concentration)
    Loans    

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

No

  • EdD students
  • MBA students
  • MEd students
  • MPH students
Non-Federal Aid    
    Awards & Grants    
Concordia Partnership Grant

No

  • EdD students
  • MBA students
  • MEd students
  • MPH students
Lutheran Educator Grant

No

  • EdD students
  • MEd students
      Alternative (Private) Loans

Yes

  • EdD students
  • MBA students
  • MEd students
  • MPH students

 

How to Apply for Financial Aid

Visit studentaid.gov, create an account and complete the FAFSA. You can complete it in just 30 minutes. Concordia's school code is 003557.

The Office of Federal Student Aid shares what to expect. Keep in mind that you must fill out and submit the FAFSA annually to qualify for federal aid.

Want help with the form? The Concordia University Texas Admissions team is ready to guide you and your family through the process.

 

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