Investing in our Class of 2020

About ten days ago, our Student Financial Services office posted the financial aid awards for our admitted students who sent us a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Hurray! Providing funding to make it possible for many students with different stories and circumstances to attend UVM is a real benefit for our students.

Here is some important information about these awards and advice as students make their decisions:

  1. In case you haven’t checked for a financial aid award, it can be found at the application status website here. Click on the “Financial Aid Award” button. Awards are available for students that sent us a FAFSA.
  2. Financial aid awards are final unless the award is considered tentative (meaning that additional information is still needed to finalize the award). The sentence at the top of the financial aid award will indicate tentative if additional information is needed.
  3. There are typical categories of the financial aid award (provided you quality):
    1. Scholarship from UVM – any merit scholarship that was awarded is listed here
    2. Need based grants such as Pell Grant or SEOG – students with the greatest need, as defined by the FAFSA, may qualify for these grants
    3. Work study – students who quality for this award will have up to $1,600 allowed in earnings. This aid must be earned (paid in wages from a job on campus).
    4. Student loan – UVM is required to offer this loan to all students who qualify. It is up to the student if they choose to take any or all of the loan (or any amount). As a reminder, a subsidized loan has its interest paid by the U.S. Department of Education while a student is in school; for an unsubsidized loan, the student is responsible for all the interest on the loan.
    5. UVM Award – this is need-based grant from UVM (if awarded, it is in addition to any scholarship awarded). It can be renewed each year, provided the student’s financial circumstances are unchanged, and the student files a FAFSA (and is in good academic standing)
  4. We also take the approach that we provide the best financial aid award available – unless circumstances have changed or there are special situations that were not included, then we do offer students the best award. This is important fact to state since schools have different approaches.
  5. One of the most challenging things for families is comparing costs and financial aid. My recommendation is to start with the billed costs (tuition, fees, room and board – be sure you are looking at the tuition costs for 2016-2017) and subtract the financial aid (don’t include work study). I often have conversations with families who see a larger financial aid award, but aren’t taking into account the differential in cost (or they compare full cost of attendance against billed costs).

The good news is that this investment is for four years – students have a gpa requirement to meet for renewal of any scholarship; the need-based financial aid is renewed, provided a student files a FAFSA annually and financial circumstances remain the same.

What if you have questions about the award? Our staff in student financial services are happy to talk with you about questions. The SFS website also has answers to a lot of common questions that can be searched. The staff can be reached at 802-656-5700. Their office hours are listed here.

Our admitted students are choosing UVM! Comments, like the one below, represent what we are hearing from a number of our admitted students:

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We hope that YOU will say yes to UVM!

Financing a UVM education

Commentary and advice about college affordability is common place – rarely does a week pass when there isn’t some information about this topic. It is important becausean undergraduate education is an investment for a student and family. But unlike many consumer purchases, earning a college degree changes a person’s earning potential significantly over a lifetime.

My post today is less about how that investment pays dividends and more about how we work with students and families in making UVM affordable. We recognize that affordable is a relative term and means different things for families. It is true that we make a significant (and growing) investment in our financial aid toward students. In fact, more than $100 million of the university’s budget is devoted to grants and scholarships for our undergraduate students. In addition, the university has slowed the growth of tuition, room and board for students, with the increase projected for this year to be 3.4%, one of the lowest percentage increase in many years at UVM.

What happens next in the process at UVM? As of last week, merit scholarship awards should all be distributed. Notification of these awards comes by letter, with the last group was mailed March 21. (Many students have already heard about a merit award.) If you are unsure about that award, feel free to contact the Office of Admissions. Students who filed a FAFSA will begin receiving notifcaiton of their financial aid award as tomorrow, March 28. Students will receive an email indicating that their award is available and students can view it at the same place students view their application status.

Students may view their FA awards by clicking the 'Financial Aid Award' button.

Students may view their FA awards by clicking the ‘Financial Aid Award’ button.

 

Some students may be asked to submit additional information. Any outstanding requirements can also be viewed at the page listed above (click on Financial Aid Application Status button.) Finally students who submitted estimated financial information should go back and entered actual 2013 tax information in order to finalize the award.

We believe that this investment in financial aid makes UVM a great value. While students and families may choose other options, for many students, the scholarship and need-based support make it possible to choose UVM. We offer our best financial aid award in our financial aid offer which helps students and families have a  clear understanding of the cost.

We look forward to answering any questions as students receive financial aid and make decisions. We can’t wait for many of our Future Catamounts to accept our offer and say yes!

Filing a FAFSA?

Our priority deadline for submitting a FAFSA to www.fafsa.gov is this Friday, Feb. 10.

Applying for financial aid is an important step in most college search processes. Parents often say that they won’t qualify for assistance. While the statement may be true, we won’t have an opportunity to review the possibilities if we don’t receive a FAFSA. UVM does award additional need based financial aid (grants, loans) who don’t qualify for Federal Pell grants but still have need. The FAFSA is our only application for financial aid.

You may want to check out online video tutorials about how to complete a FAFSA.

Here is the text of an email sent recently to applicants:

In order to be considered for all available sources of financial aid at UVM, submit the 2012 – 2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.gov by February 10, 2012, UVM’s priority financial aid deadline. If you have already submitted your FAFSA, thank you! We will receive your record from the Federal Processor shortly, and will then send you confirmation of receipt by mail.

If the necessary 2011 Federal Income Tax Returns will not be filed before February 10, please submit the FAFSA using estimated information. Once the tax returns are filed, return to http://www.fafsa.gov to make any necessary corrections using the IRS data retrieval tool. We will consider a FAFSA with estimated data as on-time, as long as it is submitted at http://www.fafsa.gov by February 10.

For students who meet the priority financial aid deadline and submit any additional requested information promptly, financial aid awards should be available in late March. Please submit additional information only if requested by Student Financial Services.

Filing the FAFSA online is the best way to provide us with information. It allows for quick updates and it has built in edits to reduce the chance on making any errors. The priority deadline is this Friday – be sure not to miss it!

Our financial aid staff are happy to help. Their contact information and customer service hours can be found on our website.

Please let us know how we can assist in this process to help make UVM affordable!