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The Scholarship Process for Single Parents
(Continued from 1)

Ask plenty of questions. For example, will you need to take an ACT or SAT test1? Will you need to take any preparatory courses? How many hours are considered full-time at your university? Usually 12 hours or more is full-time and six hours is part-time. This usually means that four classes make up a full-time load, since many classes are three hours per week.

Financial Aid
Next, go to the financial aid office and pick up a financial aid packet. They will have information about the different types of aid available, and can advise you what you may qualify for. There will usually be several forms to fill out where you will list all your assets and apply for financial aid. There may also be required documents to gather together. Financial aid (Free Application for Federal Aid or FAFSA) forms are available on January 1 of each year. The sooner you complete the FAFSA after January 1, the better your chances for a Pell grant.

Speak with a financial aid counselor to learn the exact procedure you need to follow. Then follow the instructions to the letter. If you are interested in Federal work-study, find out if it will lower your outstanding need. Work-study jobs are usually campus jobs that are set aside for full-time or part-time students. The hourly wage starts at the federal minimum level and increases depending on the job. Work-study students receive regular paychecks to be used for daily living expenses.

Outstanding need is the estimated amount of financial need deemed necessary for the student to take care of living expenses while attending classes, after your assets have been deducted. The amount of the grants and loans you are eligible for is based on this outstanding need.

Types of Financial Aid
- Grants: A grant is money given to you that you do not need to repay. There are Pell grants from the federal government, and your state may also have grants for college students with an outstanding need.

- Loans: Loans are monies lent to the student that you will need to repay upon graduation from college. However, these student loans are usually at a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments. Usually you have six months after graduation before you begin repayment. Be careful with loans from semester to semester, as they can add up quickly. They are painless to get and painful to
repay.

- Scholarships: Scholarships are a relatively untapped resource of financial aid that are attractive because they also do not need to be repaid. Since this is such a large untapped resource for the returning student, we will focus on the process of applying for scholarships.

Scholarship Application Process
- Compile a list of organizations: This is the first step in applying for scholarships. There are several sources in the reference section of your public and/or university library. For example The College Blue Book by the Macmillan Publishing Company is subdivided according to your subject major, ethnic group, home state, and the college you will attend. Take your time to browse through these references. There are scholarships for men and women who belonged to the Boys and Girls Clubs as well as awards for students whose parents worked for a certain company.

If you have access to the Internet, there are many websites online that offer information on scholarships. Some send periodic updates to your email on scholarships that you are qualified for. You must first complete an information page on yourself, what your major is, what are the characteristics that make you eligible for certain scholarships and ineligible for others, etc. The services filter various databases and shows only those scholarships that match your profile.

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1Usually, adults aren't required to take admissions tests (i.e., the SAT or ACT), although they do need to take graduate admission tests such as the GRE or GMAT if attending graduate school. Many colleges offer a placement test instead of admission test scores for older students, and don't consider high school performance or outdated test scores, especially with transfer students from community colleges. Keep in mind that as a transfer student, most institutions will consider past academic performance and grade point average upon application, and often require a minimum grade point average for acceptance.

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