Let’s talk money. College may come with a high price tag, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A lot of people get uncomfortable talking about money especially when discussing how they are going to pay for college. Financial aid is an option to help! Without it, some students may struggle with paying for college or even drop out.

 

Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21

 

Most students aren’t fully aware of how financial aid works. The more we talk about it, the more we understand financial aid.

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is any money that is provided to students to help them pay for college. Typically, you hear the following terms thrown around a lot: grants, loans and work-study jobs.

  • Grants: Often are needs-based, also known as “gift-aid” because you don’t need to pay it back. Federal grants are awarded to students with financial need.
  • Loans: A loan is money you borrow and must pay back.
  • Work-study jobs: A federal work study is the program that subsidizes the paychecks of college students who qualify for on-campus jobs. Participants can use the funds earned through work-study to pay for college experiences.

Receiving financial aid is not uncommon. In fact, 94% of students get financial aid in their first year of college.

To receive financial aid at Winona State, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the only application required for all federal and state financial aid programs.

Student Loans Statistics

Maybe you’ve heard stories of people who are thousands of dollars in debt and that student loans will haunt them forever. That may have scared you off from applying for loans, but I’m here to highlight some of the Winona State stats that didn’t make national headlines.

63% of students at Winona State take out about $24,000 in federal student loan debt to cover educational costs.

75% of students are already paying off their debts.

Winona State students who took out loans have an average salary of $42,700.

92% of graduates are working in their field with a job related to their degree.

Still aren’t sure about the cost of college? Use the Net Calculator to calculate the estimated price of attending Winona State.

Important FAFSA Information to Know

  • The FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible after October 1 for priority consideration. If you submit the FAFSA after May 15, you’re considered a late filer.
  • Every year you are wishing to receive financial aid, you have to re-file for the FAFSA.
  • The school code for Winona State is 002394.
  • You will receive a notification of your financial aid award. You can access it through Winona State’s e-services > financial aid > awards

 

Other Opportunities!

In addition to federal aid, there are other options to subsidize educational costs. Start having conversations early about how you plan on paying for college! Here are two additional ways to pay for college.

  1. Out-of-State Reciprocity

If you are a WI or SD resident, make sure you apply for reciprocity through your state. This will subsidize costs for being out of state.

Also, Winona State offers scholarships for students who are residents of Illinois, Iowa or any other non-reciprocity state. The Renewable Resident Tuition Scholarship is for students in the top 15% of their graduating class or an ACT of 25 or higher.

  1. Scholarships

All Winona State students are automatically considered for academic achievement scholarships.

The Winona State University Foundation has $1.4 million dollars in scholarships available by application to students.

Outside organizations have opportunities for scholarships as well! You just have to search for them. Take the time to make sure the scholarships are reliable. Be wary of scholarship scams that charge fees, ask for credit card numbers or checking account information and “guarantee” scholarships.

It is possible to pay for college! It may not always be easy to navigate the world of financial aid, but here at Winona State, we make it understandable and our Financial Aid counselors are available to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Start applying for financial aid and scholarships today!

– Violet DeStefano ’20

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