Merit scholarships-How you can you apply for these scholarships

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merit and merit based scholarships or international students

Today we’ll be presenting on the basics of merit scholarships, so let’s get started. So what is financial aid? When students apply for admission, they’re accepted to the university and they complete a financial aid application, they could be eligible for one of several things. And the student can see these items on their financial aid offer. It will detail that they may be eligible for grants. Grants are generally need-based and require no repayment. Some students may be offered federal work-study, where the student can earn funds by working. These funds are free, there’s no repayment. The student can see the award amount on their financial aid offer, and they’ll see the max amount of what they’re able to earn. And as the student works, they earn checks which can equal up to that full amount on their financial aid offer. Students will also be offered federal student loans which consist of the subsidized and unsubsidized loans. In subsidized loans, the government pays for the interest while the student is in school. Unsubsidized loans, these loans accrue interest while the student is in school, and the new interest rates for students will be determined each year in July. Parents can also apply for the Parent Plus loan, the application for parents to apply for the federal Plus Loan opens each year around the first week of May. And it’ll also highlight merit scholarships on their financial aid offer. Scholarships consist of merit-based and also need-based merit scholarships. Now, of course, these funds are free and require no repayment. So when applying for financial aid, students are recommended to first acquire their FSA ID. FSA stands for the federal student aid and password. It used to be a four-digit PIN, but now they’ve moved to this for a more secure process of being able to complete the FAFSA. Both the student and the parent must have an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA. They can acquire this at the website studentaid.gov. The email address is recommended that the student use one where they can easily access it. Many students may use their high school email address which they may not have access to, so it’s recommended that they use an email address that they check often.

HOW CAN  YOU GET A MERIT SCHOLARSHIP?

The student and the parent make sure they want to remember their username and password. It’s not suggested that they share this information, and also they can register their cell phone numbers so in case they forget their student or their federal student ID, they can use their cell phone number to also gain access to complete the FAFSA on other websites. This information is used to submit your electronic signature, so when a student completes the FAFSA and they get where they have to electronically sign it, they can use their acquired FSA ID and password to complete that process. And of course, the FAFSA has to be applied for each year. Students who borrow loans can complete what is called a promissory note and entrance counseling, which is required for first-time borrowers. In addition to any parent that happens to apply and be approved for the Parent Plus Loan, they will need their FSA ID to complete that process. Once the FSA ID has been acquired, the students recommended completing the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for the free application for federal student aid, and the student can complete the FAFSA for the upcoming school year, 2021, at studentaid.gov. The FAFSA is free, so you shouldn’t have to pay any type of completion or submission fees to make sure this gets completed. It is free. At NC State, students can apply as early as October 1st, and our institutional grant deadline is March the 1st. Students are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. As the student is completing the FAFSA, they can enter our institutional school code which is 002972. Each school has its own code. That is the one for NC State.

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WHO GIVES MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS?

Parents and students that have filed taxes recommended using the data retrieval tool which is based on prior-year tax data. So for the 2020-2021 FAFSA, it’s required that parents and students use 2018 tax information, they go back two years. If students once the FAFSA is complete and they’ve been accepted, if they’re selected for a review process called verification, they’re recommended to submit those documents as soon as possible before we can award merit scholarship. And also please contact your financial aid counselor if you have any questions or if any unique circumstances arise if there have been any changes in your parent’s income. When a school is required to gather additional documentation to verify if the FAFSA information is accurate, that is all part of the verification process. Such items that may be requested may include tax return transcript and/or tax returns, W-2s, and the verification worksheet. In many cases, students will be notified if they’re selected for verification by receiving documentation from NC State University either by mail or notification by email. So please check both forms to make sure that you received proper notice if we require additional information. Whatever documents are asked for, they must be submitted as soon as possible. Students will not be awarded merit scholarships unless the verification process is complete. It is recommended that the student complete the data retrieval tool, and there is a way for the student to complete this when they complete the FAFSA. So if your FAFSA was already submitted, and you’re notified that you have to go through verification, you can actually log back into the FAFSA and indicate that you want to correct to use the data retrieval tool. It is secure, so no income is shown when the data retrieval tool is used. It is accurate because its information is pulled directly from the IRS. And again, if the student is selected for verification.

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WHAT QUALIFIES YOU TO BE A NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLAR?

in many cases, the merit scholarship Office will not ask for copies of tax transcripts or tax returns. Unfortunately, if the parent or student is not eligible if taxes were filed married filing separately. If you’re unable to use the data retrieval tool, some just may choose not to use it, then the student and/or parent can go online and request a tax transcript to be sent to them. Or again, you can provide a signed copy of the 2018 1040 tax returns. There are specific pages that we ask for, so if you have any questions please contact our office. This is just some information from the student aid.gov website that gives some details on how to use the data retrieval tool. Again, you can log into the FAFSA, they’ll ask some specific questions. We want to note too, it’s going to ask also for the address that was used based on the last time the parent or student filed taxes. Please be sure to use the address that’s on the most recent tax return, so in this case, for FAFSA, if they’re asking for 2018 tax information, use the address that’s on the 2018 tax returns, even if you’ve moved since then, use the address that’s on that year tax return. If not, the data retrieval tool may not work for you. With regards to the cost of attendance, this information is found on our website at NC State. You can log onto ncsu.edu. You can type in the words cost of attendance “COA” and that should take you to our updated cost for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. The cost of attendance highlights the list of expenses that a student could pay for in one year. And in that same category, you’ll see a section for North Carolina residents and out-of-state residents. The stark difference between NC residents and out-of-state residents, of course, is the tuition and fees. But again, this is an estimate of what a family could pay for in one year, that’s why we call it the estimated cost of attendance. So once the FAFSA is complete, all parent/student information and data has been entered, that family will be given what’s called an expected family contribution or EFC number.

HOW DO YOU GET THE MOST MONEY FOR MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS?

Financial aid offices will use this information to measure the family’s financial strength. It does not mean though that’s what the family would have to pay for. It’s part of a formula to determine how much financial need a student has. So once you receive your award offer from NC State, you may compare it. Many students compare their award notices or award offers from different schools. So NC State may have offered this student this much. Another school may have offered a student a different amount. It’s not because of the difference in the family contribution number, it’s really because of the difference in the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance varies from school to school, but this family contribution number stays the same, no matter what school the student can go to. Also, this number changes from year to year. So what a family’s contribution number maybe this year will be different based on tax information and other data that are entered on the subsequent year for the FAFSA. Things can occur such as a family may have two students in college. One student may graduate this year, so on next year’s FAFSA, that family contribution number may be higher because the family may have just put one student through college. So just know that this number can change, and it could impact what your student may qualify for. This is the formula that schools use to determine student’s financial needs. So again, the cost of attendance does vary institution, the family contribution number is the same regardless of school, and the financial need will vary based on the cost of attendance. So again, each year, if that student possesses financial need, that’s how they can qualify for need-based grants. Anytime a student’s family contribution number is higher than the cost of attendance, they will possess no financial need and therefore not qualify for institutional grants. Now again, going back to what we talked about with merit scholarships, it’s possible that a student could qualify for merit-based merit scholarships because they don’t have to possess financial needs to qualify. So for those students that are applying for need-based merit scholarships that they have no need, unfortunately, they will not be eligible. So what is the financial aid offer? So once the FAFSA’s complete, the office will issue an offering statement to that student, and it’ll highlight the summary of aid offered. It’ll indicate the summary of the estimated cost, so we talked about the cost of attendance. In many cases, that information will show the student’s financial aid offer. What the student and the family want to think about is what is the bottom line cost. So if I’m looking at what the estimated cost of attendance is and I’m subtracting out the financial aid I’ve been offered, what is our bottom line? And I’m not just looking at the aid offered, so there are many things to consider when you’re reviewing an offer when it comes to thinking about what school a student wants to attend. And again, you want to look at the total cost of attendance minus the aid offered. Any questions of course, please contact the financial aid office. So with a merit scholarship, students are encouraged to apply for everything they can put their hands on. They can apply locally, through the high school, or local libraries. They can go to the College Foundation of NorthCarolina or CFNC.org. They’re encouraged to apply nationally, so any merit scholarships that are offered throughout the country, and of course, through NC State. Apply for everything. So university-wide and college-specific merit scholarships are offered through Pack ASSIST. Students can only apply after they’ve been admitted to the university. It is a scholarship application portal, where students can apply for merit scholarships offered throughout the university including merit scholarships specific to the college they were admitted to. If I’m an undecided major or an undecided student or Exploratory Studies, then I’m only able to submit the general merit scholarship application, that’s what all students will be encouraged to do. If let’s say I’m part of the College of Engineering, not only would I submit the general scholarship application but I could be considered for a merit scholarship in my academic department, and I may be asked additional questions to determine eligibility for those institutional merit scholarship through my college. Now the current deadline or institutional application date for optimal consideration is February 15th. If a student is accepted after that date, they can still apply for a merit scholarship, they can still submit the general application, and they will still be considered. They just won’t be under immediate or priority review. So students can log onto go.ncsu.edu/packassistin to determine their eligibility, submit the general application, we encourage students to do it. As soon as you’ve been accepted, go online and apply. And students can apply for these merit scholarships annually, so it’s open to incoming freshmen but also, if I’m a continuing student, a sophomore, junior, or even a senior, then I can still submit the general application and be considered for a merit scholarship. 15:17-16:13 So continuing our discussion merit scholarship, students, after they’ve completed their first semester, can apply for what’s called the Caldwell Fellowship.

WHAT GPA DO YOU NEED TO GET A MERIT-BASED SCHOLARSHIP?

The student must possess a fall semester GPA of at least 3.25 to get these merit scholarships . Now students can apply for this in their first year. So for example, if I’m a student that was accepted and started in the spring semester, well then I wouldn’t be able to apply until the second term is over which would’ve been the fall of that same year. But again, I’m still in my first year, soI can still apply for this type of fellowship. Again, that semester GPA must be at least 3.25.

HOW MUCH IS A MERIT AWARD?

These merit scholarships award is of  $8,000, and that is renewable. For more information, you can visit caldwellfellows. ncsu.Peduto apply. If you have any questions, please contact us. You can call us by phone at 919-515-NCSU. You can send an email to studentservices@ncsu.eduor you can visit our website at go.ncsu.edu/financialaid

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