With tuition on the rise, it is often difficult for students to conquer the task of paying for college. Fortunately, scholarships offer relief in the midst of increasing college costs. At UH-Clear Lake, students can apply for general scholarships as well as scholarships awarded according to the school that houses that student's major. One of the prerequisites for applying for a scholarship is to complete the Free Applications for Federal Student Aid form. It is important to fill out tax information early as figures from tax filings will be needed to complete the FAFSA. Information from the FAFSAyields the Estimated Family Contribution. The EFC is the amount of money the federal government believes a student can put towards his or her education. "Students file the FAFSAand the federal government comes up with the EFC," said Linda McKendree, director of financial aid and veterans affairs. "The lower the EFC, the more financial need a student is showing." For need-based scholarships, scholarship committees look at students with a low EFC to make sure they are awarding the money to students with the most need. Approximately 50 percent of the scholarships UH-Clear Lake awards are based on financial need. "Some people just don't have the resources and without scholarship money it would be more difficult," said Leslie Wells, scholarship coordinator. "Maybe a scholarship makes it easier for student and their families so they don't have to borrow so much money, because the scholarship is money you don't pay back. It's a gift." Receiving scholarships is a competitive process; a little less than 50 percent of students who apply receive scholarships. variables into consideration when awarding scholarship money. Grade point average is always a consideration. Financial need, major, area of study and leadership involvement are among the other criteria considered. For example, one scholarship requires that applicable students must reside in one of about a dozen zip codes. This year 232 UH-Clear Lake students received scholarships. Candace Lehew, a communication undergraduate student was one of them. "Receiving scholarships has meant the world to me," Lehew said. "I am a single mom with two young sons. I work full-time and go to school part time. Without scholarships I would be unable to continue my education." Each February scholarship workshops are held to give students specific instructions on applying for UH-Clear Lake scholarships and to answer their questions. Scholarship materials will be available Feb. 1, 2005 on the university Web site. The application deadline is Feb. 28. The money awarded will be disbursed for fall 2005, and spring and summer 2006. This year $313,753 has been awarded to current students. Student loans are available for students who do not qualify for scholarships or need additional assistance. The UH-Clear Lake default rate for student loans is very low. The university was recently recognized by the Council for the Management of Educational Finance for exemplary student loan management.
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