When planning for college, students with disabilities have a lot to think about. For instance, a campus that doesn’t require much walking on a student’s prosthetic leg can be a huge deal. Another student might be interested in the same campus due to the adaptive technology labs available.
A research study conducted by the National Center for Education found out that an average of 11 percent of undergraduates reported having a form of disability. Apart from the common concerns, students with disabilities have several other factors to consider when planning for college.
With the rising tuition and boarding costs on campus, it is important for students with disabilities to consider applying for financial aid. There are four main types of financial aid namely loans, work-study, grants, and scholarships. Let’s discuss more them.
Loans for students with disabilities
While doing your research on loans, you’ll discover that most educational loans are funded by the federal government while the rest are private. A student loan is borrowed money from a lending institution or government for academic purposes. These type of loans tend to have a repayment plan and an interest rate.
Federal loans usually have lower interest rates compared to private loans. Undergraduate federal loans range from $3500 to $10500. Graduate federal loans go as high as $20500 per year. Most private loan provider experts recommend exhausting all the federal loan options before applying for private student loans.
You need to fill out the Free Application for Student Aid for you to be considered for any federal loan. This form is usually used to decide eligibility and it includes questions related to dependency, parents, financial status, and citizenship. This information will determine whether you qualify to receive the funds or not.
Scholarships are just like grants in that the student doesn’t have to pay it back. Scholarships are usually based on criteria, need, and merit. There are some scholarships that are disability specific. This means that the student has to meet a disability criterion to be eligible. Most of the disability-specific scholarships are usually found through advocacy organizations, for instance, the National Federation of the Blind.
Thinking broadly and reading essays written by EduBirdie writers will help students access more opportunities. Consider talking to your college financial aid office to get more ideas on this subject.
Grants for students with disabilities
Grants are attractive to most students because they don’t have to be paid back. Unlike loans, grants have more criteria associated with remitting the funds. Grants can come from different sources such as state governments, the federal government, and post-secondary institutions.
The Federal Pell Grant is among the most utilized grant programs. Student eligibility on the Pell Program is based on the FASFA form and many other factors. Among these factors is the enrollment status which is either part-time or full-time. Pell Grant uses a scheduled award to allocate funds. A scheduled award is the amount of money a student receives based on his or her expected family contribution and attendance.
Work-study for students with disabilities
Work-study, as its name suggests is payment in exchange for completing a task or job. Most work-study programs are usually funded by the federal government and administered by learning institutions. The National Center of Education found out that students receive an average of $2400 in wages per annum through work-study jobs.
The amount to be received by a student goes hand in hand with a student’s award or the highest amount they earn during that year’s program, based on FASFA information. Hourly wages usually start at the federal minimum wage and can go high depending on the job being performed.
Financial aid enables students and their parents or guardians to pay for college. Financial assistance covers academic expenses such as tuition, books and supplies, accommodation, and transport. As we’ve seen, there are four types of financial aid namely loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study.
Students with disabilities have a lot to think about when planning for college. Visiting different learning institutions before applying for financial aid will save you a lot of time and energy. While applying, it’s important to think broadly to avoid missing out on great opportunities. Seeking help or asking for advice from the experts will help you get more amazing ideas.
Michael Davies is a talented editor, and content writer. He loves helping young students with disabilities achieve their academic and health goals. During his leisure time, he reads books or walks his dog.