PUC Finances Made Easy

Figuring out college finances is complicated. What loans or grants should you apply for? What scholarships do you qualify for? Luckily, PUC comes with a Student Finance department full of staff whose sole job is to help you out! If you haven’t talked with your personal Financial Counselor yet, go to http://www.puc.edu/admissions/finance to find out who you should talk with – Counselors are assigned based on last name. You can always call 800.862.7080 option 1 if you prefer as well.

College is an investment and you want to make sure you’re making a smart one, so spend a few minutes watching this short video to learn the basics of college financial aid and then give our Student Finance office a call with any questions you might have.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

Understanding Your PUC Financial Aid Estimate

Wondering how much college will cost is probably the biggest concern many high school seniors (and their parents!) have right now, with the fall quickly approaching. Our Student Finance office is currently in the process of sending out financial aid estimates to students already accepted to PUC to help them determine how much they can expect to pay next year. If you haven’t received your estimate yet, or if you haven’t finished your application to PUC, this post will help you understand what you need to submit to ensure you get an accurate financial aid estimate. We’ll also break down a sample estimate to help make the process clearer to those of you who have received one but may be confused over how to read it.

Sample Financial Estimate

1. Merit-based Aid You Qualify For
Any PUC scholarships you are eligible for or have applied for and received will be listed here. For this estimate, they are receiving $5,000 for our Academic Achievement Scholarship, meaning they have a GPA between 3.25-3.49.

2. Need-Based (FAFSA) Aid You May Qualify For
Listed here will be potential aid based upon the information you provided on your FAFSA; including any grants or loans you’re eligible for, such as Cal Grant. PUC also offers grants and loans to students on a case-by-case basis. When you receive your official award package, you can choose what aid you accept, so don’t be worried if there are more loans listed on your estimate than what you want to take out.

3. Other Aid You Could Receive
If you may potentially qualify for any other aid, it will be listed here, such as additional federal loans. You may also want to consider looking into scholarships such as the Union Education Endowment and 3-Way Scholarship which are offered through your local conference or church. For more information, contact your local conference office.

4. First Year Totals vs. Four Year Totals
This is definitely a little confusing! For our sample estimate, this student is estimated to receive about $31,811.00 in aid their first year, which leaves the remaining balance at $4,948.00. The four year total, however, is estimated at $37,016.00, as it is only aid given by PUC, which is the Academic Achievement Scholarship and the PUC grant times four. All merit-based aid is renewable for four years, and most need-based aid is likely to renew at similar levels each year.

5. Payment Options
You have a few different options for how you would like to make your payments for your school bill. You can choose the nine month option, which has you pay only during the school year, or you can pay every month throughout the year, including the summer months.

You can also choose to work to help lower your monthly payments, and on average a student earns about $2,000 towards their bill by working around 20 hours per week. Learn more about working on-campus by reading our “Working On-Campus Has Its Perks” post.

6. Completing Your Award
Obviously, our Student Finance office needs certain information from you in order to calculate how much financial aid (including grants, loans, and scholarships) you’re eligible for. If we’re missing any required documents for you, it will be noted here.

Things you must submit:

Things you may need to submit:

  • IRS Tax Return Transcript
  • Parent’s 2014 W-2s
  • Parent Income Worksheet

Learn more at http://www.puc.edu/completeyouraward.

There are several other things you can do to help lower your school bill. Contact your local church and conference office to see whether they have any scholarship opportunities for college-bound students.

I also recommend taking a look at a list of scholarship websites we’ve compiled on our website, which you can find at http://www.puc.edu/financeresources (click the “Helpful Resources” tab on the left). There’s plenty of money out there to help cover the cost of college, you just have to look for it!

After You Get an Estimate
Don’t hesitate to contact our Student Finance office after you receive your estimate if you have questions about what you’re eligible for or what documents you need to submit. They can be reached at studentfinance@puc.edu or 800.862.7080 option 1.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

Don’t Miss Out on Cal Grant!

If you’re a high school senior, by now you’ve realized a big part of your senior year is actually getting ready for next year, your first year of college. Even if you’ve already decided what school to attend and have been accepted, there’s still a lengthy to do list you need to complete.

One of the most important things you can do to get ready for college is fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This information is used by colleges to help them determine how much college-sponsored, state, and federal aid a student is eligible for, including grants and loans. Read our “Filling Out the FAFSA” blog post if you need tips on how to fill yours out.

For students who live in California, it’s critical to complete the FAFSA before the deadline for Cal Grant, which is March 2nd this year. Cal Grant is a significant award potentially worth $8,000+ and is money you don’t have to pay back. It can be used at most schools in California, including community colleges, California State University, University of California, and qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools. Eligibility for Cal Grant is based on whether a student recently graduated high school, their verified GPA, their FAFSA, and the type of California colleges listed on their FAFSA.

Applying for Cal Grant takes just two simple steps!

  1. Submit your FAFSA. To ensure your FAFSA information is sent to the California Student Aid Commission to be considered for Cal Grant, the first three colleges you choose to receive your FAFSA information must be four-year colleges located in California – like PUC!
  1. Submit a GPA verification form. Your school may automatically submit your GPA for you, or you might need to submit it using the verification form. This form needs to be certified by your school and submitted to the California Student Aid Commission before the March 2nd deadline.

Need help?

It can be stressful to keep track of everything you need to get done to be ready for college, and adding in finances can make things extra confusing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and our Student Finance office has five Financial Counselors who can answer any questions you have about Cal Grant. They can be reached at studentfinance@puc.edu or 800.862.7080 option 1.

You may also find reading through these Cal Grant FAQs helpful: http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=904

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

Things to Know About PUC’s Maxwell and Mostert Scholarships

We like throwing scholarships at our students. It’s just a thing we do. Occasionally we find ourselves doing crazy things, like awarding over $38 million dollars in financial aid every year. We’re so stoked about scholarships that every student who comes to school at PUC is eligible for some kind of financial aid. Some of the more popular ones are for academic achievement, athletics, or the arts.

I’m here to shine some light on two of the more exclusive award options for you. These are the rarer ones you’ll need to apply for. The first is our heavy-hitting Maxwell Scholarship, which awards $15,000 a year to five incoming freshmen each school year. My calculator tells me that adds up to $60,000 by the time you finish a four year degree. The fact I even joked about using a calculator should tell you I was not Maxwell Scholarship material…

To be eligible for this particular chunk of change you have to be accepted to PUC, eligible for the President’s and Dean’s Scholarships, and be an incoming freshman. You should also be able to show, “outstanding academic achievement, exceptional leadership experience, and a commitment to Christian service.” Things that improve your chances would be a high GPA, involvement in extracurricular activities and student leadership, as well as being active in your community. You don’t lose anything by applying, and five semi-finalists are also selected each year to receive $12,000 in renewable aid. So be sure to apply before March 2nd if you want to take a crack at it. (Please note, the Maxwell Scholarship cannot be combined with the President’s or Dean’s Scholarships.)

Another scholarship to keep an eye on is our Mostert Christian Leaders Scholarship. This is where all those years of volunteering for Vacation Bible School pays off! If you’ve demonstrated exceptional leadership in your church, school, or community, you could find yourself with a $2,000 renewable scholarship. This can be combined with other academic achievement scholarships you may be eligible for. Once again, you’ll want to submit your application before March 2nd to be eligible for this one.

In fact, March 2nd happens to be the deadline for all of our scholarship applications. So if your scholarship requires you to fill out an application, that’s when you’ll need to have everything turned in by. I’ll wait while you go make a note of that in your calendar.

The Maxwell and the Mostert Scholarships are just two of the many options available to students at PUC for financial aid, and now you should know what you need to get online and apply! Speaking of which, our scholarship applications can be found at https://www.puc.edu/admissions/finance. Swing by, apply, and impress your friends and family when you start to rake in all that sweet scholarship cash.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

Filling Out the FAFSA

Most of you, I imagine, are just about spent when it comes to filling out applications. Whether it’s a college application, scholarship application, or possibly a job application, the last thing you want to do is have an entirely different one to fill out. But the reason you should fill out this application? The potential for free money. Filling out the FAFSA gives you access to grants, loans, and work study funds that are provided by the federal government. Many states and schools also use FAFSA for their individual financial aid programs. There are different deadlines for each school to receive your FAFSA, so it’s good to have it filled out as soon as possible. Some of the funds are done on a first-come-first-serve basis, so it’s important to fill this early so you may be eligible for Cal Grant and Pell Grant.

Think of the FAFSA as one of those free giveaways you see in the mall. You answer a few brief questions about yourself and then you’re entered into a raffle for whatever the prize may be; the difference being, EVERYONE who enters in this “raffle”, wins.

Let me preface this step-by-step process by saying if, at any time, you are asked to pay for submitting your FAFSA, you are not at the right place. FAFSA stands for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid and can be found at fafsa.gov.

Before you start, here are the items you will need:

  1. Your Parents. Unless you plan to file as independent, you’ll need your parents with you for certain information.
  2. Your Federal Student Aid PIN. This will act as your electronic signature. You can then use this each of the following years you fill out the FAFSA. Your parents may also need to create a PIN. Go to http://pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp to get started.
  3. Your Social Security Number, your Permanent Resident Card (if you have one), your W-2 or any records used to show money earned for the previous year, and finally your tax records. If you haven’t filed your taxes for this year, you can give estimates of your tax information but you’ll need to update your FAFSA once you do file. (This may be where your parents come in handy.)

Now you’re ready to fill out the FAFSA:

  1. The first set of questions is fairly basic in asking for personal information. Name, address, date of birth, favorite color (not really though).
  2. The second section of questions is financially based. You’ll need to use your tax return from the previous year. For example, this year (if you’re applying for 2015-2016 school term) you’ll need 2014 tax information. If you haven’t filed those, then you can make an estimate based on the previous year unless your financial information has dramatically changed.
  3. You can list up to 10 schools that you wish to have your FAFSA sent to. You can send the FAFSA to these schools even if you haven’t applied or been accepted to them. If you are considering more than 10 schools, you can add more after submitting the original application. If you want to have your FAFSA sent to PUC, include our school code, which is 001258.
  4. Lastly, use your Financial Student Aid PIN to sign your form. Your parents may also need to enter their PIN.

If you need additional information about what you are filling out, there will be helpful icons to the right of the application as you go through. Also, there is a new chat feature which allows you to speak with a knowledgeable agent if you need assistance. You can also contact our Student Finance office and talk with one of our Financial Counselors if you have questions about the FAFSA or other financial related questions. They can be reached at studentfinance@puc.edu or at 800.862.7080 option 1.

Below is a helpful video that goes into a little more detail about how to fill out your FAFSA.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

PUC & LSU Are Coming to You!

Throughout January, PUC and La Sierra University will be hosting financial workshops across the state (as well as in Arizona and Hawaii) to help you learn how you can afford an Adventist college education. We’ll cover the FAFSA, Cal Grant, scholarships available at both schools, and where else you can look for scholarships to help pay for college. This is a great opportunity to learn about your financial options. Don’t miss out!

Visit http://www.puc.edu/admissions/finance for more information about the workshops and addresses for each location.

Workshop Dates

La Sierra University will be hosting the workshops in Southern California and Arizona. More information regarding those workshops can be found at http://www.lasierrapucworkshops.com/.

If a workshop isn’t being held in your area or you aren’t able to make it to one, consider scheduling a visit to PUC to sit down and talk with one of our Financial Counselors. They can go over your financial options with you and put together an estimate where you can see how much per month it would cost for you to attend PUC. Learn more about visiting PUC at http://www.puc.edu/admissions/visit.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

Five Tips for Finding College Scholarships

It can be really scary thinking about how you’re going to pay for college. The overall price may seem intimidating, but keep in mind that nobody pays that sticker price. Scholarships can substantially lower the price families pay for a college education. PUC offers many scholarships that can help, but the reality is we can’t always offer as much financial aid as some students might need. Don’t worry, though! It’s estimated that there are 1.5 million scholarships in the United States alone, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start your scholarship search.

1. Think Locally

Take a look around your community for scholarship opportunities – you might be surprised at what you find in your area. Your local Rotary Club and Kiwanis International Club may offer college scholarships, as could your chamber of commerce. Other businesses and community groups could provide college scholarships as well. Your high school guidance counselor may also have ideas of where you can look nearby for scholarships. One big advantage of applying for local scholarships is that there’s far less competition for them than there are for state or national scholarships – you have a greater chance at receiving them! Remember to check with your church too.

2. Get Online

I talk with a lot of students who worry they won’t receive any scholarships since they don’t have a 4.0 GPA, but keep in mind scholarships aren’t just for students with a great GPA. There are non-academic scholarships available based on your major field of interest, hobbies, and more. There are many places you can look online for college scholarships, but I recommend starting with these sites:

  • Fastweb: Fastweb is considered to be the premier scholarship website with over 1 million scholarships worth over $3 billion.
  • GoodCall: Another great resource, SchoolSoup can match you to scholarships you may be eligible for. The site has over 250,000 scholarships.
  • Unigo: This website lists over 3.6 million scholarships worth over $14 million.

Also, take a look at our extensive list of outside scholarships available on our Admissions website. Click the “Helpful Resources” tab on the left-hand side.

3. Write One Good Essay

Obviously, you’re going to need to write more than just one essay when applying for scholarships, but you will likely be able to use certain parts of an essay more than once. Have the basics – your career goals, personal statement, and academic career thus far – perfected, as you will likely use that information repeatedly. These essays could determine whether or not you’re awarded a great deal of money, so it’s worth spending time on them to make sure you present yourself well.

4. Put the Time In

The internet can be both a blessing and a curse. There’s a wealth of information available right at your fingertips, but there are also countless distractions that can quickly take you down the rabbit hole. Before you know it, you’ve spent two hours taking BuzzFeed quizzes and not doing what you intended to do. Treat applying for college scholarships as though it was your job – try spending an hour each day or at least several hours a week searching and applying for scholarships. That time could be the difference in receiving thousands of dollars in scholarships.

When I first began working for Enrollment, our Student Finance office told us the story of a student whose entire first year of college was paid with scholarships. She dedicated herself to applying for 1,000 scholarships, which is just amazing. That may be an unrealistic goal for many of you, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and set your sights high.

5. Don’t Get Scammed

Unfortunately, there are people out there that try to take advantage of students looking for ways to afford college. Always be careful about the information you give out, and there’s no reason you should ever pay for access to a database of scholarships or to apply for a scholarship. Only apply for scholarships from organizations and websites you trust, and a good rule to follow is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. (If you believe you’ve been a victim of scholarship fraud, immediately contact the California Attorney General’s office at 800-952-5225.)

At PUC, we have several financial counselors ready to help if you have questions about scholarships and how to make college affordable for your family. Call (800) 862-7080, option 1 or email studentfinance@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor today.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.