For most students and families, attending a private college or university represents a substantial investment. Make sure your money is well spent by attending a college that meets your needs. Visiting a campus and talking with persons from the admissions office, seeing other students, and making an appointment with the financial aid office will help you make an informed decision.
Take the SAT or ACT Tests.
Test scores and Grade Point Averages (GPA) are the most common criteria for determining eligibility for academic and other merit-based scholarships.
Visit Your High School Guidance Office.
If you are currently enrolled in high school or have just recently graduated, your high school guidance office will have information about local groups and organizations that provide scholarships and other financial assistance.
Use the Internet.
The financial information page is a great place to start checking out other scholarship opportunities, as well as a host of other useful information sources.
Talk to your church.
Many congregations provide financial support for students attending colleges such as EMU.
Check with your parents’ or your employer.
Many employers provide assistance for employees or children of employees who wish to attend college.
Visit EMU and request info about financial aid.
Schools have different types of financial aid, different policies, and different deadlines for completing applications.
Families with children attending college can be divided roughly into three groups.
- Some families have made saving for college a priority for a number of years prior to enrollment. During the enrollment period, through the use savings accounts, other liquid assets and investments, and prudent use of current resources, college expenses are quite manageable.
- Another group can be characterized as having very few resources – little or no savings and modest incomes. These families still have the option of attending private universities. Financial aid offices will prioritize the use of need-based assistance for these families. However, the student and family will likely rely heavily on loans to meet college costs. Much of this borrowing can be done through low-interest loan programs, with no interest accruing while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Repayment of these loans begins after graduation and payments are spread over 10 or more years. Some of the loans also contain “forgiveness” provisions. With a college degree, students with college debt can look forward to repayment periods with the benefit of increased earning power. Through careful planning during the years after graduation, even substantial debt is manageable.
- The third group is a combination of the two groups just described. This group is representative of most families with college-bound children. Within this group both the family and student have saved some prior to college, incomes are comfortable, and employment is fairly secure. These families generally use a combination of the following options to pay for college:
- current savings
- summer earnings (student)
- monthly payment plans (to help with cash flow issues)
- a modest amount of student loans
- some “parent loans” to ease the impact of college expenses during the enrollment period.
Every student and family will do well to recognize and appreciate the many advantages and benefits gained through the pursuit of a higher education degree. The expenses associated with college are an investment in the truest sense. The benefits extend well beyond the obvious and significant increase in earning power.College graduates enjoy a quality of life brought about by the learning process. Doors are opened, horizons are broadened, and understandings are deepened. In this context, private universities such as EMU can be seen in their best light.
Students at EMU have the privilege of gaining a high quality liberal arts and professional degrees in a learning environment that incorporates Christian and Anabaptist principles and perspectives. The significant number of new students who are children of EMU alumni each year is a testament to the value and quality of education enjoyed by EMU graduates. We invite you to make EMU your choice and discover what thousands of other graduates have discovered about higher education at Eastern Mennonite University.