affordability december
Scholarships (and grants which are really the same thing with a different name) are gift assistance. They are yours to spend on tuition and you never have to repay them. While you do have to qualify, the criteria vary widely. Of course, you also have to apply for them and that's going to take some time and effort on your part. The good news at many private colleges, including Quincy University, is that nearly all students will receive one or more forms of scholarship and it's well worth your time!

Here are some general things you should know about scholarships:

1. Local scholarships - The sources vary from a parent's employer to the Daughters of the American Revolution. As you can imagine, the criteria and deadlines are just as varied. If you haven't already done so, December is a good time to do some exploring. The longer you wait, the more deadlines you miss.

2. Check with your high school counselor - They are often aware of scholarship opportunities or, at least, can give you some ideas about where to start your search.

3. Scholarship search companies - You may have heard from companies who "guarantee" to find you a scholarship. There's usually a fee involved, so be very careful. Most of what they deliver is available for free online, in your high school, or from the colleges and universities you are considering. If what they offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

4. Compare carefully - It's not just about how large the scholarship is, it's also about how large the tuition is. If the largest scholarship comes from the school with the highest tuition, that may or may not be best for you. For every college and university you consider, use this formula:

affordability-chart-14-155. Financial need - Federal and state grants, as well as some of QU's grant programs, are based on the ability of each family to pay the tuition at a private college. At QU we believe every accepted applicant should be able to choose the university that best matches their abilities and interests. A decision this important shouldn't come down to a cost decision. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you'll need to file for all colleges and universities. You may send it in anytime after January 1. Watch for further information about the FAFSA in the January Affordability Series.

6. Hidden scholarships - At private colleges and universities like QU, no student pays the full cost of attendance. The generosity of alumni and other donors enhances academic quality without increasing student cost. Every student benefits equally from this support.

The strong sense of community is evident wherever you look on the QU campus. In keeping with this, our scholarship programs recognize students for the variety of gifts they bring to our community. As you would expect, academics (your high school record and test scores) lie at the heart of our scholarship decision. However, what we know about your leadership, community involvement and activities beyond the classroom also play a role. Scholarships ranging from $8,000 to $16,000 per year are awarded based on what we learn in your application for admission.

In addition, we conduct an on-campus competition for five full-tuition Presidential Scholarships. This competition is by invitation only and will be conducted February 7, 2015. Applicants must have at least a 27 ACT and a gpa of 3.2.

It's rare for any college or university to award a scholarship before a student has been admitted to the university. QU streamlines this process for you by combining the admission and scholarship applications. We use a rolling admission process which means that we accept qualified applicants in the order they apply. When you complete an application for admission, you can expect a decision within two weeks. If accepted, we will evaluate you for a scholarship within the next two weeks. As we write this in early December, more than 450 scholarships have already been awarded to next fall's freshmen. If you plan to apply to QU, sooner is always better than later. We waive the application fee when you apply online!

We'll leave you with two final thoughts about scholarships. First, you may have heard "Modesty is a virtue." That's true, BUT, not on your application for admission and scholarships. Help us – and yourself – by giving us all the information we need to make a good decision. For some students, we need to learn about your breadth – that you've been involved in a variety of school and community activities. For others, we want to hear about your depth, the one area where your passions lie, where you have excelled. Great communities require both breadth and depth.

Finally, and most importantly, please don't make the mistake of thinking none of this applies to YOU. This year QU students received nearly $15 million in scholarship and grant assistance. On average, those funds with federal and state grants covered approximately 70 percent of their tuition. More than 90% of QU students would not be here without these scholarships and grants.

We're interested in the match between students' interests and university strengths...and so are you. You don't have to compromise that match by attending a lower cost university. Scholarships make that possible.