Federal Pell Grants are a program designed to aid students with financial need. This is a grant and not a loan therefore it does not need to be repaid. The amount of the awarded Pell Grant is based on your family contribution which is calculated from your information listed on the FAFSA form. The maximum Pell Grant amount for the 2014-2015 academic year is $5,730.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is awarded to aid students with exceptional financial need. A student must be registered at least half time and academic progress is required for renewal. This is a non-repayable grant.
State Grants are non-repayable awards based on financial need and full time student status. If you live in Pennsylvania you must file the FAFSA form by May 1st to be considered for this award. In May and June, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency will send an email regarding additional paperwork for Pennsylvania residences who may be eligible for state grant funds. This additional paperwork should be completed as soon as possible to avoid any delays in funding.
Students that reside in Ohio may also be eligible for state grant. The maximum exportable amount is $600. The FAFSA form must be completed no later than October 1st.
Federal Stafford Loans
Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans have fixed interest rates and are determined by the students need. Repayment begins six months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. The student has ten years to repay the loan. A Subsidized Stafford Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. You are not charged any interest while you are enrolled in school at least half time, during a grace period, or during authorized periods of deferment. An Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You have an option of paying the interest while you are in school or deferring the loan until repayment. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.
All students must complete a FAFSA for to determine eligibility for Subsidized Loan. Also first time borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. This can be done at www.studentloans.gov You will need to log in with your student PIN number, name, birth date and social security number.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, the maximum annual amounts for full-time dependent undergraduates enrolled in a program of study are:
- First-year $3,500 subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
- Second-year $4,500, subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
- Third-year $5,500, subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
- Fourth-year $5,500, subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
If you are a full-time independent undergraduate student or your Parents have been denied a Parent Plus Loan you may receive an additional $4,000 at the freshman and sophomore level and an additional $5,000 for your junior and senior years in unsubsidized loan.
The maximum aggregate amount is currently $31,000, but only $23,000 of this amount may be in Subsidized Stafford Loans for an undergraduate dependent student. The maximum amount for an undergraduate independent student is $57,500 with no more than $23,000 in Subsidized Stafford Loans. A graduate student may borrow up to $20,500 each academic year in Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The maximum aggregate amount is currently $138,500. A graduate student may not have any more than $65,500 in total Subsidized Stafford Loan. The graduate debt limit includes any Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.
The current interest rate on the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans is fixed at 4.66%. For Graduate students, the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan rate is 6.21%.
Federal Perkins Loan
The money for the Federal Perkins Loan is provided in part by the federal government and the college. A student must have financial need to be eligible and be at least a half time student. The maximum amount of Perkins Loan each year is $5,500 with an overall aggregate of $27,500. Since funds are limited you may not receive the maximum amount. The interest rate is 5% beginning with the repayment period that starts 9 months after the recipient graduates, leaves school or drop below half time enrollment. You will repay your Perkins Loan through Westminster College.
Westminster provides merit-based aid via the Westminster Scholars program and nominated merit-based scholarships.
Many Westminster College students receive scholarships from various outside resources. Many of these scholarships are applied for as early as February or March and are awarded for the next academic year. The Guidance Office at your high school is an excellent source for obtaining these types of scholarships that may be local to your area.
You can also search for national scholarships using websites such as FastWeb. FastWeb is a free scholarship search that includes more than 600,000 scholarships worth more than $1 billion. To use FastWeb, a student fills out a detailed profile through a series of online forms. After the forms are complete, FastWeb responds with a list of matching awards. Each entry in this list includes information about deadlines, eligibility requirements, award amounts, and contact information for the award provider.
If you live in the Pittsburgh area, you should also visit the Pittsburgh Foundation website to find a list of scholarships available.
The Presbyterian Church USA has individual scholarship applications available through its respective churches for the 2014-2015 Academic Year. Contact your church for an application for these scholarships or visit the Presbyterian Church USA Financial Aid Programs for Undergraduates.
Other outside scholarships may be applied for through:
- The Council of Independent Colleges CIC Tuition Exchange
- Tuition Exchange
- Scholarship Opportunity for African American Students: UNCFM
- Scholarship Opportunity for Native American Students: The American Indian College Fund
- Scholarship Opportunities for Hispanic Students: Making College Affordable (An Online Guide for Hispanic Students)
- Synod of the Trinity
- The College Board Homepage The College Board on-line
- The National Service Scholarship Home page National Service Scholarships
- Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps
After the financial aid awards are applied to the student's account, there could be a remaining balance due to our Business Office. If additional funding is necessary you may choose from the following options:
Tuition Payment Plan
An interest-free monthly payment plan is administered by Higher One's Tuition Pay. Brochures are available from the Business or Financial Aid Office. Or you may visit www.TuitionPaymentPlan.com or call 1-800-635-0120 for more information. There is an enrollment fee.
Federal Parent Plus Loans
This loan gives a parent the opportunity to apply for loans to help pay for their student's education. Parents will complete a Parent Plus Loan application and Parental Master Promissory Note at www.StudentLoans.gov. The parental PIN from the FAFSA form, name, social security number, and birth date are used to log in to the website. A credit check is required.
The interest rate is set each year by Department of Education and repayment begins 60 pays after the final disbursement. Deferral options are available.
There are also a number of privately funded loan programs that provide funds to credit worthy student and parents. Although the interest rates and terms may not be as generous as the Federal Loan programs, some students and their parents may be interested in this type of borrowing. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue the lower cost federal loans before private loans. You may use the Pennsylvania Private Loan Marketplace to instantly and accurately compare rates and terms from multiple private education loan lenders side-by-side. The website is http://pennsylvania.privateloanmarketplace.com/westminster.
** Disclosure Information Regarding the Pennsylvania Private Loan Marketplace http://www.westminster.edu/admissions/financial_aid/pdf/PennsylvaniaMarketplaceDisclosure.pdf
Or you may go to www.studentloans.com or visit your Credit Union if you are a member.
The maximum amount of additional loan a parent or student can borrow is the annual cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, board books and personal expense allowance) less the financial aid the student is receiving for the academic year.