Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2015 : Page 6

z PAYING continued from page 5 scholarship money from colleges based on their achievements, regardless of income. For example, high schoolers can earn scholarships for each final grade of an A or B in a class, partici-pating in an after-school club or spending a few hours volun-teering in their community. About thirty colleges currently participate, but the idea is new and more are likely to follow. There are deadlines and there is a minimum GPA for many colleges, but students can earn up to $60,000 in awards. details, visit riheaa.org. In addition, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority — a nonprofit state program — offers the Rhode Island Family Education Loan. The loan features a fixed rate based on your chosen repayment schedule, rather than credit, and borrowing limits range between $1,500 and $35,000. For eligibility and details, visit risla.com. One of the most underutilized programs to reduce college sticker price is the New England Board of Higher Education Regional Student Program (NEBHE RSP). This program allows New England residents to attend a public university in another New England state at a significant discount if they are pursuing a major not offered in their home state. There are no income requirements to participate in the program, but students should designate the NEBHE RSP option on their application. If they are accepted under an approved major at participating institutions, they will receive the tuition break. Students who are already enrolled at a participating institution and who designate an appropriate major after matriculating may also be eligible. Rhode Islanders can choose from dozens of options including architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Russian or Latin at the University of Vermont, sustainable agriculture at the University of Maine or animation at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The average RSP undergrad saved $7,000 last year. NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL DISCOUNTS The Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority provides access to a student grant of up to $500 per year for qualified students and families. For deadlines and application STATE FUNDS From Dunkin Donuts to Nordstrom, many local companies and family foundations provide scholarships that usually range between $500 and $2,000 per year. However, private scholar-ships are less plentiful and harder to obtain than some sources lead you to believe. The first challenge is finding the programs that apply to you. For scholarships specific to Rhode Island residents, the largest source of money comes from the Rhode Island Foundation, which administers more than 100 college scholarship funds. Although some are specific to a particular town, high school or ethnicity, others are broad in nature. For instance, the Sgt. Cornell Young Jr. Scholarship is for students who have overcome an obstacle in life, and the Patty and Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarship targets students whose parents did not attend college. For other scholarships that are available nationally, Fastweb (fastweb.com) and Cappex (cappex.com) are great resources. Keep in mind that most scholarship applications require an essay and documentation of your grades, test scores or need. Once you have gotten the money, you must report it to the college where you will matriculate. In some cases, your financial aid package may be reduced. Check with the financial aid office at your college to see how it handles outside scholarships. PRIVATE SCHOLARSHIPS Sticker price is the annual cost of a college before scholarships, LOW STICKER PRICE OPTIONS 6 RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I HIGHER LE ARNING I 2015

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