Tag Archives: paying for college

Year-Round Pell Grants Available for Summer!

While making your summer plans, you may be considering taking a summer class to move closer to your degree or certificate. If you’re eligible for the Pell Grant, paying for that class may just have gotten a bit easier.

Parkland College students may be able to receive a third disbursement of the award, based on a recent Department of Education announcement.

If you’ve already received a full Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters, you may now qualify for “Year-round Pell” and so receive a full Pell Grant during the summer 2018 semester as well, the DOE reported.

Year-round Pell allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year so they can continue taking classes in the summer and finish their degrees faster than they would otherwise. With careful planning, Pell Grant recipients may take advantage of this new regulation to earn their degree faster.

You should be aware, though, that any Pell Grant you receive over the summer will be included in determining your Pell Grant lifetime limit.

To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, you:

  • must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period
  • must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) during the summer term
  • must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress

You’re going to have to fill out a Summer Information Form, available on our forms web page, to get started. And remember, you should always speak to an academic advisor about the classes you should take.

If you were awarded Pell Grants for the 2017‐2018 academic year, contact the Financial Aid office at 217/351-2222 or finaid@parkland.edu for help with summer 2018 financial planning.

Registration for Parkland College Summer Session 2018 starts March 26, so don’t delay!

[Patricia Murbarger is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services.]

Top 6 Reasons to Activate Your SALT Account

new-salt-logo

Your free SALT account from Parkland College is waiting, and if you’re still skeptical about joining, here are six awesome reasons to get off the fence and start getting money-savvy.

  1.  It’s FREE – Like, really free. Parkland College hooked you up, so all you have to do is activate.
  2. It can find you free money – Want to tap into millions in scholarship money? Yeah, SALT can help with that.
  3. It builds your skills – Learn budgeting skills that will keep you in control of your cash for life.
  4. It can help you land a job – Get inside tips to grab an internship now and a job after graduation.
  5. It’ll tell you how to own your loans – Show your student loans who’s boss with easy tools to track and manage them.
  6. It’s FREE – Did we mention it’s totally free?

To activate your SALT account join now at:

What does “SALT” mean, anyway?
Back in the day (way, way back in the day), salt was the universal currency. It’s why SALT goes back to the basics to give you universal information, neutral advice, and smart strategies to help you take control of your money.

[Dawn Kamphaus is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Budget Tuition Payments with Parkland’s Plan

When students and parents think about paying that college tuition bill, there are not too many alternatives. Quite often, I encounter students telling me that they “do not have the money available right now, but will have some of it in a couple weeks.” (Lots of other Parkland College staff members hear that, too.) When this is the situation, we do offer one pretty helpful solution.

We tell them to take advantage of the Parkland Tuition Payment Plan. Did you even know Parkland had one of those? Yes, we do.

Parkland College partners with a company called Nelnet Business Solutions (NBS) to offer our students a convenient way to pay that tuition bill. In fact, NBS is a tuition-management plan that gives students a low-cost option for budgeting all college expenses.

The Parkland Tuition Payment Plan is not a loan program, and there are no debt or interest charges you have to pay. We don’t even require a credit check for you to join the plan. You can get on our plan with only a $25 fee to start. That’s all. Then, on the fifth of each month, tuition payments automatically come out of the checking/savings account or debit/credit card you’ve set up.

One thing I encourage parents and students to do is to sign up early for the payment plan. The earlier you sign up for a semester, the less money you’ll have to pay up front in installments. For example, if you sign up now for our Fall 2016 classes, you have until June 29 to sign up for the payment plan, and then you would have four monthly payments that occur on the 5th of each month from August through November.

I recently talked with a Parkland student whose tuition bill for the Fall 2016 semester is $2,043. She signed up for our payment plan with her $25 nonrefundable fee, so her payments will look like this:

  • August 5             $510.75
  • September 5     $510.75
  • October 5          $510.75
  • November 5     $510.75

This plan works for her, because she works part time at an area hospital and gets paid every couple of weeks. Now she no longer has to worry about being dropped from her classes for Fall 2016 when tuition is due on August 2. She can just relax, finish out the spring semester, and enjoy her summer.

How about you: Do YOU need help budgeting tuition? Click here to sign up for the Parkland Tuition Payment Plan today.  It’s easy: All you need is your checking/savings account or debit/credit card and a couple of other pieces of information. You might just appreciate this way to pay for college.

_____________________________________

***Enroll in Parkland’s payment plan through Nelnet Business Solutions today and ensure your classes are not dropped. Learn more about the plan at http://www2.parkland.edu/nelnet/.***

[Dave Donsbach serves as controller in the Parkland College Business Office.]

Get Your $$ for Spring Semester!

Need help paying for spring semester?  Parkland College Foundation Scholarships remain available for spring. The funds are there, just waiting for the right student to apply!

Currently available with a January 25 deadline:

  • Latasha Brize Scholarship – $500
  • Champaign County Nursing Home Scholarship – Amount varies
  • Jay Downey Scholarship – $500
  • Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 29 Scholarship – $1000
  • Fisher National Bank Scholarship – $500
  • Juanita L. Gammon Graphic Design Scholarship – $250
  • Heartland Bank Community Enhancement Scholarship – $1000
  • Lykins Family Art Scholarship – $250
  • Theda Seaton Marley Single Mother Nursing Scholarship – $250
  • Power of the Purse Scholarship – $1000
  • Seymour American Legion Post 1256 Scholarship – $500
  • Veterinary Technology Faculty and Staff Scholarship – $500
  • Gayle Wright Memorial Scholarship – $500

You’ll find applications for these scholarships at my.parkland.edu.  Log in to the portal and select “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab. You will be directed to a listing of all currently available scholarships.  By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria.  The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation.  Scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted here as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay, but don’t be intimidated!  The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students.  You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have.  For more information, visit D120 or log in to my.parkland.edu.

Want to broaden your search?  Besides the Parkland Foundation, many reputable online resources for scholarships can help you as well:

Keep in mind, most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

Planning for fall?  Students must apply for financial aid every year … NOW is the time to apply for the 2016-2017 FAFSA available online at FAFSA.gov.   In addition, Parkland College Foundation fall 2016 Scholarship opportunities will be available in the student portal beginning March 15!

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

New Year, New FAFSA to Complete!

That’s right, the 2016-2017 FAFSA is now available! For those attending college during the 2016-2017 award year, be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The application is quick and easy to complete. Make sure you complete the 2016- 2017 FAFSA and not the 2015-2016 form if you are applying for financial aid for next year (Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Summer 2017).

Plus, check out this US Dept. of Education blog post to avoid common FAFSA mistakes before you file!

For more information about the financial aid process, please email our office at finaid@parkland.edu or visit the SALT website at www.saltmoney.org.  SALT also provides helpful information and resources for searching for scholarships to supplement your financial aid award.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

**Top image from “7 Common FAFSA Mistakes” at http://blog.ed.gov/2014/01/7-common-fafsa-mistakes/**

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Worried about losing your MAP Grant? Apply now for scholarships!

Have you heard? Your financial aid this spring may be less than you expect.

The Illinois Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the Monetary Award Program (MAP), has notified all Illinois colleges and universities that due to the uncertainty of the state budget, spring 2016 MAP awards will be delayed until the state budget is approved. This means that your spring 2016 MAP award will be changed to “estimated aid” at this time and will not be applied to any account balance you may incur while registering for spring classes. As a result, your financial aid refund may be less than anticipated.

If state budget does fund MAP awards and you are owed more in a refund, you will receive it after the state budget is approved. Should the state not include MAP awards in the budget, you will be responsible for any balance owed on your account.

The idea of having your financial aid reduced is a pretty stressful one. What can you do? One potential way to offset this possible reduction is to apply for scholarships. Even if you don’t receive the MAP award, applying for scholarships is always a great resource to help fund your education.

NOW is the time to apply for spring scholarships. The Parkland College Foundation is currently offering approximately 70 scholarships for the spring semester. November 15 is the deadline for a majority of these scholarships, but scholarships are posted throughout the academic year.  The funds are there … just waiting for the right student to apply.

Parkland students have access to the scholarship search feature in their student portal at my.parkland.edu. By logging in to the portal and selecting “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab, you will be directed to a listing of all scholarships that are currently available. By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria. The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation. In addition, any scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay … don’t be intimidated! The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students. You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have. For more information you can visit D120 or log in to the student portal, my.parkland.edu.

There are also many reputable online resources for scholarships as well such as Fastweb (http://www.fastweb.com/), CollegeBoard (http://www.collegeboard.org/), and the Federal Student Aid Gateway (http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/). Keep in mind, that most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]