Scholarship Connections

Applicant PhotoTake Advantage of the Many Student Aid Resources Available to You

The Indian Health Service (IHS) understands how education expenses can add up. And we know how important it is for you to find financial resources that can help pay those expenses. Since your recent application for an IHS Scholarship was not accepted, we would like to suggest some alternative sources for student financial aid.

Remember to reapply for an IHS scholarship next year. Federal funds available for this program vary from year to year, as do the number of applicants awarded an IHS scholarship.

Financial Aid Options for American Indian and Alaska Native Students

The following organizations provide resources and information that can assist you in your search to find and secure financial aid, including grants and scholarship opportunities. When searching online, be sure to search for minority scholarships, as many scholarships specify Native American students among eligible recipients. What’s more, exhaust all financial aid options for scholarships and grants before resorting to applying student loans. There are many options out there for students; you just need to know where to find them. IHS does not endorse any of the scholarships, grants or loan programs listed or their associated websites.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The US federal government provides FAFSA as a tool to apply for federal student financial aid such as the Pell Grant, student loans and college work-study assistance. It’s important to submit a FAFSA right away, as most state schools also use FAFSA information in awarding their financial aid. FAFSA calculates the amount of student aid you may receive based on your individual need.

Federal Pell Grant

The US federal government offers Pell Grants to provide federal financial support to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. Unlike loans, you do not have to repay a Pell Grant. The maximum award changes each award year, based on available program funding. The maximum award is $5,550 for the 2012 2013 award year. The amount you actually receive will depend on your financial need, your education costs, your status as a full-time or part-time student and your plans to attend school for the full academic year or less. On average, during the 2010 2011 award year, the government awarded $3,865 per grant.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Undergraduate students with exceptional financial need may qualify to receive between $100 and $4,000 per year through the FSEOG , a US federal government student aid program. The amount of financial assistance depends on when you apply, your financial need, financial aid that is available at the school you are attending and the policies of your school’s financial aid office. FSEOG is a campus-based program because your school’s financial aid office administers it and, like Pell Grants, you do not have to repay an FSEOG.

Department of Education Federal Student Aid (FSA)

The largest source of financial aid for students in America is the Department of Education’s FSA . In fiscal year 2011, FSA delivered approximately $157 billion to more than 15 million students in grants, loans, and work-study assistance, more than during any period in the history of the program.

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators offers a range of resources to help students, parents and counselors navigate the college aid process.

Free Information About Scholarships

There are a number of online sources that provide free information about student scholarships. Be sure to check these sites to see what additional financial aid options may be available to you:

Education Loans — Another Alternative to Consider

Beyond scholarship and financial aid opportunities, another option is to take out a loan to cover your education expenses. If you pursue this option, be sure to apply in your final year of study to the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) or the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP). Both programs offer health professionals the opportunity to reduce their qualified student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment serving American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Remember: In the event that you qualify for multiple awards from other loan repayment programs, IHS policy allows only one form of loan repayment.

Federal Perkins Loans

The Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. The loans are made through your school’s financial aid office. Through this program, your school becomes your lender using government funds to cover the loan. You can borrow up to $5,500 for each year of undergraduate study. For graduate studies, you can borrow up to $8,000 per year. When you apply, your financial need and the funding level available at your school will determine the loan amount you receive. You must repay this loan to your school.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Programs

The US Department of Education administers the Direct Loan Programs. The Direct Loan Programs consist of what are generally known as Stafford Loans (for undergraduate and graduate students) and PLUS Loans (for parents and graduate and professional degree students ). Under the Direct Loan Programs, the federal government provides the funds for your loan. Visit its website for information on eligibility rules, loan amounts and repayment plans.

Direct Stafford Loans

To apply, you must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . Your school will review the FAFSA results and inform you about your loan eligibility. You also will have to sign a promissory note that lists the conditions under which you are borrowing and the terms under which you agree to repay your loan.

The amount you borrow depends on your year in school and whether you have a subsidized or unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan. A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. If you do not have demonstrated financial need, you would receive an unsubsidized loan.

For more information on subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans, visit Student Aid on the Web .

Direct PLUS Loans

These loans are known as ”Parent Loans.” Parents can receive a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child’s education expenses if he or she is a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least part time in an eligible program at an eligible school.

To receive a Direct PLUS Loan, parents must complete an application and promissory note, which can be found at your school’s financial aid office.

The annual limit is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. Either the US Department of Education or your parents’ lender will send the loan funds to your school.

For complete information on the Direct PLUS Loan program, visit Student Aid on the
or download Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid, a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the US Department of Education.

Learn More

The mission of the Indian Health Service is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

Visit the IHS website and our Careers page to find out about employment opportunities.

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