Full-time vs Part-time Student

Full-time vs Part-time Student

Many schools allow students to tailor a schedule that aligns with their needs and lifestyle. However, the number of credits you take will determine whether you are enrolled full-time vs part-time. Schools generally have minimum credit amounts in order for students to be considered full- or part-time. In general, undergraduate students who are enrolled in 12 or more credit hours in a semester are considered full-time students.

A student’s status as full- or part-time could impact their financial aid package, academic workload, and the cost of attendance.

Here’s an overview of the key differences between enrolling as a part-time vs full-time student and how they might impact your education.

What is a Full-time Student?

As mentioned, schools set a minimum credit amount for full-time student status. Generally, undergraduate students are considered to be full-time when enrolled in 12 or more credit hours in a given semester. Schools that use a quarter or trimester system may have different credit thresholds to better reflect their typical course load.

For graduate school, students may take as few as nine credits to have full-time status. However, this can vary by institution, so it’s recommended to consult the department’s website or academic advisor.

Full-time enrollment may stipulate that credit-bearing courses qualify as either a major requirement, general education requirement, or eligible elective.

What is a Part-time Student?

Part-time students generally take less credit hours than their full-time peers. Most undergraduate programs define part-time status as taking fewer than 12 credits, though this can differ by institution, especially for graduate schools.

Typical college courses are three to four credits, so part-time students usually take three or fewer classes per semester. Some possible exceptions include half-semester courses or classes with both lecture and lab components.

Enrollment status is considered on a per-semester basis, meaning that students can fluctuate between part-time vs full-time college throughout their studies.

Difference Between Full-time and Part-time Students

On paper, the difference between full-time and part-time enrollment comes down to the number of credits. In practice, enrollment status can impact how students pay for their education.

Tuition Cost

Whether you study full-time or part-time will affect how much you pay for school. Typically, part-time students pay per credit hour. This allows part-time students to spread out the cost of their education over a longer period of time.

Meanwhile, full-time tuition is capped once a student reaches the credit threshold. Thus, a student may be able to pay the same in tuition for taking anywhere between 12 to 18 credits at the same institution.

Full-time students may be interested in stacking their schedules to reduce education costs. Maximizing credit hours while enrolled full-time can help stay on track or graduate early, but it’s worth noting that taking additional classes above this range can come with separate fees per extra credit hour. A more intensive course schedule could also translate to higher costs for books and materials in a given semester.

Recommended: What Is Cost of Attendance?

Financial Aid

Financial aid is another important consideration when deciding between enrolling as a full-time vs part-time student. For instance, some forms of federal student aid require students to be enrolled at least half-time (six or more credits) to qualify.

Pell Grants, which are awarded based on a student’s financial need, vary according to enrollment status. Full-time students may receive up to $6,495 for the 2021-2022 award year. Awards for part-time students are proportional to the number of credit hours a student takes. For example, a student taking nine credits would be eligible for 75% of the maximum award. Part-time students should keep in mind that eligibility for Pell Grants can’t exceed 12 academic terms.

Both full-time and half-time students can qualify for Federal Direct Loans and the Federal Work-Study program if attending a participating university for the latter. Interested students must indicate that they’d like to be considered for work-study on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

Since financial aid awards can vary by institution, it may be beneficial to check with your school to determine how enrollment status could impact your overall financial aid package.

Student Loan Repayment

Whether studying part-time or full-time, many students borrow money to pay for education expenses. Most federal student loans do not require repayment while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time. Part-time students have to repay loans once they drop below half-time enrollment.

Borrowers with Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or Federal Family Education Loan, will also have a six-month grace period after graduation before loan payments are due. And if you return to half-time or full-time enrollment prior to the end of the grace period, you will be eligible for the full six-month period upon graduation. Interest on Direct Subsidized loans is covered by the U.S. Department of education while students are enrolled or during certain periods of deferment.

Graduate and professional students with PLUS loans may also receive a six-month deferment on repayment when falling below half-time status.

Borrowers with private student loans and certain federal loans may be expected to begin repayment immediately.

Scholarships

Scholarships can help pay for tuition and related educational expenses. Organizations may use a variety of criteria when awarding scholarships, including academic merit, financial need, quality of application responses, and enrollment status.

Some scholarships have eligibility requirements that require recipients to be full-time students. Still, opportunities exist for part-time students to secure scholarships.

Part-time students attending a SUNY or CUNY community college can apply for the New York State Part-time Scholarship to pay for the lesser of six credit hours or $1,500 per term. To qualify, students must take between six and 11 credits.

There are also scholarships available to help adult learners pay for college who may be studying part-time.

Recommended: Scholarships and Grants to Pay Off Student Loans

Tax Credit Eligibility

Enrollment status can have implications for your or your parents’ taxes. There are two main programs—the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC)—that can give tax credits for out-of-pocket education expenses.

The AOTC can provide an annual credit up to $2,500 per student, given they are enrolled at least half-time.

Meanwhile, the LLC is open to all students regardless of enrollment status. The maximum credit per return is 20% of eligible education expenses up to $10,000, or $2,000 total.

Schedule and Time Commitment

For many, the choice to be a part-time vs full-time student can often come down to scheduling.

As a general rule of thumb, students can expect between two to three hours of work per week for each credit they’re taking. This means that a three-credit course would require approximately six to nine hours of student engagement between class time, homework, readings, and studying.

Many students work while completing their degrees to help pay for education and living expenses. Part-time students also work according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In October 2020, 41.5% of full-time students had some type of employment while nearly 82% of part-time students were employed.

To make their schedule more feasible, part-time students may consider taking online classes while working to reduce commute times and have access to a wider selection of academic programs.

Taking night classes is another option for students to study while working.

College Experience

Whether you are enrolled as a full-time vs part-time student could impact your success and experience as a student.

In 2019, the retention rate for part-time students at postsecondary institutions was just 46.5%, compared to 76.1% for full-time students.

Enrollment status could influence aspects of campus life and extracurricular activities as well. For instance, some schools may only allow full-time students to live in student housing on campus.

Student athletes must abide by NCAA regulations, including minimum coursework requirements, to be eligible to play. Division I athletes have to enroll in at least six credits to be eligible for the following term, whereas Division II and III athletes must take nine and 12 credit hours, each.

The Takeaway

Going to college is a serious commitment. Finding a schedule that works for your personal and financial needs could make the difference in making it to graduation. Full-time undergraduates generally take a minimum of 12 credits while those opting for part-time take fewer than 12 credits. Some scholarships are only available to full-time students but other forms of aid are open to both full- and part-time students.

Regardless of enrollment status, financial aid and scholarships may not be enough to pay for college outright. To bridge the gap, a private student loan could be a solution. Private student loans do not have the same borrower protections as federal student loans, like income-driven repayment plans, so are generally considered only after all other forms of aid have been exhausted.

SoFi offers no-fee private student loans for students enrolled full or half-time. Repayment plans are flexible, helping students find an option that works for their financial plan and budget.

Interested in learning more about private student loans with SoFi? Find out what rate you qualify for in just a few clicks.

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Pros and Cons of Online School

Pros and Cons of Online School

When a course of study is offered virtually, it’s considered an online school. The ability to take classes virtually can offer benefits like flexibility and convenience to students. On the other hand, online learning can make it difficult for students to connect with their peers and professors and can make it challenging to teach concepts that require more hands-on learning.

What is Online School?

Online school is a format of education where classes are conducted virtually. Some colleges are designed specifically for online learning. Other colleges and universities may offer both in-person and remote learning options for students. Depending on the program, classes may be offered synchronously, where students attend via an online forum at a specific time; asynchronously, where lectures are recorded and can be viewed at a student’s leisure; or a hybrid model of the two.

Online learning is a nuanced topic that has had a niche position in higher ed for over a decade. And while detractors of online learning say that it can be a pale imitation of in-person learning, there are several key advantages, including convenience and cost. Here, how to consider the pros and cons of online school.

Recommended: Tips for Taking Online Classes Successfully

Pros of Online School

When schools pivoted to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the experience was generally set up ad-hoc and created to ride out the crisis. But many online programs have been constructed with online learning at the front of mind. This means that they may be thoughtfully constructed in a way that supports distance learning.

When considering online schools, make sure that the program is accredited by an organization recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accredited. This can help students avoid any online scams.

Part of analyzing whether online school will be successful for you is knowing yourself. This past year allowed a lot of people to obtain deep insight into whether working remotely—either at work or school—was productive or even enjoyable. It has also given some people confidence that, even if in-person is preferred, online is doable and may not be as challenging as they may have thought in the past. That said, if you think online school might be right for you, here are some other factors to consider.

Cost and Affordability (Potentially)

No buildings and no in-person instruction means less expensive tuition, right? Not necessarily. While some institutions that specifically invest in online learning may be less expensive, you may find that online tuition is commensurate whether or not you go in person, depending on the program.

Recommended: How to Pay For Online College

If cost is the primary factor in pursuing online education, it may be a good idea to look at universities and degree programs that specialize in online learning, as they may create pricing based on an online-first business model.

More Convenient

A huge benefit to online school is that many programs are structured knowing that students may also be juggling career and family responsibilities. This can translate into asynchronous learning—lesson modules that can be done on your own time—rather than a mandatory lecture to attend.

Still, the time commitment to online school can be intense when you’re going to school and working. Even if you don’t need to be in class at a certain time, there will still be due dates, studying, and exams to contend with.

Self-Directed Course of Study

On a similar note, many fans of online courses like that the course can be more self-directed, allowing you to take control of your education on your own timeline. This may mean you need to be more proactive about scheduling office hours with professors, blocking out time to study, and making sure that assignments are turned in on time.

Cons of Online School

While some people thrive in an online environment, some people want to have in-person interaction. Here are some cons of online school:

Limited Hands-On Experience

Some degree programs that have a lab component may be harder to mimic online. Some degrees accept virtual labs, while other degrees may require a “wet lab” (aka a hands-on lab). Make sure you know what your degree needs, and confirm that all coursework can be done entirely online. It can also be helpful to speak with current students in the program to hear any of their frustrations.

Lack of Community

Some people find it hard to connect with classmates and may find group projects or virtual small groups to be much less engaging than they might otherwise have been if they had been in person.

Harder to Connect with Professors

Some professors maximize online interaction, while some may be harder to pin down and connect with. Heading to office hours, even if they are virtual, can help you build a connection and get to know the professor.

More Difficult to Access On-Campus Resources

If the online school you’re attending also has a brick-and-mortar campus, there may be resources for career development as well as on-campus events related to your department. It may be worth assessing how virtual students can tap into these resources and what resources are accessible to them.

Longer Timeframe

The flip side of a more convenient schedule means that courses may be more spread out. What could be a one or two-year program in a full-time setting could take several years if done virtually.

Additional Considerations for Online School

Being able to pursue higher education remotely can open up possibilities for many individuals. But it can be a good idea to consider how online school will fit into your life. These considerations can help you find your best fit.

Talk with Other Students

It can be helpful to speak with current students who are in a similar position as you. Talking with a student who is also juggling family or a career can help you see how the process plays out in real life.

Sit in on a lecture

Will the program allow you to virtually sit in on the lecture or see some course materials? Doing so can help you see how the program plays out in real life.

Take an Online Course

In some cases, online school can be an expensive undertaking. Prior to applying to an official degree program, consider taking a virtual course, either for fun or as a credit program towards your degree. Taking a virtual course without the pressure of a degree can help you take stock of the pros and cons for yourself, and assess whether or not online learning is right for you.

Talk with Your Employer

If you are planning to do a degree program alongside working, speak with your employer. It may be possible that they can subsidize the cost of the degree if it is relevant to your career.

Consider the cost and potential salary advancement you might get out of the program. Talking with the financial aid office, as well as the department, can help clue you into scholarships and grants, as well as filling out the FAFSA® and considering private student loan options can help you begin to get your finances in order as you figure out what your schedule may look like with online school.

The Takeaway

Going to school—whether it’s online or in-person—is a major decision. It’s important to consider pros and cons, including cost, as you assess whether it’s right for you. Speaking with people who’ve done the degree, people within your department and people in your career field or future career field can help you assess how this program could be successful for your career goals and aspirations.

Taking the time to do the research, and potentially dipping your toe into online learning with one or two courses, can help you decide how online school may fit into your life and career goals.

If you’re in the process of paying for school—online or otherwise—private student loans can help fill in any gaps between the cost of attendance and all other sources of funding like savings and federal student loans, grants, or scholarships. However, private student loans may lack many of the borrower protections that federal loans offer borrowers in case of economic hardship or unemployment.

Interested in learning more private student loans at SoFi? Find out what rate and terms you prequalify for in just a few minutes.

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SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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What is Need-Based Financial Aid?

What Is Need-Based Financial Aid?

Paying for college can be expensive, but there are several types of financial aid available to students. Some aid awards are determined based on your family’s financial situation. Known as need-based financial aid, amounts are awarded based on several factors, and in some cases, it may not need to be repaid.

If you’re unsure whether you’ll qualify for need-based aid, how much you’ll receive, or whether you need to pay it back, we’ve outlined helpful information to help you navigate these questions below.

Defining Need-Based Financial Aid

To put it simply, need-based financial aid is money to help students pay for the costs associated with attending college, which is awarded based on their financial situation.

Depending on your situation, you may qualify for federal or state aid or aid from the institution you attend. Typically, need-based aid is determined based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA®.

Most college students take advantage of what’s offered in their federal financial aid package, which may include the following types of need-based federal financial aid:

Recommended: When Is FAFSA Due for the 2021-22 Deadline?

Direct Subsidized Student Loans

The federal government will subsidize (or cover) any interest that accrues on Direct Subsidized Loans for undergraduate students while they are enrolled in school at least half-time and during the six-month grace period after graduation.

After the grace period, interest will start to accrue. This type of loan is awarded based on financial need, unlike Direct Unsubsidized Loans, which begin accruing interest as soon as they are disbursed.

There is a limit to how much a student can borrow in federal loans and the amount they borrow cannot exceed their financial need. The maximum amount first-year undergraduate students can borrow cannot exceed $5,500 (or $9,500 for independent students), $3,500 of which is in subsidized loans. The maximum amount you can borrow increases each year you’re enrolled.

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are for undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional financial need and depend on factors such as your expected family contribution, your enrollment status, and how much your schooling will cost.

The maximum amount may vary—it’s $6,495 for the 2021-2022 academic year. It may also be possible for students to receive up to 150% of their scheduled award, though qualification requirements will vary.

To be eligible for the Pell Grant, students will need to fill out the FAFSA each year that they are enrolled in undergraduate studies.

Work-Study Programs

The federal work-study program offers part-time jobs for undergraduate or graduate students based on their financial needs. The goal is to provide the opportunity for students to earn money towards education-related expenses and one that’s related to their field of study. There may be jobs both on- and off-campus and the program is administered by participating schools.

The type of job you get and how much you earn will be influenced by factors like when you apply and how much funding your school has. At a minimum, program participants will be paid at least the current federal minimum wage.

If you are awarded work-study as a part of your federal aid package, you can’t earn an amount that’s more than what was awarded.

Recommended: Am I Eligible for Work-Study?

What’s the Difference Between Need-Based Financial Aid and Ones Based on Merit?

Whereas need-based financial aid is based on the student and their family’s financial circumstances, merit-based aid doesn’t consider finances. Instead, this type of financial aid looks at things like standardized test scores or grade point average, or GPA. In some cases, financial aid is based on other merits such as your class rank.

Some scholarships are based on your class rank. Usually, scholarships are awarded based on merit, though there are plenty based on financial need. Before applying to any financial aid, it’s important to look at the eligibility requirements so you know whether you’ll qualify.

Related: How to Get Merit Aid for College

Do I Need to Pay Back Need-Based Financial Aid?

Even though the point of aid based on financial need is to help you cover college expenses you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford, you may have to pay some of it back. For instance, the Pell Grant or other types of grants don’t need to be repaid. Scholarships are another type of aid that recipients are not required to repay. If you participate in the work-study program, the money you’ve earned is also yours.

However, Direct Subsidized Loans will need to be repaid. You won’t, however, need to pay any interest while you’re enrolled at least half-time since the government will cover that. Direct Unsubsidized loans (which aren’t awarded based on need) will also need to be repaid and borrowers will be responsible for the full amount of accrued interest.

In some cases, you may not need to pay the entire amount back if you qualify for student loan forgiveness. There are several types of forgiveness with varying eligibility requirements that depend on factors such as your career path.

For instance, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF program, will forgive the outstanding balance on a Direct Loan if you made 120 monthly qualifying payments. These payments need to be paid while you’re working full-time for a qualifying employer and under a qualifying repayment plan.

To see whether you qualify for a forgiveness program, it may be helpful to speak with a loan officer.

Should I Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid?

There’s nothing wrong with seeing what you may qualify for. Besides, filling out the FAFSA is free. Filling out the FAFSA will allow you to determine how much federal aid you qualify for. Some schools will also use the FAFSA to determine additional aid awards.

The FAFSA will require information about you and your family’s financial situation to help determine how much aid you’ll receive. There is also the CSS Profile , which some colleges may use to determine financial aid awards. To fill out the CSS Profile there is a small fee.

Related: FAFSA 101: How To Complete The FAFSA

That being said, you may not receive enough financial aid even if you qualify. For instance, Pell Grants are typically given on a first-come, first-served basis. It may help to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible. That way, you may be able to find out sooner what you may qualify for. You can submit your FAFSA as soon as October 1 for the following school year.

The Takeaway

Even if you’re not sure if you qualify for need-based aid from the federal government, you may be able to qualify for ones at the state, local or college level. There is also merit-based aid in the form of scholarships and some grants.

Many organizations also award grants and scholarships for specific demographics and those pursuing certain fields. It’s far better to accept free money through grants and scholarships before taking out any loans.

If you do end up borrowing money to pay for college, you can consider refinancing your student loans. Doing so can help qualifying borrowers reduce their interest rate, which could lower the amount paid over the life of the loan. Note that refinancing federal loans eliminates them from borrower protections and benefits like PSLF and income-driven repayment plans.

Interested in refinancing student loans? Learn more about what SoFi offers.

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IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Top 10 Most Popular Scholarships for Women

10 Popular Scholarships for Women

As you’re pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, don’t forget to look at free money (in the form of scholarships) as one of your potential funding sources. There are plenty of scholarships for women, whether its purpose is to encourage more females to pursue careers where they’re considered underrepresented or to help them attend college in the first place.

Spending some time finding (and then applying to) scholarships you may be eligible to receive could be incredibly helpful when it comes to paying for college tuition.

What Types of Scholarships Are There for Women?

There are plenty of scholarships available for females pursuing both undergraduate and graduate degree studies. Scholarships may be either need- or merit-based awards, though each one will have its own qualifying and application requirements.

For instance, need-based scholarships generally require applicants to exhibit financial need. Merit-based scholarships may be determined based on skills, abilities, or other talents such as a student’s GPA, test scores, or the type of field they are looking to pursue.

Some scholarships may even be location-based, such as residents of certain states or for specific schools.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

Are There Scholarships for Women in STEM?

There are many scholarships for women who are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). According to the US Census, in 2019, 27% of all STEM workers are women, with engineering and computer-related jobs being the least represented.

Government organizations, industry associations, and even technology companies offer industry-specific scholarships (we’ll talk more about some of them below). For instance, companies like Google or associations such as the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) offer scholarships for women.

Popular Scholarships For Women

Below are 10 scholarships available exclusively to women:

Associated Women for Pepperdine (AWP) Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $5,000
Application Deadline: February 15

The AWP is one of the largest women’s groups awarding scholarships for female Christian students. There are several awards up for grabs, and scholarships can be renewed. To qualify, applicants need to be students at Pepperdine University, current and active members of the Church of Christ, submit a letter of recommendation from a leader of the Church of Christ, and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) application.

Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $1,000
Application Deadline: February 23

The Cox Scholarship aims to encourage women to pursue professions related to the statistics field. There are two scholarships, one for a female early on in their graduate career, and the other for a woman at a more advanced level. Applicants need to be permanent residents or citizens in the US or Canada and be admitted to a full-time graduate statistics program of the year the scholarship is awarded.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund

Scholarship amount: Varies
Application Deadline: February 26 (Note that the 2020-2021 application cycle for this scholarship is closed)

This scholarship is for women age 35 or older who are considered low-income and enrolling into a not-for-profit accredited educational institution. Women can pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or vocational education. To apply, applicants need to meet the household income guidelines from the Department of Labor’s Lower Living Standard and answer questions based on their academic and career goals.

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Selected Professions Fellowships

Scholarship amount: $5,000–$18,000
Application Deadline: December 1

The AAUW awards multiple scholarships, one of which the Selected Professions Fellowships is one of them.

Women may apply if they intend on pursuing full-time studies at an accredited US institution in a field where women have had historically low enrollment. For instance, scholarships are awarded for women pursuing degrees in STEM and law.

Eligibility criteria include women who can prove they have shown promise of high academic excellence and distinction.

American Indian Services (AIS) Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $2,000
Application Deadline: February 1 to November 1 (Depending on when the applicant’s classes start)

The AIS scholarship aims to help Native American students enrolling in an accredited institution pursue higher education. Awards are given on a quarterly basis, though you’ll only need to apply once per year.

Eligibility requirements include being at least one-quarter of an enrolled member, or descendant of an enrolled member of a U.S. Federally Recognized Native American Tribe, enrolled at least half-time, and completed the FAFSA. This award is currently only available to undergraduate students.

Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Scholarships

Scholarship amount: Varies
Application Deadline: Varies (most end April 30)

The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers multiple scholarship opportunities for women pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate degrees in accounting. Applicants may apply to more than one scholarship excluding the Women in Transition and Women in Need awards, of which students can only apply to one.

Eligibility criteria varies, though most will require applicants to provide transcripts, demonstrate financial need, and prove they’re committed to working in the accounting field.

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $2,000 or $,8000
Application Deadline: April to June

Women who are pursuing a business program in qualifying fields and living or studying in an area where Zonta International is active can apply for this scholarship. Locate a Zonta Club near you here . There are 32 awards for $2,000 and six awards for $8,00. Applicants also need to be enrolled in the final year of a Master’s program or at least the second year of their undergraduate degree.

American Nephrology Nurses Association Career Mobility Scholarships

Scholarship amount: $1,000 to $2,500
Application Deadline: October 15

The American Nephrology Nurses Association, or ANNA, offers a few scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 designed to support qualifying members who are pursuing an advanced or BSN degree in nursing. Qualifying criteria includes being a current full ANNA member for at least two years, enrolled or accepted into a qualifying nursing program, and a 250-word essay outlining the potential impact of the scholarship.

Chicana Latina Foundation Scholarships

Scholarship amount: $1,500
Application Deadline: March 31

Self-identifying Chicana or Latina college students living in qualifying California counties can apply for a $1,500 scholarship. They need to be students attending an accredited community college, college, or university full-time and meet certain academic requirements. Plus, they’ll need to attend the Chicana Latina Foundation (CLF) Leadership Institute and CLF Annual Awards Dinner if selected for a scholarship.

To apply for this scholarship, applicants will be required to submit two letters of recommendation, one of which needs to be from a counselor or professor.

Undergraduate students need to submit unofficial or official transcripts from their current degrees. Graduate students will need to submit a resume or CV in addition to providing a transcript.

The Women In Aerospace Foundation Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $2,000
Application Deadline: June 22

The Women In Aerospace Foundation aims to promote careers in the aerospace field—this scholarship program is one of the ways it does so. Each year, the organization will award at least one scholarship to a woman who is interested in pursuing a career in this field.

To qualify, applicants need to be currently enrolled in an accredited US college or university, plan to enroll the next academic year and complete a minimum of 2.5 academic years of full-time college. Applicants also need to have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA

The Takeaway

Applying for one of the many scholarships for women can be a smart tactic if you’re trying to figure out how you will pay for your college education. In addition to the scholarships listed here, there are many other opportunities—many scholarships go unclaimed because they don’t receive enough applications. It doesn’t hurt to submit an application since the worst they’ll say is “no”, and the benefits are well worth it.

Student loans are another option to help pay for college tuition costs. If you’ve already taken out student loans, it may be possible to save money over the life of the loan by refinancing the student loan(s) to a lower interest rate. Refinancing federal student loans means they’ll no longer qualify for borrower protections like income-driven repayment plans, so it won’t be the right choice for all borrowers.

Interested in learning more about refinancing student loans with SoFi? Find out if you prequalify, and at what rate, in a few minutes.

Photo credit: iStock/valentinrussanov


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Closed School Loan Discharge Eligibility

Closed School Loan Discharge Eligibility

The Department of Education allows federal student loan borrowers to seek a student loan discharge in certain circumstances. One such scenario involves a discharge related to permanent school cancellation.

If your college or university closes while you’re enrolled you may be wondering if you still have to repay loans you took out to fund your education. Closed school loan discharge can relieve you of the financial responsibility of repaying federal student loans.

There are certain eligibility requirements you need to meet to qualify for a closed school discharge. Understanding the guidelines, along with other options for student loan discharge, can help with managing your student debt.

What Is School Cancellation Loan Discharge?

The Department of Education can discharge up to 100% of federal student loans through the closed school discharge program.

The types of loans eligible for school closure discharge include:

• Federal Direct Loan Program loans (including Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, consolidation loans, Parent PLUS loans and graduate PLUS loans)

Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) loans

Federal Perkins loans

School cancellation discharge of eligible loans is not the same as loan forgiveness. Federal loan forgiveness programs, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, have service and repayment requirements. With PSLF, you’re required to work in a public service job and make 120 qualifying payments toward your loans. Teacher Loan Forgiveness requires you to teach in a qualifying school for five consecutive years to be eligible for loan forgiveness.

A closed school loan discharge, on the other hand, imposes no requirements with regard to any minimum number of payments you need to make toward your loans or work service commitments. If you qualify, your obligation to make payments to your loans disappears.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

Who’s Eligible for Closed School Loan Discharge?

Borrowers may qualify for a school cancellation discharged if their school closed and they meet any of these conditions:

• They were enrolled at the time of the closure

• They were on an approved leave of absence when the closure occurred

• The closure occurred within 120 days of their withdrawal from the school and their loans were first disbursed before July 1, 2020

• The closure occurred within 180 days of their withdrawal from the school and the loans were first disbursed after July 1, 2020

Borrowers may not qualify for any discharge of student loans related to a school closure if:

• The student’s withdrawal happened outside the 120-day or 180-day windows allowed, based on the date of their first loan disbursement

• They are continuing education at another school

• They completed all coursework toward their degree before the school closed, even if they haven’t formally received a certificate or diploma

If any one of those things happens to be true then it’s possible a borrower won’t qualify for a closed school loan discharge.

How Does A Closed School Discharge Work?

If the school closes while a student is enrolled, they can apply for a federal student loan discharge. In general, students who meet the eligibility criteria will automatically receive an application from the Department of Education. The application is also available on their website.

Automatic Closed School Loan Discharge

School closure discharge is automatic if the school closed between November 1, 2013 and July 1, 2020 and the borrower hasn’t enrolled in another school within three years of the date of the closure. The Department of Education handles the closure for the borrower, there’s no need to complete the application. However, borrowers who would prefer to fill out the application, are able to do so.

Once your loans are discharged, the borrower is no longer responsible for paying anything toward them. But while an application for closed school discharge is under review it is important to continue making payments toward the loans as usual if they’re already in repayment. This can help avoid late payments.

Any discharged loans are removed from a borrower’s credit reports once the discharge is complete. That includes your entire payment history as well as negative items such as late payments.

Other Options for Discharging Student Loans

If you aren’t eligible to have your loans discharged because of school cancellation, there are some other scenarios that may allow it.

Disability Discharge

For example, you could apply for a discharge of your loans if you become totally and permanently disabled. The disability discharge option is available to eligible borrowers who owe:

• Federal Direct loans

• FFEL program loans

• Federal Perkins loans

It’s also open to TEACH Grant program recipients. In order to be eligible for a student loan disability discharge, you must be able to provide proof of your disability through a physician, the Social Security Administration, or the Department of Veterans Affairs. You’ll need to complete a separate application for this type of discharge and once approved, you’re subject to a three-year monitoring period to certify that you lack sufficient income to pay your loans.

Discharge in Death

Student loans can also be discharged due to the death of the borrower. That includes loans taken out by a student as well as Parent PLUS loans. In the case of Parent PLUS loans, discharge is an option if the parent who took out the loans passes away. To qualify for a death discharge of student loans, proof of death (i.e. a death certificate) must be submitted to the Department of Education.

In Rare Cases: Declaring Bankruptcy

Though it is rare, bankruptcy may be another option for discharging federal student loans, though it can be difficult to achieve. In order to have student loans discharged through bankruptcy, the borrower must be able to prove through an adversary proceeding that having to repay their loans would cause a sustained undue financial hardship for both themselves and their family.

Filing a bankruptcy case could result in all of the loans being discharged, some of them being discharged or none of them being discharged. Declaring bankruptcy adversely affects a person’s credit score and is generally a last resort. Always consult with a qualified and trusted financial advisor, accountant, or attorney before considering bankruptcy.

Other Options for Managing Student Loans

Federal student loan borrowers who are ineligible for other forms of discharge or student loan forgiveness may want to consider alternative options such as income-driven repayment options or student loan refinancing instead.

Income-driven repayment plans are offered to borrowers with federal student loans and consider a borrower’s discretionary income when determining their loan terms and payments. This can help make monthly payments more manageable but may make borrowing the loan more expensive over the life of the loan by extending the loan term.

Student loan refinancing may allow qualifying borrowers to secure a more competitive interest rate or loan terms. Though, keep in mind, refinancing any federal student loans will eliminate them from federal plans and protections, including income-driven repayment plans and closed school loan discharge.

Does School Closure Discharge Apply to Private Student Loans?

Federal closed school discharge applies to federal student loans only. Borrowers with private student loans wouldn’t be able to apply for a discharge through the Department of Education should their school close.

It may be possible to contact your private student loan servicer to see if any type of discharge option is available. Your lender may be able to offer a solution for handling private student loans if your school closed while you were enrolled and you have no plans to re-enroll elsewhere.

The Takeaway

Closed school loan discharge can help erase federal student loan debt, in the event a qualifying borrower’s school has closed. But if your school remains open or you have private student loans, you may need to consider other possibilities for keeping up with your payments.

Refinancing student loans could help borrowers secure a lower interest rate. Know that refinancing a federal student loan into a private loan eliminates it from federal student loan borrower protections, like income-driven repayment plans, deferment, and loan forgiveness options. So it may not be the best option for everyone.

If you’re considering student loan refinancing, take the time to look around for the best loan rates and repayment terms for you. SoFi, for example, offers competitive student loan refinancing rates with no hidden fees. Weighing student loan refinancing alongside other options can help make your loans more manageable.

Learn more about student loan refinancing with SoFi.

Photo credit: iStock/jacoblund


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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