Federal Pell Grants are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor’s degree or who are not enrolled in certain post-baccalaureate programs, through participating institutions. A Pell Grant is generally considered to be the foundation of a student’s financial aid package, to which other forms of aid are added. The Federal Pell Grant program is sponsored by the United States Department of Education which determines the student’s financial need. The U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula to evaluate financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for determining the student’s expected family contribution (EFC). Pell is gift aid and does not need to be paid back.
(Note: the Pell Grant is not available to graduate students who have previously completed an academic degree program.)
If, after the Pell Grant has been disbursed, an under-graduate student has a need for additional tuition assistance, there are several self-help options in the form of federal student loans. The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is usually the next financial avenue for a qualifying student. This loan is drawn from the U. S. Treasury with interest rates set by law. The school, not the Department of Education, determines the amount a student can borrow, which may not exceed financial need. The federal government subsidizes the interest, origination fee and principle of the loan while the student is still in school, meaning no loan payments are required until six months (grace period) following graduation. After this time, a regular loan repayment schedule will go into effect.
The Federal government also offers a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan which requires repayment of interest to begin 60 days following issue of the loan with principle payments required following graduation. This loan is not need-based and usually offers higher limits to the amount of funds available.
There is yet one more federal option for loans available through SMAT, which is the Direct PLUS (Parents of Undergraduate Students) Loan. This loan can be taken out by parents of dependent students and is not based upon need. Repayment of the PLUS loan begins 60-days following the loan origination.
The School of Missionary Aviation Technology is authorized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to offer eligible veterans student assistance through the following:
Chapter 30–Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Chapter 33–Post 9/11 GI Bill Chapter 35–Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program Chapter 1606–Montgomery GI Bill / Selected Reserves, (MGIB-SR) Chapter 1607–Reserve Educational Assistance Program, (REAP)
Students who qualify for assistance should contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at (888) 442-4551 to determine available VA benefits. Once a benefit package has been determined, contact SMAT’s Financial Aid Director who will assist in applying for VA education benefits.
There is a wide variety of scholarship monies available for students; however, applying for and securing any scholarship money, which will require persistent and diligent pursuit, is the sole responsibility of the student. Any money received from this effort must be reported to the business office so the student’s aid package, if any, can be adjusted accordingly.
Sponsoring churches or other organizations are a great source of not only financial assistance but also in serving as an invaluable partner as your mission career goes forward. Students are encouraged to seek this partnership with their home congregation and any other group with whom they may have connections.
Individuals cannot contribute money directly to a student if they expect to claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions. However, if the contribution is channeled through a non-profit organization, such as a church, the individual may receive the benefit of a tax deduction from that non-profit organization. In turn, the non-profit may forward the designated contribution to SMAT where it will be credited to the student’s account. Again, all other financial aid or gifts must be included in the student’s financial aid package.