Ashford University Student Loans

6 ways to make the most of your summer internship

When pursuing a higher education, you will need to decide on a type of school, degree, or certificate option and location in addition to determining how to afford it all. There are many things to consider when making a decision on where to attend college. Many students prefer a small, close-knit community where professors know their students by name and low teacher-to-student ratios ensure personal attention and support. Ashford University’s Clinton campus can offer undergraduate students a family-like environment, making college a home away from home. Located just hours from the big city offerings of Chicago, Ashford University is in the small town of Clinton, Iowa, nestled in among the banks of the Mississippi River.

Offering a plethora of student activities, organizations, clubs, and athletics to choose from, Ashford University has a thriving social and academic community. With three residence halls available, students can enjoy campus life around the clock. Ashford prides itself on a successful mentoring and new student integration program as well as career counseling and advice. You can join fellow students and young adults in peer study groups at the campus coffee shop, cosmic bowling, or cheering on the various Ashford Saints sports teams. If you do choose to live off campus and commute, parking passes are free, although you will need to apply for one. Ashford University offers students the opportunity to earn associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in their online forum, which caters more to working adults. Regular students seeking their bachelor’s degree as well as a full college experience attend the Clinton Campus of Ashford University.

Tuition and Fees

Ashford University’s Clinton campus publishes their tuition and fee rates in order to help you better prepare for the financial responsibilities of seeking your degree. Current rates for Ashford University’s Clinton campus are competitive with other private universities and are as follows:

These costs add to around $24,480 a year for students attending Ashford University in person as a regular student full-time both the spring and fall semesters and living on the Clinton campus. This totals $98,070 for all four years of an undergraduate degree.

Calculating Cost of Attendance

Not only will you have to pay for school itself, but there are many other things to consider when budgeting for college. Looking at the cost of living in the surrounding area can help, as this takes into account most of your typical living expenses. The cost of living in Clinton, Iowa, is generally lower than the national average by at least 15 percent, and average rent prices sit just under $600 a month according to city-data.com. You can save some money by living on campus in one of the residence halls where rent is around $525 a month for Clinton campus housing. Transportation, or commuting costs, will also likely be lower if you choose to live on campus.

The College Board, Living Expense Budget for 2013 estimates that students living on campus will pay around $1,225 in transportation fees annually while those living off campus will pay double. Personal expenses are estimated at around $2,825 for resident students and $4,035 for those living elsewhere. Of course, if you are a dependent student living at home and attending Ashford University, you can save money on room and board, although your transportation costs are estimated to be around $2,825 a year. Be sure to add in the cost of other school supplies in addition to your course books also.

Ashford University has an online tool to help you estimate your total cost of attendance called the Net Price Calculator. In order to get the most accurate estimate, you will need the following information when filling it out:

It is important to realize that this is merely an estimate and actual costs may vary. An advisor from Ashford’s Financial Services team can help you determine your costs and potential options.

Payment Options

Ashford University offers several different payment methods to fund your college tuition. These include the Cash Plan, Direct Bill Plan (Third Party Billing), Tuition Reimbursement Plan,  Level-Pay Plan, and Financial Aid Plan. With the Cash Plan, students can pay their bill either by debit or credit card, and tuition, room and board and other school fees are expected to be paid in full upon receipt of the bill. The Direct Bill Plan, also called Third-Party Billing, is for students who are preapproved to have their employer or agency pay a minimum of $2,500 a year directly. These funds are to be paid within 90 days of the course starting. Any amount not covered must be paid by the student before each course begins. Similarly, Tuition Reimbursement Plans are options for students whose employers participate in tuition reimbursement programs. Ashford University defers tuition payments for up to 90 days for students enrolled in this plan. Employers must agree to fund at least 50 percent of your annual tuition to qualify.

If paying tuition in full all at once is not an option, or if you don’t have an employer to help with college expenses, the Level-Pay Plan may work for you. This plan allows you to spread out your cost of tuition, fees, room and board, and books throughout the entire term; breaking payments up into smaller, more manageable amounts. Many times, students will still need more help affording college, and this is where the Financial Aid Plan comes in.

Financial Aid Plan

Ashford University strives to make a college degree accessible to as many students as possible by providing assistance to all students enrolled in an eligible degree program and qualifying for financial aid. In order for the Financial Aid Plan to be your primary payment option, at least half of your annual college costs must be funded by federal financial aid benefits. In order to be eligible for federal financial aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, have a valid Social Security number, be registered for the U.S. Selective Service if you are a male (you must register between ages 18 and 25), have a high school diploma or its equivalent, be accepted for enrollment or be enrolled in a certificate or degree program, maintain satisfactory academic progress while attending college, agree to use funds for educational purposes only, and not have any federal loans in default. Additionally, students must meet these conditions as well:

Your cost of attendance (COA) will be estimated by Ashford University and used to help determine your financial aid package. Financial aid awards are then subtracted from your overall cost. You are responsible for covering any additional costs beyond what is covered through financial aid. Grant and scholarship awards as well as borrowed funds are usually disbursed directly to the school, into your school account, up to twice a year (generally once each semester) to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, and any other educational expenses. In some cases, there will be a surplus that may be disbursed directly to you to pay any remaining educational expenses, which may include a computer, other school supplies, etc.

Submitting a FAFSA

The first step toward receiving any form of state, federal, or institutional financial aid is to fill out your FAFSA by providing your personal information, financial and tax information, and school information. You can do this directly on the Federal Student Aid website after being accepted to Ashford University. If you are under age 24, not married, and don’t have any dependents, you may be considered a dependent student. If so, you will also need your parents’ Social security numbers and tax information to complete your FAFSA. There are no fees associated with submitting a FAFSA.

To submit your FAFSA online, you will need to create a FSA ID first. This is easy to do; all you need is your birthday, name, and Social Security number. Once created, keep your ID in a safe place and don’t share it with anyone. It will act as your digital signature and grant you access to all of your federal financial aid information. Once you have completed and submitted your FAFSA, it takes around six weeks to be processed. You and the school will then receive the details of your federal financial aid package. Ashford University and the state of Iowa also use the FAFSA to determine any additional institutional or state financial aid as well.

Financial aid may come in the form of scholarships, grants, or student loans. The FAFSA is used to determine your expected family contribution, or EFC. This helps to decide how much and what type of aid you will qualify for. You have the choice to accept or deny any amount of aid you are granted. Be careful to only borrow what you need. After accepting a federal financial aid package, you will sign an MPN that highlights your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Keep this in a safe place. You will also need to complete an Entrance Interview that further explains your financial aid package and your responsibilities. You will need to resubmit your FAFSA each year.

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are forms of free money for college expenses that you don’t have to pay back. They are offered by private organizations, non-profits, state, federal, and university agencies. You may qualify based on merit, ethnicity, gender, athletic prowess, club membership, degree program, residency, or many other reasons. Be sure to apply for as many scholarships as you may qualify for.

The Iowa Tuition Grant is one example of a grant offered for Iowa residents taking at least three credit hours at Ashford University. To determine your eligibility, first complete the FAFSA and then contact a counselor in order to ensure you submit all the necessary paperwork. You can also visit the Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD) for more details on state agencies disbursing this and other grants.

Another grant option is the federal Pell Grant, which is for undergraduates seeking their first bachelor’s degree and demonstrating financial need. This grant is offered by the federal government and disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education. You may qualify for as much as $5,815 for the academic year of 2016-2017. Maximum amounts are determined by your financial need, cost of attendance, student status, and plans to attend school all year. These amounts can change yearly.

Federal Student Loans

Long Island University - C.W. Post Students

When grants and scholarships still aren’t quite enough to help you afford college, federal student loans are low-cost options. The William D. Ford Direct Loan Program offers students low and fixed-interest rate loans with flexible repayment plans that are generally deferred until after graduation. With Direct Loans, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. Most Direct Loans are based on financial need.

If you qualify for a subsidized Direct Loan, the government pays your interest for you. With unsubsidized Direct Loans, you are responsible for paying the interest. Depending on your year in school, full-time or part-time status, whether you are a dependent or independent student, and other factors, you may qualify for between $5,500 and $12,500 in subsidized and unsubsidized loans per year as an undergraduate student. The Direct Loan program also offers loans for parents of undergraduate students called PLUS Loans, which require a credit check and may cover the entire remaining cost of attendance after your other financial aid has been subtracted.

Other Sources of Financial Aid

After utilizing all forms of free money open to you and maximizing your federal student loans options, if you still need additional help in affording a higher education, you may look to private student loans. These are generally considered a last option as they are granted from private financial institutions and organizations, and they typically don’t offer as favorable terms as federal loans. Private lenders set their own terms and often use variable interest rates, which can go up over the life of your loan. Most of the time, students will need to use a cosigner to qualify for the best rates. Private loans may not offer as many flexible repayment plans as federal loans either. Ashford University will work with outside lenders if this is your choice, however. You will need to contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Members of the U.S. military, veterans, or their dependents may also qualify for tuition assistance. The Ashford University Military website is a great resource for more details on these programs. There are many resources open to students seeking a college degree or certificate as college costs continue to rise.

 

Types of Student Loans