Kansas college students who are looking for ways to fund their education might consider looking into state-based private student loans. There are also several Kansas scholarships and grants that are essentially free money for college.
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College students who want to attend school in Kansas have more than 50 public and private colleges and universities to choose from, all with varied costs and financial aid available. Whether pursuing a business degree at the University of Kansas or studying to become a teacher at Kansas State, college students need to know their options for financing a degree program with the help of financial aid.
Below are several options for loans, scholarships, and grants specific to Kansas college students, as well as information about how to navigate the financial aid process from start to finish.
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Getting Financial Aid for College
Financial aid for school looks different from student to student, but the process is very similar regardless of the college or university one plans to attend. Each student is encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA, before his or her first semester at school.
This financial aid application is a federal process, but it dictates how much aid is available based on a student’s financial situation and family means. Once the FAFSA is submitted, students and their parents have a better idea of what aid is available along with the total cost of attending a college or university for that year.
Schools utilize this information to provide access to scholarships and grants, and any amount not covered may be paid for through federal or private student loans. Information about the FAFSA, how the process works, and what students and parents need to know about the different types of aid can be found at StudentAid.ed.gov.
Kansas Student Loans
The majority of college students who need financial aid in the form of a loan go through the federal government and the Department of Education to receive funding. However, if federal funding does not cover the full cost of attendance, students may opt for a private student loan.
Financial institutions including banks, credit unions, and online lenders make private student loans available to qualified Kansas college students who can meet the eligibility requirements. Students may need a minimum income and a strong credit score to qualify; however, some financial institutions also allow borrowers to add a cosigner to help strengthen an application.
Student loans from both federal and private sources must be repaid after leaving school, so it is essential for college students to understand how much they need to borrow to fulfill their educational aspirations. Below are a few financial institutions offering student loans to Kansas college students.
CoreFirst Bank & Trust
CoreFirst Bank & Trust is a large financial institution offering private student loans to qualified college students in Kansas. The bank has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer the Smart Option Student Loan for undergraduate students. The loan offers three repayment plan options, including an in-school selection, as well as competitive fixed or variable interest rates.
There are no origination fees or application fees for the loan, and borrowers may add a cosigner if they do not meet the qualification requirements alone. Students may also receive an interest rate reduction when they set up automatic payments. The total amount of financing through this private student loan option cannot exceed the full cost of attendance minus other financial aid received.
Mainstreet Credit Union
Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, Mainstreet Credit Union is another option for Kansas student loans. The credit union offers private student loans with an easy application process, fast approval, and competitive interest rates based on the credit history of the borrower.
Students have the option to add a cosigner if needed, and there is a 30-day no-fee return policy if the loan proceeds are not needed or a student finds a better option elsewhere. Mainstreet Credit Union offers in-school and deferred repayment plans for qualified borrowers.
Frontier Community Credit Union
Students in need of financial aid through private student loans may also qualify for funding through Frontier Community Credit Union. As a Kansas-based financial institution, Frontier offers a private student loan option for undergraduate students with the help of Sallie Mae. The private loan option may be approved with either a variable or fixed interest rate, and the option to add a cosigner is available for students without strong income or credit history.
The credit union allows students to select one of three payment options, including a deferred plan, and an interest rate discount is available for those who opt to pay through automatic deductions. The total amount of a Frontier Community Credit Union student loan cannot exceed the total cost of attendance, less other financial aid.
Kansas College Scholarships
College students in Kansas may be eligible for scholarship awards to help fund their educational goals. Scholarship dollars do not need to be repaid over time, but they are only available to students who can show exceptional skill or ability in academics or sports.
Scholarships are offered through colleges and universities directly, public and private organizations, nonprofits, and foundations. Because college scholarships are highly competitive, it is beneficial for students to search and apply for scholarship awards as early and as often as possible. Here are a few scholarships available for Kansas college students.
Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship
Through the Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship, residents of Kansas who plan to attend a state community college or four-year institution may receive $1,850 each year. Students must be part of an ethnic or racial group that is considered a minority, and they must be able to show strong academic performance and financial need.
Students are required to submit an application for the scholarship award through the State of Kansas Student Aid Application on or before May 1 each year.
Kansas State Scholarship
The Kansas State Scholarship awards up to $1,000 per year when students meet financial and academic requirements. The scholarship is available to Kansas high school seniors who plan to attend a Kansas community college or four-year degree program at a Kansas-based institution. Students must submit the FAFSA and the Kansas Student Aid Application by April 1 and May 1 respectively each year to qualify.
Kansas Financial Scholars Essay Scholarship Contest
The Securities Commissioner and Bank Commissioner in Kansas offer the Kansas Financial Scholars Essay Contest each year to eligible Kansas high school seniors. The scholarship award is available to up to five students, with a maximum award of $2,500.
Students must submit an essay that relates to financial literacy in the real world to qualify, and they must plan to attend a Kansas-based college or university. All essay submissions are due by April 3.
Kansas Grants for College
College students in Kansas may also find funding through grant programs. Similar to scholarships for college, grant funds do not need to be repaid over time, so long as the student follows through with any requirements laid out in the grant agreement.
Grants are typically reserved for college students who have a significant financial need, and award amounts and qualification requirements vary greatly for each award. Grant programs are also highly competitive, which makes it important for students to find and apply for funding early in their financial aid search. Below are a few grants available to Kansas college students.
Kansas Comprehensive Grant
The Kansas Comprehensive Grant is an award available to Kansas resident students who are seeking a four-year degree through a participating college or university. The grant amount is dependent on the funding of the program, and eligible students receive grant awards on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Kansas Comprehensive Grant is available to college students who show exceptional financial need based on their FAFSA submission. The deadline for submitting a priority application for funding is December 1.
Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant
Another grant option for Kansas college students is the Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant. This award is available to college students enrolled in or accepted at an eligible career technical education program.
Students may receive up to $1,000 per year, and preference is given to students who have a substantial financial need. Consideration for this grant award is based on the information submitted in the FAFSA, due by the priority deadline of April 1.
Author: Melissa Horton