New Hampshire offers several state-based private loans as well as scholarships and grants. Regardless of your field of study or degree program, you might be able to find numerous options to help you fund your college education in New Hampshire.
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Students in New Hampshire looking to attend college find out quickly that higher education can be very expensive. In fact, the average in-state tuition is just shy of $10,000 per year for undergraduates. Out-of-state graduate students can pay $21,000 yearly on average.
The good news is that if you’re a college-bound student in New Hampshire, you have quite a few options to help pay for school.
Getting Financial Aid for College
Before you make the final decision on where you’d like to attend college, fill out and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA provides the federal government with a complete picture of your and your family’s finances, which helps determine your financial need and expected family contribution, or EFC.
Your FAFSA data is sent to the various schools you’re considering, and the school will compare your EFC to their cost of attendance. The difference is your financial need. Ideally, the school will compile a financial aid package for you that meets that difference. Depending on how much financial need you have, your aid could include grants and federal student loans.
The cost remaining after your financial aid package is applied is your responsibility to pay. You can get an idea of what you’ll end up paying for college by looking at your Student Aid Report, or SAR, and comparing the numbers to your college’s cost of attendance, which the school publishes each year.
If you find that the gap between your financial aid and the cost of attendance is too great, you can turn to other funding options.
New Hampshire Student Loans
The student loan organization in New Hampshire is the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation, but it’s not a lender. Instead, NHHEAF looks to help students, parents, and educators make solid decisions about planning for and financing college. It points students to the federal site, StudentAid.gov, for student loan needs.
Aside from federal loans, private loans are offered through banks and credit unions. They have fewer benefits and generally higher interest rates than federal loans. However, if you’re facing a funding gap, private loans might be a good option. You’ll also need a healthy credit history because private student loans are based on creditworthiness. Without good credit, you will usually need a qualified cosigner.
Here are several private loan options in New Hampshire:
Bank of New Hampshire
Bank of New Hampshire, in business since 1831, offers personal consumer loans that can be used for educational expenses. Unlike a federal loan, you’ll have to start making payments on it immediately. For a $3,000 to $10,000 loan, interest rates start at 12.136%, with a 36-month term. You’ll also pay a $65 processing fee.
Granite State Credit Union
Granite State Credit Union offers Lifestyle Loans that are geared toward any personal expense that you could need financing for, including college. Their rates are competitive, starting at 8.25% for a 36-month loan if you have other products with GSCU as well, such as a checking account, or if you’re making automatic payments. Loan origination fees are $95.
New Hampshire Postal Credit Union
If you or a family member is a New Hampshire Postal Service employee, you can get a student loan through the New Hampshire Postal Credit Union, which partners with the EDvestinU Private Student Loan program. NHPCU loan maximums go up to the cost of attendance minus any previously received financial aid. You can defer payment or just pay the interest while you’re in school. Rates are fixed or variable and are competitive when you have a cosigner.
St. Mary’s Bank
Another EdvestinU partner is St. Mary’s Bank, which offers a minimum $1,000 loan with flexible repayment programs. The loan comes with no upfront fees or prepayment penalties, and all servicing is done in-state.
New Hampshire College Scholarships
If the idea of graduating college with debt doesn’t appeal to you, competing for scholarships could be a better idea. Any money received in a New Hampshire scholarship award doesn’t need to be paid back. Each program has its own requirements and deadlines that you’ll need to pay attention to.
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is the largest public scholarship provider in the state, and awards more than $6 million to students each year in the form of 383 different scholarships. Money is available for certificates, licenses, and other credential programs, as well as degrees from associate to graduate.
David A. Copestakes Memorial Scholarship
The David A. Copestakes Memorial Scholarship is awarded to students who are residents of New Hampshire and attend either Great Bay Community College or NHTI-Concord Community College while studying electronic engineering or biotechnology. The scholarship is $750, and the deadline is Aug. 22 each year.
Scholarships for Orphans of Veterans
New Hampshire students who have a parent who died while serving in the U.S. military in a combat situation can apply for this scholarship. The student must be between 16 to 25 years old. The award is $2,500 and the deadline each year is Sept. 1.
New Hampshire Grants for College
Grants are much like scholarships in that they do not need to be repaid. Unlike scholarships, however, they are awarded on the basis of financial need.
The majority of grants are given by the federal government as part of a student aid package. New Hampshire itself does not have a state grant program. There is, however, a program called UNIQUE that offers an annual allocation to needy New Hampshire residents attending a participating in-state institution.
There is no need to apply. If you are eligible, you’ll be notified at the time of your financial aid package award letter. It’s important that your FAFSA is completed early as the UNIQUE program awards are based on FAFSA data.
Southern New Hampshire University Grants
In an effort to help New Hampshire residents attend college near home, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers two types of grants to residents with demonstrated financial need. The need-based grant program awards between $400 and $14,400 annually to full-time undergraduate students attending day classes.
The SNHU Sibling Grant is awarded to families who have two or more siblings attending an undergraduate program at that school during the same academic year. Both students must be attending SNHU full-time programs with day classes. The total award is $2,500 and is split equally between the siblings.
Author: Jeff Gitlen