Now that we are a little bit removed from the application deadline, I figure that it is time for another entry on financial aid. My earlier entry focused on the actual process of applying for aid and this entry is going to highlight what components are used to form a Carnegie Mellon financial aid package.
A financial aid package from Carnegie Mellon is comprised of several different types of aid. First up is grant money in the form of federal, state, or institutional grants. The first two types are government-sponsored grants and the third is provided by Carnegie Mellon itself. Grant money is 'gift' money and does not need to be repaid to the provider.
The second type of aid is federal loan money. Loan money, unlike grants, is the type of aid that does need to be repaid (plus interest). The amount of aid money that can be offered to each student in a financial aid package is capped, so don't expect a $30,000 financial aid package compromised entirely of loans. For instance, for Subsidized Stafford Loans the limit for a first year student in the fall of 2010 is $3,500. (This information is accurate as of August 2009 and is subject to change July 1, 2010.)
The third type of aid is in the form of federal work study. In exchange for work study money, a student works for the university during the academic year. There are a variety of jobs that students can take on campus, ranging from working as an Andrew Ambassador in our office to working for an academic department or staffing a desk outside of the athletics facilities.
The final type of aid you may see in a Carnegie Mellon financial aid package is a Carnegie Scholarship (previously known as the Presidential Scholarship). Carnegie Scholarships are awarded to artistically and academically talented middle income students who qualify for little or no need-based financial aid. In essence, these scholarships have both a need and merit component. In order to be eligible for a Carnegie Scholarship, you must apply for need-based financial aid (the process for which is outlined in an earlier entry).
All right, did you follow all of that? Just a few numbers to give you for some context as well:
~ Average Need Based Package last year: $27,348
~ Average Grant last year: $22,482
~ Average Presidential Scholarship last year: $7,704
If any of the above information is confusing or requires clarification (or if you just have something you want to discuss) please post a comment below.