Navigating financial aid at Butler University can be a challenge. From the hidden scholarships to the strict deadlines, you must learn the secrets of the Financial Aid Office to get the maximum amount of help. Butler University is an expensive private school, and 90%of the students receive some type of financial aid.
1.) Understand the Hidden Scholarships
If you look in the Butler University Bulletin, you will discover a long list of scholarships. They are mysterious and difficult to obtain. The financial aid office labels them as annual or endowed scholarships, and they generally remain hidden from public view. These scholarships are used to support other financial aid programs, and each department decides how to use them on an annual basis.
You cannot fill out an application or write an amazing essay to get these scholarships. There is no official application process. Instead, each spring, departments work with the school’s financial aid office to see which scholarships they should give out, and the winners receive award letters.
It is important to keep in mind that these annual or endowed scholarships are not the same as the usual merit and talent awards you will see advertised by Butler University. The merit and talent scholarships are generally offered to first year students, and Butler has a specific Freshman Academic Scholarship. In addition, the school has departmental scholarships and audition scholarships for high school students who meet the criteria.
2.) Use Butler University’s Net Price Calculator
Butler University has its own online Net Price Calculator that lets you figure out an estimated financial aid amount. You should not rely on other online calculators to give accurate results. This calculator was developed by the school to give a more precise financial aid estimate.
Before using it, you will need to gather your tax returns from the previous year and W-2 forms. Information from both the student and parents is required. It is a long and detailed process, so you should not expect to finish it in five minutes. The calculator was designed only for first year students, and it will not work well for others.
3.) Understand How Butler University Applies Scholarships
You need to be prepared to see your scholarships split into two pieces with half going to the fall semester and half going to the spring semester. Butler University uses this process for all of its scholarships, and this applies to outside awards you receive.
However, every year, some first year students panic after only seeing half of their expected scholarships appear in their accounts.
4.) Pay Attention to Butler’s Financial Aid Notification (FAN)
Butler University’s Financial Aid Notification (FAN) is one of the most important documents you will receive from the financial aid office. It combines both merit and need based aid into one form, so you know exactly how much money to expect. However, some students confuse the FAN with a bill, and it is simply a notification of the award money.
If you want to receive aid, you cannot ignore the FAN notice. You must go to your online Butler University account and accept or decline each scholarship, loan or award. You will get a prior notice from the financial aid office that the FAN documents will be sent soon. Once they are ready, it is important to pay attention to the deadlines and not miss them.
5.) Report Outside Scholarships to Butler University
Butler University requires you to report all outside scholarships. If you won a local essay contest or received an award from a local charity, the school has to be notified. The school does not include Butler or federal awards in its definition of outside scholarships.
You need to be prepared for your financial aid package to be adjusted based on these outside awards, and you may see other loans or awards go down.
The university allows you to report outside scholarships by using its online system or mailing a letter. The awards must be sent to Butler’s office of financial aid.
However, Butler University makes students responsible for making sure the funds are transferred to their accounts. It will not intervene on your behalf if you have issues with outside scholarship providers.
Once you get a scholarship, make sure to avoid wasting your money over the weekend.
Lana Bandoim is a freelance writer and editor. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Butler University. Her work has been published on websites ranging from Yahoo! News to Life script.