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    2006-07 Academic Catalog: Scholarships and financial aid

    Students who need financial assistance may find aid through four types of programs: 1) scholarships; 2) grants; 3) loans; and 4) employment. Most loans and grants are awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholastic achievement or leadership experience and skill.

    Since financial needs vary considerably, students are encouraged to discuss their specific needs with the financial aid personnel located in Schultz Hall in Riley Court. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 419-358-3266 and the e-mail address is finaid@bluffton.edu.
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    Guidelines for awards

    Parents (of dependent students), to the extent that they are able, have the primary responsibility to pay for their childís education. Students also are expected to contribute to their educational costs. Bluffton University subscribes to the principle that the amount of financial aid granted a student should be based upon financial need. Eligibility for all federal grants and loans and state need-based grants is determined by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Bluffton University also requires the FAFSA to determine eligibility for need-based institutional aid. In addition, some merit-based financial aid awards are offered in support of the Bluffton University goal of recruiting and retaining a talented and diverse student population.

    The studentís need is determined by subtracting the sum of the expected parental contribution and the expected student contribution (both derived from the FAFSA) from the cost of attending Bluffton University. In addition to tuition and fees, the following estimated costs are included in determining the student expense budget for 2006-07:

    Resident students Commuting students
    Books $ 1100 $ 1100
    Personal expenses 2,100  3,108
    Room & board 7,082
    Total $10,282 $ 4,208

    For independent students, an Independent Student Allowance (ISA) calculated by College Scholarship Service of The College Board is used to determine the student expense budget. This budget includes an allowance for living expenses and dependent care when applicable.

    All aid is disbursed to students through the business office by crediting the studentís account with the attributed amount of aid at the beginning of each billing period.

    Satisfactory academic progress

    Bluffton University monitors student progress toward a degree on a per-term basis for academic and financial aid purposes. Students who meet the academic requirements for continuing their enrollment are eligible for financial aid except when there is a required grade point average for a specific award. A student who drops below the requisite GPA appropriate for their grade level and who is placed on academic probation will be notified by the financial aid office that if they do not achieve the requisite GPA by the end of the next semester financial aid will be suspended.  Financial aid (federal, state, institutional) will not be awarded to students who are not maintaining satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate.

    In addition, Bluffton monitors student progress annually. To be in good standing, a student must successfully complete at least two-thirds of the total hours attempted annually. Ultimately, to receive a degree, a student may attempt up to 183 hours (150 percent of the 124 semester hours required for graduation). A student who does not meet the annual two-thirds requirement will automatically be placed on financial aid probation. Under probation, a student will continue to receive financial aid but must in the next academic year complete at least two-thirds of the total hours attempted (in that year). This probationary period will automatically be offered one time in the student's career at Bluffton University. A student placed on financial aid probation will receive written notification.

    Appeals
    Any student who has been terminated from financial aid as a result of not maintaining satisfactory academic progress has the opportunity to appeal such action to the financial aid appeals committee consisting of the financial aid director, the vice president for enrollment management, the vice president and dean of academic affairs and the registrar. The appeal must be in writing and submitted directly to the financial aid director.

    The appeal may be on the basis of an undue hardship, such as death of a relative or illness of the student, as the cause of the deficient academic progress. If such an appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation, for a maximum of 12 months. During this probation period, students will receive the financial aid for which they are eligible. At the end of the probation period, students whose academic progress meets the requirements will be removed from probation. Students who fail to meet the academic progress requirements will be suspended from receiving financial aid until re-established as outlined below.

    Re-establishing eligibility
    After financial aid has been withdrawn for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress, students may re-establish eligibility by improving their completed courses and grade point averages at their own expense. Students should contact the financial aid office at the end of the next semester in which two-thirds or more of the hours attempted have been completed. Probationary financial aid eligibility will be permitted for an upcoming semester. When two-thirds of the courses attempted have been completed in two consecutive semesters, the student is taken off of financial aid probation.

    Application procedures

    Entering students seeking financial aid are required to submit the FAFSA designating Bluffton University as one of the recipients. Electronic submission of the FAFSA, FAFSA on the Web (FOTW), is the preferred method for completing the FAFSA. The Web address is http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

    Paper FAFSA application forms are available from the studentís high school or the Bluffton University financial aid office. If filing electronically and prior to completing FOTW, both a student and at least one parent are encouraged to apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The PIN serves as the electronic signature, and, if obtained prior to filing FOTW, considerable time can be saved in receiving FAFSA results. The PIN Web site is: http://www.pin.ed.gov/. The federal school code for Bluffton University is 003016.

    Returning upper-class students seeking continued financial assistance are required to submit the FAFSA designating Bluffton University as the recipient. Returning students who filed a FAFSA in the preceding year are encouraged to use their PIN and file their renewal FAFSA electronically.

    Students go to the FOTW website, http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/, and select Renewal FAFSA. Once the student enters his/her PIN, information from the prior year populates the application, and updating the information is all that is required. Parents of dependent returning students who donít already have a PIN are encouraged to obtain one at http://www.pin.ed.gov/ so that their signature can be submitted electronically on the renewal FAFSA. Returning students who do not file electronically may obtain a paper FAFSA from the financial aid office.

    Bluffton University participates in the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) program established by the federal department of education. A student completes the FAFSA and lists Bluffton University to receive her/his data. The FAFSA data is then transmitted electronically to the financial aid office and merged with other pertinent information. Whether a student filed initially on paper or electronically, corrections can be made on the Web at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Corrections can also be made electronically by the financial aid office. Whether made by the student or the financial aid office, correction results are sent both to the student and to the financial aid office. A financial aid award notice is generated and sent to the accepted or continuing student when FAFSA data is received and required documentation is on file.

    Returning upper-class students seeking to continue financial assistance must re-apply for any type of aid. The amount of financial assistance awarded each year will depend upon the studentís continuing need for aid and the amount of funds available to the university. (Presidential scholarships, academic honors scholarships, academic distinction scholarships, tuition equalization scholarships, community enrichment grants, out-of-state grants, music and art scholarships, international grants, minister/missionary grants, transfer scholarships and leadership/service grants are awarded for a maximum of four years to students who continue to qualify. Need must be re-established annually.) University-funded, non-repayable aid will not be awarded beyond what is needed to meet the total college expense budget.

    Deadlines
    Students should be aware of application deadlines established by off-campus sources of aid including state and federal agencies. These deadlines are announced about one year before the beginning of the academic year. Because of limited resources, the State of Ohio maintains an October 1 deadline for Ohio need-based aid (the Ohio Instructional Grant and the Ohio College Opportunity Grant).  Bluffton University need-based aid is also limited.  Therefore, Bluffton University maintains a FAFSA priority deadline of May 1 for both new and returning students.  This means that any student filing the FAFSA after May 1 could be denied need-based funds administered by Bluffton University if funds have been depleted.  This May 1 priority deadline is in effect for federal campus-based programs (federal Perkins loans, FSEOG grants and federal work-study) and for Bluffton University need-based grants.  The final FAFSA deadline for these Bluffton administered programs is October 1 of the current academic year.  These funds will not be awarded after this date.

    Bluffton University scholarships and grants

    Current information about any of the programs listed below can be found at:
    www.bluffton.edu/admission/financialaid/

    Scholarship for National Merit Finalists
    National Merit Scholarship finalists who plan to attend Bluffton University will be awarded an academic honors scholarship that ranges from $5,000 to $9,500 per year. Continuation of the scholarship is dependent upon maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.2, calculated at the end of each academic year.

    Scholarship for Ohio Academic Scholars
    Ohio Academic Scholars who plan to attend Bluffton University will be awarded an academic honors scholarship that ranges from $5,000 to $9,500 per year. Continuation of the scholarship is dependent upon maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.2, calculated at the end of each academic year.

    Endowed scholarship
    Through the generosity of friends of Bluffton University, a number of endowed scholarships have been established. Unless designated otherwise by the donors, these are awarded on the basis of academic merit. Income from most of these scholarship funds is used to support the universityís regular scholarship programs. Students need not apply for these scholarships; all students are considered in determining scholarship eligibility.
    List of Bluffton University endowed scholarships

    Tuition equalization scholarship program
    This scholarship program is designed to make a Bluffton University education more affordable to academically talented students. Scholarship recipients are guaranteed that 100 percent of their demonstrated need, up to direct cost, will be met from all available resources (excluding parent or alternative loans).

    This scholarship guarantees that qualified students will receive non-repayable aid from Bluffton University, the Student Choice Grant, and a campus job equal to the difference between tuition at Bluffton University and the average tuition at select four-year public institutions in Ohio during the previous academic year. The dollar amount awarded is fixed and will be guaranteed for a maximum of four years of full-time study as long as scholarship requirements are met. Church grants and the university match and outside grants and scholarships are additional and will be added to the initial guarantee. State and federal need-based grants will also be added to the initial guarantee (except that the combination of Bluffton University grants and scholarships and state and federal grants will not exceed tuition).

    To qualify, students must meet regular admission requirements, achieve a minimum ACT composite of 23 or a minimum SAT I composite of 1050, and rank in the top 25 percent of their class or achieve a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students also must submit the FAFSA and register as full-time, first-time residential (living in university residence halls) first-year students. To continue in the program and be guaranteed the non-repayable aid, students must maintain full-time status, be residential and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher calculated at the end of each academic year.
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    Academic distinction scholarship
    The academic distinction scholarship program is an enhanced tuition equalization scholarship program for superior students. Academic distinction scholarship recipients receive an $1,000 additional scholarship beyond the traditional tuition equalization guarantee. Scholarship recipients are also guaranteed that 100 percent of their demonstrated need, up to direct cost, will be met from all available resources (excluding parent or alternative loans).

    To qualify, students must meet regular admission requirements, achieve a minimum ACT composite of 25 or a minimum SAT I composite of 1140, and achieve a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.  Recipients must also submit the FAFSA, register as full-time students, enroll as first-time students and be residential students. Academic distinction scholarship students must maintain a 3.2 GPA (calculated at the end of each academic year) in order to keep the award.

    Academic distinction recipients who are accepted for admission at Bluffton University by January 1 each year are also eligible to compete in the Presidential Scholarship Competition usually held on a Saturday in late January.  Two winners from this competition will each receive a full-tuition renewable scholarship.

    Commuting and/or transfer students who meet the initial and continuing academic criteria for the academic distinction scholarship will be eligible for an academic distinction scholarship award of $4,000. Part-time students who qualify will receive a prorated academic distinction scholarship.

    Academic honors scholarship
    The academic honors scholarship program is an enhanced
    tuition equalization scholarship program for superior students. Academic honors scholarship recipients receive a $2,000 additional scholarship beyond the traditional tuition equalization guarantee. Scholarship recipients are also guaranteed that 100 percent of their demonstrated need, up to direct cost, will be met from all available resources (excluding parent or alternative loans).

    To qualify, students must meet regular admission requirements, achieve a minimum ACT composite of 27 or a minimum SAT I composite of 1220, and achieve a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale.  Recipients must also submit the FAFSA, register as full-time students, enroll as first-time students and be residential students. Academic honors scholarship students must maintain a 3.2 GPA (calculated at the end of each academic year) in order to keep the award.

    Academic honors recipients who are accepted for admission at Bluffton University by January 1 each year are also eligible to compete in the Presidential Scholarship Competition usually held on a Saturday in late January.  Two winners from this competition will each receive a full-tuition renewable scholarship.

    Commuting and/or transfer students who meet the initial and continuing academic criteria for the academic honors scholarship will be eligible for an academic honors scholarship award of $5,000. Part-time students who qualify will receive a prorated academic honors scholarship.

    Presidential scholarship
    A minimum of two full-tuition scholarships are awarded annually to students who are the winners of a scholarship competition held at Bluffton University.

    Full-tuition is comprised of scholarship/grant aid from Bluffton University and any state programs that must be used for tuition (e.g., Ohio Choice and Ohio Instructional Grant programs). Other need-based grant programs and outside grants and scholarships, including church grants, will be added on to the full-tuition guarantee up to the full cost of attendance at Bluffton University. In the event that scholarship and grant awards exceed the full cost of attendance, scholarship money from Bluffton University must be reduced.

    The competition is held during the spring semester, by invitation only, for high school seniors who have been accepted by Bluffton University and meet published minimum requirements for the competition. A presidential scholarship student must maintain a 3.2 GPA (calculated at the end of each academic year) in order to keep the award.
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    Transfer scholarship (also called the Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship)
    Students transferring to Bluffton University with a college 3.0 cumulative GPA with at least 23 quarter hours or 15 semester hours will be awarded a scholarship of $4,000. To continue in the program, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher calculated at the end of each academic year.

    Transfer honors scholarship (also called the Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Honors Scholarship)
    Students transferring to Bluffton University with a college 3.5 cumulative GPA with at least 23 quarter hours or 15 semester hours and a minimum ACT composite of 23 or SAT I composite of 1050 will be awarded a scholarship of $5,000. To continue in the program, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher calculated at the end of each academic year.

    Alumni scholarship program
    Scholarships funded by the National Alumni Association are awarded annually to students who: 1) present evidence of need; and 2) maintain a grade-point average of 2.0, or in the case of an entering first-year student, are in the upper half of their high school class. The number and value of scholarships are determined each year.

    Bluffton incentive scholarship
    A scholarship of $3,500 is automatically awarded to any first-time, first-year student who has a high school GPA of 2.8 and 21 ACT/970 SAT. To continue in the program, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher calculated at the end of each academic year. A unique feature of this program is the opportunity to have the scholarship increase. If the student maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, calculated at the end of an academic year, the total scholarship will be increased by $500. Note that the incentive scholarship program cannot be combined with other university scholarship programs.

    Bluffton opportunity grant
    These grants augment other financial aid sources and self-help when need is substantial and other sources do not adequately cover the need. Eligibility for this need-based grant is automatically calculated when the student files the FAFSA each year.  A Bluffton opportunity grant for an individual student may vary from year to year because it is based on FAFSA results.  Funds are limited and new and returning students are encouraged to file the FAFSA by May 1 to ensure availability of funds. Please note that a Bluffton opportunity grant will not be awarded after the October 1 FAFSA filing deadline established by the university.  If eligibility requirements are met as a result of filing the FAFSA, a Bluffton opportunity grant will be awarded as long as satisfactory progress is maintained. 

    Bluffton out-of-state grant
    This grant is awarded automatically to new students and transfer students who reside in a state other than Ohio. The grant is equivalent to the value of the Ohio Student Choice Grant.  To receive and maintain the grant, the student must be full-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress. The dollar amount is fixed and is awarded for a maximum of four years. No application forms are required for an eligible student to receive this grant.

    Canadian students program
    Canadian students receive a ďCanadian exchange discountĒ for tuition, room and board based on the current exchange rate. Additional scholarship funds may be available based on secondary school academic achievement. Contact the admissions office for more information.

    Church-college scholarship
    A number of churches provide financial assistance for their members who are attending Bluffton University. Churches participating in this program send money to the university to be applied toward a studentís expenses. For students whose churches have approved programs, the university will match each dollar up to $1,000, and one dollar for every four dollars above $1,000 (not to exceed tuition when combined with other university, state and/or federally funded grants or scholarships). Part-time students receiving church scholarship grants will be awarded a pro-rated Bluffton University match.
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    Community enrichment scholarship program
    Each year a maximum of 10 new students from backgrounds which are under-represented at Bluffton University are guaranteed $3,000 in non-repayable aid (excluding a campus job) and may receive up to full tuition (may include a campus job), depending on need (the FAFSA must be filed). If the grant minimum of $3,000 is met from other sources, a community enrichment scholarship of $500 will be awarded.  Details about this program are available from the Bluffton University admissions office.

    Applicants must be regularly admitted and must submit the community enrichment scholarship program application form, which may be obtained from the admissions office. Continuation of this grant requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 at the end of the first year, 2.3 at the end of the sophomore year and 2.5 at the end of the junior year.

    Deanís scholarship
    This program recognizes students who excel academically after entering Bluffton University as first-time or transfer students. A scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded in the upcoming year to any full-time student who achieves a cumulative Bluffton University GPA of 3.5 at the end of a complete academic year. A deanís scholarship can only be awarded to a student who does not already have a Bluffton University scholarship or grant award (exceptions: out-of-state choice grant, church match, minister/missionary grant or opportunity grant).

    The scholarship is renewable for a maximum equivalent of two years because a student can only qualify after one year of enrollment. To renew the scholarship, a recipient must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2, calculated at the end of each academic year.

    Dependent child or spouse of ministers/missionaries
    A grant of at least $1,000  will be awarded to a student who is: 1) a dependent child or spouse of a minister/missionary in active service; and 2) pursuing a degree program at the university. Minister is usually defined as someone who is responsible for a congregation and whose principal income is provided by the church; missionary is usually defined as someone in foreign service whose primary source of income or support comes from a recognized mission board or agency. A minimum of three years service or commitment to service is required. To receive or continue to receive the award, active service is required in the year(s) the grant is awarded.

    International student
    Bluffton University is able to offer financial aid to international students, generally no more than half-tuition. This can be a combination of need-based and merit-based aid. Need-based aid is determined through the declaration of finances form, which is included in Bluffton's application material. Merit-based aid is awarded based on high school/university performance and SAT scores. A student receiving any international scholarship or grant is required to live on campus.

    Leadership/service grant
    This program, with an annual award of $3,500, recognizes those students - first-year and transfer - who have made significant contributions in co-curricular and service activities. Also, it encourages similar endeavors at Bluffton University.

    Applicants must be regularly admitted and must have made outstanding leadership/service contributions in their school, church or community. Applicants must submit the leadership/service grant application form, which may be obtained from the admissions office. Grant decisions are made as applications are completed. New freshman and transfers, who are not receiving other university-funded grants or scholarships are eligible for leadership/service grant consideration.

    Continuation of this grant requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 at the end of the first year, 2.3 at the end of the sophomore year and 2.5 at the end of the junior year.

    Renewal policy for Bluffton University scholarships/grants
    Enrolled students, receiving Bluffton University scholarships and grants that have a GPA requirement for renewal, are reminded in writing each January regarding GPA requirements for their scholarship. A student who loses his/her scholarship for an upcoming academic year because of falling below a GPA requirement can regain the scholarship if at the end of the next academic year (or the next two semesters of full-time work) the student has attained the required GPA (at the studentís new grade level).  Bluffton University grants and scholarships will be awarded for a maximum of four years (eight semesters) except where noted.

    Student employment

    Bluffton University has a wide variety of student employment opportunities open to students through the Learn and Earn Program. These include office and secretarial work, laboratory work, library work, food service work, janitorial work and building and grounds work. Students can earn approximately $1,350 by working eight hours per week at minimum wage. Returning students who remain in their current job for the following year or work in a job related to their major field may be eligible for a merit-based pay increase each year of $.25 per hour. Inquiries about the Learn and Earn program may be directed to the financial aid office.

    Students are paid monthly for working on campus. Complete information about terms of employment is provided with the student employment work agreement. The federal programs including federal work-study, community service, America Reads and America Counts are all administered under the Learn and Earn Program at Bluffton University.
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    Some students also find part-time employment in the town of Bluffton. The Career Development Center posts local job openings on a bulletin board in Marbeck Center.

    State grant and scholarship programs

    A complete list and description of Ohio financial aid programs can be found at:
    www.regents.state.oh.us/sgs/.

    Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)
    This grant was awarded beginning in 2006-07 to first-time students only and eventually will replace the Ohio Instructional Grant as it is phased in over the next few years.  Ohio residents who will be new students in 2006-07 must file the FAFSA to have eligibility determined.  Part-time awards are also available.  The OCOG grant is awarded to students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of between 0000 and 2190 (as long as the total family income is not greater than $75,000).  Award amounts vary by sector (private, public or career institutions).  Benefits are restricted to the student's instructional and general fee charges.  Students apply for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the State of Ohio's deadline of October 1 each year.  The OCOG program will not be awarded for more than five years of full-time study or part-time equivalent.  The OCOG program supports a continuous enrollment provision.  An OCOG recipient can receive the grant for two full semesters and for the summer term prior to the award year in which eligibility is determined.  Note that any student enrolled prior to the 2006-2007 award year will have eligibility determined for the Ohio Instructional Grant (OIG).

    Ohio Instructional Grant
    The Ohio Instructional Grant Program (OIG) provides need-based tuition assistance to full-time undergraduate students from low and moderate income families. This program will only be awarded to eligible students who began their college career prior to the 2006-07 academic year.  Recipients must be Ohio residents. This program is intended to expand access to higher education by bringing the cost of college within reach of more Ohio families. Awards are based on family income with consideration given to the number of dependents in the family. Award amounts vary by sector (private, public or career institutions).  Awards at Bluffton University for the 2006-07 academic year range from $444 to $5,466. Students apply for the OIG grant by completing the FAFSA and a letter of eligibility is sent to the student from the Ohio Board of Regents in Columbus. The application deadline is October 1 of each year. The OIG will not be awarded for more than five years of full-time study. The OIG program supports a continuous enrollment provision. An OIG recipient can receive the grant for two full semesters and for the summer term prior to the award year in which eligibility is determined. Full-time status is required to receive guaranteed OIG benefits in any term.

    Part-time Ohio Instructional Grant program
    This program provides financial assistance to Ohio residents who are enrolled for part-time undergraduate study. Eligibility is based on financial need (the FAFSA must be filed). Bluffton University selects recipients of these benefits and determines the amount of each award within guidelines approved by the Ohio Board of Regents. Interested students should contact the Bluffton University financial aid office. Part-time OIG funds are limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Ohio Student Choice Grant
    This grant provides financial assistance to full-time students enrolled for baccalaureate study in Ohio private non-profit colleges and universities. Recipients must be Ohio residents. This program assists in narrowing the tuition gap between the stateís public and private non-profit colleges and universities.

    Eligibility for the Ohio Student Choice Grant is not based on need or academic merit. The amount of the Ohio Student Choice Grant for the 2006-07 academic year is $900. No application is required for this program. To be eligible, the student cannot have previously been enrolled in a college/university full-time prior to July 1, 1984. This grant is awarded for a maximum of five years of full-time study.

    Ohio Academic Scholarship program
    This program provides competitive, merit-based financial assistance to the stateís most academically outstanding high school graduates who enroll for full-time undergraduate study in Ohio institutions of higher education. This program provides an incentive for students to remain in Ohio. Each year, at least one Ohio Academic Scholarship is awarded to a student from each participating chartered high school in the state. Eligibility for these awards is determined by a selection formula which considers a studentís high school grade-point average and scores from the ACT assessment. Scholarships provide $2,205 for 2006-07 and are awarded for up to four years of study. Application is made through the studentís high school guidance office.

    Ohio War Orphans Scholarship program
    This program awards tuition assistance to the children of deceased or severely disabled Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a period of declared war or conflict. To receive War Orphans Scholarship benefits, a student must be enrolled for full-time undergraduate study. Ohio residency is required. Applicants must be under the age of 21. Scholarship benefits go toward instructional fee charges at Bluffton University.

    Application is made to the Ohio Board of Regents/State Grants and Scholarships Department. Applications are available from the Ohio Board of Regents/State Grants and Scholarships Department, high school guidance offices, veterans service offices and the Bluffton University financial aid office. The application deadline is July 1 of each year. The award amount for recipients at Bluffton University in the 2006-2007 award year is $5,100.

    Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund
    This program provides tuition assistance to the children and spouses of Ohio peace officers, fire fighters and certain other safety officers who are killed in the line-of-duty, anywhere in the United States. Recipients may enroll for full-time or part-time study at Bluffton University. The fund provides benefits which cover a portion of instructional fees. The amount is $3,990 at Bluffton in 2006-07. Interested students should contact the Bluffton University financial aid office or the Ohio Board of Regents/State Grants and Scholarships Department.

    Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship program
    This program awards financial assistance to students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement in high school. Recipients are selected on the basis of class rank, high school grades, test scores and participation in leadership activities. At least one scholarship is awarded in each of Ohioís congressional districts. Scholarships are renewable for up to four years.

    Application is made in the senior year of high school. Applications are available from high school guidance counselors. The application deadline is the second Friday in March.

    Federal programs

    Federal Pell Grant
    The federal government funds these need-based grants ranging from $400 to $4,050 per year assuming full funding. Students apply for this grant by filing the FAFSA.

    As a result of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act (HERA) of 2005, two new grant programs have been created. The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) program is for first and second year students and the national Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grant program is for juniors and seniors.  These programs are in effect beginning with the 2006-07 academic year.  To be eligible for either program, a student must be enrolled full-time at a two or four year institution, be a U.S. citizen and a Pell grant recipient.  Additional eligibility requirements are in effect for both programs.  More information will be posted on the Bluffton University financial aid web site as it becomes available.

    Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
    The FSEOG program is funded by the federal government to provide educational opportunity to qualified college students with exceptional financial need. A limited number of grants ranging from $700 to approximately $1,200 per year are awarded by the financial aid office. Students must be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant to also be considered for the FSEOG.

    Student and family loans

    Through the Higher Education Act (1965), the federal government has embarked on an extensive loan program for college students. As a result of reauthorization (July 1992), virtually any student can borrow under the Federal Stafford Loan program, regardless of need.

    Students who file the FAFSA receive information on eligibility and how to apply for the student Stafford and parent PLUS loans with their initial award letter. Related procedures, including the estimated amounts and dates of disbursement, are also sent with the award letter or can be obtained upon request from the financial aid office. Bluffton University participates in these programs using both electronic loan processing and electronic funds transfer (EFT). EFT allows the loan servicer to electronically submit the proceeds from the lender to Bluffton University where they are automatically credited to the studentís account.

    Federal Stafford Loan program
    (formerly the Guaranteed Student Loan program)

    Students are eligible to borrow up to the following levels as long as the cost of attendance is not exceeded when coupled with other financial aid.  Fees for the federal Stafford loan may apply and are subject to change.  The following eligibility amounts are in effect for a student borrower regardless of when he or she began his or her college career:
    2006-07 2007-08
    First year $2,625 $3,500
    Sophomores $3,500 $4,500
    Juniors or seniors $5,500 $5,500

    To secure loan funds from the Federal Stafford Loan program, new students are encouraged to apply online, following instructions in the Guide to Apply form sent with the initial award letter. The Bluffton University financial aid office will receive notification that the student has applied for the loan.  The Master Promissory Note (MPN) may be signed using the federal PIN number, the same PIN used when filing the FAFSA.  A paper MPN may also be requested.  The student will also be required to complete an Entrance Interview covering rights and responsibilities, which can be completed online.  Funds cannot be disbursed to a new student's account until both the MPN and entrance interview are complete. 

    Returning students who have borrowed under the Stafford loan program previously at Bluffton will have their loan listed on their award letter certified automatically if the FAFSA has been filed and all other eligibility requirements have been met.

    The funds will be disbursed to the student's account at the beginning of each semester or in a timely manner if the loan has been certified after a term has started. In the event a student is no longer enrolled when a loan request is received, the loan cannot be processed according to federal regulations. Bluffton University utilizes the serial aspect of the MPN which requires only one MPN to secure future loans for a student after the date it is originally signed. As long as a student does not change lenders, she/he will only have to complete a MPN once while at Bluffton University.

    To be eligible to borrow under this program, a student must file the FAFSA, be enrolled at least half-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. Payment on the principal is deferred until the student leaves college.  Repayment of Stafford loans begins 6 months after the student graduates, withdraws or drops below half-time enrollment status.  All loans disbursed after July 1, 2006, will have a fixed rate of 6.8%.  A variable interest rate, capped at 8.25%, will remain in effect for all prior loans.  This variable rate is adjusted every July 1.  Stafford loan proceeds will be disbursed to the student's account at the beginning of each semester. 

    If need is determined, eligibility will be in the subsidized Stafford program with the interest paid by the federal government during the in-school period and during a six-month grace period after the student leaves college or drops below half-time enrollment.

    Students who do not demonstrate need will be eligible for the unsubsidized Stafford loan with the principal deferred (as with the subsidized Stafford) but interest is the responsibility of the student during the entire life of the loan. Students may inquire about these loans by contacting the financial aid office.

    Federal Perkins Loan
    Bluffton University also participates in the low interest, need-based Federal Perkins Loan program. To be considered for eligibility, a student must file the FAFSA and have demonstrated financial need.

    The interest rate on the Federal Perkins loan is 5 percent. Repayment begins following a nine-month grace period after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. The minimum quarterly payment is $120 and borrowers have a maximum of 10 years to repay.

    Federal Parent PLUS Loan
    The federal PLUS Loan for parents of dependent students was also revised and expanded during the 1992 reauthorization. As a result, parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to the studentís cost of attendance, minus other financial aid.

    Parents must fill out a separate Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each dependent student for whom they are applying.  The PLUS loan is subject to a 3% origination fee when disbursed.

    PLUS repayment usually begins 60 days after the final disbursement, with a 10-year repayment period.  Interest begins accumulating at the time of the first disbursement.  All loans disbursed after July 1, 2006, will have a fixed rate of 8.5%.  The variable interest rate will remain in effect for all prior loans.  This interest rate is adjusted each year on July 1 and can never exceed 9%.  A PLUS Loan request, although sent to and certified by Bluffton, is approved or denied by the lender. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is available for the PLUS loan program.  Instructions about how to borrow under the federal parent PLUS loan program and eligibility amounts are sent with the initial award letter of both new and continuing dependent students.  Additional information about the PLUS loan can be obtained by contacting the financial aid office at Bluffton University.

    Alternative loans
    Several lending institutions offer alternative loans to students and families. Various options and terms apply which should be weighed carefully before any commitment is made. The MPN is not available for many of the alternative loan programs, so borrowers will usually be required to complete a new application/ promissory note for each loan requested. The availability of EFT for alternative loans will vary according to the policies and procedures of each program. The financial aid office can provide information upon request or students can contact their local lenders for information.

    Except where noted, all above figures are for 2006-07 and are subject to change for subsequent years.  For current information, visit the Bluffton University financial aid Web site.