We all know the daily struggle of finances, especially when you are planning to go into college or already are in college. Let’s be honest –– it’s stressful trying to line up all the money to afford going to a private university, such as Biola University, or really any college. At Biola, students come from a number of different financial situations. Regardless, we all understand that God brought us here for a reason.

MY JOURNEY

For me, college was not easy to afford. However, my family and I made it work (alongside God, of course), and I thought I'd share that journey with you.

Disclaimer: The financial aid process is different for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d encourage you to give the Financial Aid department a call. They’re here to help you!

The price tag for college can seem like a daunting number. What’s cool about Biola though is that they offer Freshman Academic Scholarships. This is directly based off your high school GPA and your SAT or ACT scores. When Biola mails you your acceptance letter, you also receive the amount you have been awarded. Luckily, I was awarded the President’s Scholarship, which helped a lot! This scholarship is renewable if you are able to keep a specific GPA each year.

From there, my family and I sat down and filled out the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid). With this application, the government is able to determine how much federal student financial aid you and your family are eligible for, including various grants, loans, and work-study programs. Again, the amount is different for every person applying. Also, this amount changes every year, so you have to to re-apply for the FAFSA. The FAFSA deadline for Biola is March 2, so I suggest applying as soon as possible in order for you to receive your eligibility earlier and have more time to prepare financially.

Since my dad graduated from Biola, I was also offered an Alumni Dependent Scholarship, which totals to a renewable $1,000 per year scholarship. From there, I decided to take out loans, which is where this part of everyone’s financial aid journey differs immensely. Luckily, I had parents that helped me understand as much as I needed to. If you need help navigating this part of the process, reach out to your admissions counselor or contact Financial Aid. Personally, taking loans out was the right choice, but it all depends on how the decision to take out loans impacts you and your family. For me, I wanted to go to Biola. I felt God calling me here, so I felt that taking out loans was the right decision for me.

It’s also important to understand that estimated tuition is yearly, not by semester. So when I lined up finances for the fall 2017 semester, my scholarships were given to me in half. Biola also offers various payment plans to pay off deposits in chunks to bring the stress down.

When it all came together for me, I still had quite a bit of money to come up with, and I had no idea where to start. SOOOO… I started looking into scholarships. ALL. TYPES. OF. SCHOLARSHIPS.

APPLYING TO SCHOLARSHIPS

Here are few tips I’d like to pass along:

  • Start with departmental. Look into your specific major and see what they offer.
  • Look at your activities. Sports, art, all of the above. You never know.
  • Search for local foundations in your hometown. They often offer scholarships to community-based citizens looking into students that are wishing to further their education at a college. The best way to find these is to be in contact with the administrators or career center at your school. Stop by often and ask about scholarships.
  • Go online and search for scholarships. I recommend FastWeb for legitimate scholarships. Also, Biola’s financial aid site offers plenty of awesome scholarships.

Overall, I must’ve applied to over 100 scholarships: national, local, high school, college, online, all of it. Even then, my family and I still had more to come up with, but at that point, I had come too far to give up. Thankfully, my family had saved up some money to pay off my first semester. I thank God for that everyday.

Now, I work on campus at Biola. I contribute monthly to my savings for college, both towards tuition and other necessities such as textbooks, toiletries, etc. It’s been quite a journey. It’s been stressful. It’s been rewarding. It’s been given to me by God.

Every story is different. This one’s mine and I'm grateful for it. For now, I encourage you to take each step slowly and whole-heartedly trust in God. He will lead you exactly where He wants you to be. He did for me. He will for you.

Til’ next time,

Blogger Holly Changsta

P.S. Call the Financial Aid Department! They will help so much with knowing what to do!

Take a look at our Net Price Calculator! Observe our 2018-2019 estimated tuition! Biola offers really awesome specific scholarships! Don’t forget about grants! De-Stress by watching this awesome video of a guy playing a chopstick piano! And this extremely inspiring video of a 6-year-old girl learning how to kip (cool gymnastic term) for the first time!