Understanding Financial Aid Part Two: Your Options for Aid | ASPIRA City College

At ASPIRA City College, we help make investing in your future possible by making program costs inclusive and keeping tuition in scale and affordable. There is no charge for our financial aid services – no matter how many times you may meet with one of our Financial Aid Counselors.

Our Financial Aid Counselors live and breathe Student Aid, understanding personal money management and what it takes to get through College. They’re ready to walk you through the process and help you with the following:

  • Determining if you qualify
  • Setting up your FSA account
  • Making sense of your aid options and how much assistance you may be eligible to receive
  • Budget planning

Our compassionate Financial Aid Counselors will be able to answer all of your questions about funding your education at ASPIRA City College. Plus, they’ll also help you learn about relevant financial aid policies and practices, so you understand your options and responsibilities at every step of the way.

Federal and State Student Aid

To help you prepare for school, ASPIRA City College outlines some of the federal and state student aid options available to our new and returning students who qualify. These include:

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study is need-based financial aid for eligible students, and it takes the form of a part-time job while attending classes. If a student qualifies, they can become a monitor at ASPIRA City College’s Learning Resource Center, a tutor or peer assistant for our classes, or another available position on campus. Depending on availability, students may also have options for off-campus work-study placements.

Federal Pell Grants

Funded by the U.S. government, Federal Pell Grants help cover tuition and other costs associated with College. Generally reserved for undergraduate students, they are rooted in an income-based system, so if you are a dependent student, it considers both your income and your parents’ income levels. And unlike loans, the money you get from Federal Pell Grants doesn’t need to be paid back.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

An FSEOG is awarded on a limited basis in the range of $100 to $2,000 per award year. Students with the most need based on student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), who also qualify for other aid, are given first consideration for FSEOG. Moreover, these are grants and, therefore, you do not repay them.

Pennsylvania State Grants (PHEAA)

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Grant is applicable to associate (AST and ASB) degree programs. Undergraduate students who have been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least twelve months before the filing deadline are eligible to apply. PHEAA Grants awarded to students to help fund their education. Like other grants, you do not repay PHEAA grants. 

Federal Education Loans

Federal loans are provided by the government specifically for education and are generally flexible overall. The interest rate is typically lower than private loans, and monthly payments may be deferred while in school and for six months after leaving school.

There are a handful of different federal education loans. The loan that’s best for you depends on factors like your financial need, year in school, and whether you have a credit history. These options include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans

Undergrads with financial need can secure a subsidized federal direct loan. The government pays the interest on these loans while you’re in school, in your grace period, or when pausing payments through deferment. ASPIRA City College will tell you whether you’re eligible and how much you can borrow.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans

You don’t need to show financial need to get unsubsidized loans, and they’re an option for both undergrads and graduate students. You’re responsible for paying interest at all times.

  • PLUS Loans

Federal Direct PLUS loans are available to both graduate students and parents. They have higher interest rates and origination fees than other federal loans, and they require a credit check. Borrowers with “adverse credit history” will have a harder time qualifying, but they can apply with an endorser, also known as a co-signer.

Private Education Loans

Banks and other financial institutions make private loans for students. When you apply for private loans, the lender will want to see proof you can repay it, usually in the form of a good credit score. A co-signer can help you qualify, but that person will be responsible for the loan if you can’t pay it back.

Veterans’ Benefits

ASPIRA City College is approved to train veterans under the provision of Title 38, United States Code, and Section 3675. To learn more about our accommodations for veterans, contact our Financial Aid Office to speak with a School Certifying Official.

ASPIRA City College Payment Plans and Tuition Financing

ASPIRA City College offers students a wide range of payment options to bridge the gap, if one exists, between financial aid eligibility and the education investment. ASPIRA tuition financing is made possible through our partnership with Tuition Financing (TFC), a leader in student financing. TFC makes education affordable for all students when otherwise it may not be. Features students find attractive include:

  • No minimum credit score requirement
  • Low-interest rate
  • Monthly repayment based on amount financed, program, and track
  • No pre-payment penalty
  • Ability to review account status and make payments online

Budgeting Assistance

Budgeting is an essential part of being a college student, especially if you don’t have a part-time job. That’s why our Financial Aid Administrator offers resources on budgeting support for students. With a workable budget in place, students can focus on their schoolwork without worrying about financial “what ifs.”

Financial Literacy and Student Loan Management

The Director of Financial Aid conducts an entrance interview with new students and provides them with loan counseling during a financial aid planning session. They’ll also review the rights and responsibilities of borrowing Federal Direct Loans and encourage responsible borrowing practices with the student.

In the last semester of the program, students complete exit loan counseling and an exit interview form. During this time, the Director of Financial Aid offers both group and one-on-one sessions to educate student borrowers and to review previously discussed details on repayment options for the Federal Direct Loan Program.

After graduation, the Director of Financial Aid continues to assist student borrowers throughout the Federal Student Loan repayment period, ensuring they are adequately aware of their responsibilities.

The Power of Being Informed

The power of being informed is the ability to make choices and manage your finances and education deliberately. Generally, prospective students meet with ASPIRA City College twice when they are considering applying or have applied to one of the College’s programs. The first meeting is to provide a comprehensive overview of the student’s eligibility, while the next session is for creating a financial aid plan.

During students’ first year at ASPIRA City College, the Director of Financial Aid makes classroom visits and administers financial literacy materials to ensure that they can fund their education. By being proactive about financial aid, our staff can ensure that no one has the jitters or is left behind as the school year takes off. It all shows our commitment to helping students discover the best way to pay for college.

To learn more, schedule a visit, request more information, or call ASPIRA City College’s Financial Aid Office at 215-455-2300.