U.S. Government raises limits on student financial aid

Associated Press

Associated Press

A new law that takes effect July 1 increases the amount of money available in grants and through a federal loan program for college students.

The maximum yearly Pell Grant will go up by $260 to $4,310, and the annual limit on Stafford Loans for freshmen and sophomores will be raised: $3,500 for freshmen and $4,500 for sophomores.

Loan limits for upperclassmen are not affected.

The Pell Grants don’t have to be repaid, but the Stafford Loans must be repaid.

Ninety-three percent of the students at Northern State University receive some type of financial aid, said Sharon Kienow, financial aid director.

“It’s been right around 90 percent for the last five or six years,” she said.

NSU officials say the estimated cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board for one academic year for a South Dakota resident living on campus is $10,334.

“The price isn’t bad compared to most (other colleges),” said Katie Schaefer, a sophomore elementary and special education major from Leola.

Her education is being funded by scholarships, grants, loans and work. She puts in 40 hours a week between her two part-time jobs, which help her pay her living expenses and give her some spending money.

Attending class, studying and working take up lots of time, she said.

“Both jobs are pretty lenient,” Schaefer said. “If I absolutely need time off, they’ll work with me.”

The amount and type of student aid is based on factors that include the number of children in the family and the amount of money the student’s parents make-even if they don’t contribute toward the tuition.

One of Schaefer’s five siblings will attend college this fall, and she said hopes that will increase the amount of grant money she can receive.

Student loans make up about two-thirds of the financial aid disbursed at NSU.