The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis awards interest-free loans and grants to help qualifying students overcome financial barriers to higher education. Through its Student Advising Program, the Foundation also assists students and families through the complex process of applying for postsecondary admission and financial aid and familiarizes them with economic factors that affect students’ educational options and decisions.
“Interest-free” means that recipients pay no additional charges in connection with the amounts they borrow from The Scholarship Foundation for higher education. There are no interest charges, no fees, and no origination or servicing costs added to the amount of the loan.
Other providers of education loans, whether government sources or private companies, add interest charges and various fees to the amount borrowed.
Need-based aid is any kind of financial assistance that considers an individual’s or family’s financial circumstances in determining whether to award aid and how much to award. The Scholarship Foundation’s interest-free loans and grants are need-based financial aid.
Yes. The Foundation administers many different interest-free loan funds and grant programs.
Most students will only need to file one application to The Scholarship Foundation to be automatically considered for all of The Scholarship Foundation’s financial aid programs. However, for several special grants and scholarships, students will need to complete applications for each of these opportunities. For example, nursing students can apply for both a Scholarship Foundation loan and a Deaconess Foundation Nursing Scholarship. Applications clearly indicate the requirements.
Two main sources of revenue support the educational mission of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis:
- Repayments of student loans by previous borrowers, which are recycled into new loans to new students who qualify for need-based financial aid.
- Private contributions from individuals, corporations, and other philanthropic organizations.
There is one application cycle each year. Applications are accepted from January 1 through April 15 for funding for the subsequent fall and spring semesters of a full academic year. Note: If April 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the application deadline is the first business day after the 15th.
The maximum interest-free loan that qualifying students may receive is $11,000 per academic year. The amount of an individual’s award depends on his or her particular financial need. The average annual loan award for students was just over $8,600 in 2020. There is a lifetime maximum loan limit of $55,000.
First, the Foundation looks at the total cost of education at the institutions listed on a student’s application. This includes tuition, fees, room and board, and personal expenses such as transportation and clothing.
Then the Foundation subtracts any grants or scholarships the applicant will receive from other sources.
Finally, the Foundation subtracts the Expected Family Contribution figure calculated for the student by the U.S. Department of Education (see EFC below).
The remainder represents the amount the student needs in order to attend the schools cited on his or her Scholarship Foundation application.
In the majority of cases, the applicants who receive financial aid awards from The Scholarship Foundation will have an EFC of $3,000 or less, which indicates profound financial need. Students with EFCs over $15,000 must have significant and extenuating circumstances to be considered.
For-profit schools are institutions operated by private, profit-seeking businesses. Many other colleges are not-for-profit and are state affiliated, independent, or operated by religious orders and groups.
Scholarship Foundation funding cannot be used at for-profit schools for several reasons. First, there are concerns about the affordability and future debt burden for students. Costs are high and the debt load is often steep. Many times similar programs are offered at other not-for-profit institutions for a more affordable cost. Second, program integrity is of concern; accreditation is sometimes provisional or under scrutiny. Third, transferability of credits from for-profit institutions to a not-for-profit one can be challenging. This often leaves a student in a tough spot having paid for credits that cannot be used anywhere else. Fourth, employment rates for students who graduate from for-profit institutions are lower than those who attend not-for-profit schools.
Students applying for Scholarship Foundation funding need to be aware of one possible outcome: a conditional denial for too much financial need. This letter is sent to applicants for whom there is concern about significant debt. When reviewing applications and making awards, The Scholarship Foundation expects a student will borrow no more than $11,000 per year and that this debt will be covered entirely by The Scholarship Foundation’s interest-free, fee-free loan. Students who receive this letter are able to appeal this decision if they are able to secure additional grant or scholarship aid, have other resources available to help reduce their costs, or are willing to consider a college or university that is more affordable to minimize debt burden.
The Foundation notifies applicants of its decision via emails and letters mailed to the permanent address listed on a student’s application. Please check your email regularly.
No. The Scholarship Foundation awards its loans directly to students. Students are selected on the basis of their personal character, academic potential, and financial need. The loans are renewable each year based on the student’s continuing financial need and academic progress. Parents are not responsible for repayment of a student’s interest-free loan from The Scholarship Foundation. Nor may parents borrow from the Foundation on behalf of a student.
Typically, no. Although The Scholarship Foundation reserves the right to request students' and/or parents’ tax records in order to verify information provided in the Student Aid Report.
If an applicant is independent for purposes of Federal Student Aid, he/she would not be asked to submit parents’ tax records. There are several definitions of “independent” in this context. They are: a person who will be 24 years old by December 31 of the year in which he or she applies for financial aid; a person whose parents are deceased; a person who is a ward of a court; a parent with legal dependents; a person who is married; someone who has earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution; or a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States.
For borrowers graduating in 2021 or later, the repayment schedule and monthly payment amounts are calculated by using anticipated earnings data published for the student's degree and school, deducting a standard living allowance, and then calculating a monthly payment of 15% of remaining anticipated discretionary income. Payments are scheduled over the number of months required to repay in full. For borrowers graduating prior to 2021, the total amount borrowed was divided into 60 equal monthly payments to be paid over five years.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the general application that eligible* students must submit in order to be considered for educational financial aid from the United States government. Federal financial aid programs include Pell Grants, Direct (Stafford) Loans, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and others.
All eligible students who need financial assistance for higher education should complete and submit this form to the U.S. Department of Education as soon as possible after October 1 of every year in which they want to receive financial assistance. The form may be submitted by mail or online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Online filing is strongly recommended.
The FAFSA is required by most state need-based financial aid programs and by most financial aid offices with need-based aid to award students. The Scholarship Foundation encourages students to complete the FAFSA application as early as possible for consideration of time sensitive financial-aid award opportunities as some forms of institutional and federal aid are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
*If you are unable to file a FAFSA for any reason, please contact a member of The Scholarship Foundation’s Student Advising Program. Our team can assist you with identifying financial aid opportunities that are available to you to help cover the cost of college.
The FSA ID is a Federal Student Aid Identification, a username and password that students and parents use to access and electronically sign Department of Education website documents, in particular the FAFSA. The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and should not be shared with anyone, including family, school personnel, loan servicers, or contact center agents. Students should create an FSA ID using personal information for exclusive use. Students are not authorized to create an FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member. To create an FSA ID, please click here: https://fsaid.ed.gov
Parents who need to electronically sign their child’s FAFSA must create a separate FSA ID. For parents who have more than one child attending college, they can use the same FSA ID to sign all of their applications.
For assistance with the FSA ID, or additional information regarding the FAFSA log in process, please click here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid#fsaid-intro or contact Student Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAR stands for Student Aid Report. It is a summary of an applicant’s financial situation produced by the U.S. Department of Education; this is the processed summary upon completion of the FAFSA. The SAR contains information that helps financial aid professionals, including those at The Scholarship Foundation, assess an applicant’s financial situation. Students applying for a Scholarship Foundation interest-free loan must include a copy of their SAR with their application.
If you are unable to file a FAFSA for any reason, please contact The Scholarship Foundation at email@example.com or (314) 725-7990 to obtain an alternate Needs Assessment Form, which may be submitted as a substitute.
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. As part of their review of a person’s FAFSA, the Department of Education uses a mathematical formula established by Congress to determine the amount that an individual or family should be able to pay toward annual higher education costs. The EFC is a key piece of information included on the SAR. It is not the amount that a person must pay to the school he or she will attend, but it is crucial in determining a person’s financial need.
Yes. The borrower must fill out an Authorization Form for Direct Payments (ACH/Debit) and submit it to the Foundation, along with a voided check from the relevant bank account. Payments will be deducted from the account automatically on the 15th day of each month, or the first business day after the 15th if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
Borrowers may apply for an in-school deferment if enrolled in a postsecondary program at least halftime by completing an Educational Deferment Request form or apply temporarily for a reduced monthly payment or financial hardship deferment due to unemployment or a medical condition by completing a Student Loan Repayment Assessment Form.
No. A loan recipient who takes at least six credit hours of course work each semester receives a repayment deferment. A student must verify eligibility for the deferment at the end of each semester by submitting to the Foundation one of the following three documents: a paid tuition receipt for the current semester, a letter from the institution’s registrar’s office confirming the student’s enrollment for the necessary number of hours, or an academic transcript.
No. Borrowers who complete their studies and receive a degree earn a one-year grace period and do not have to start repaying their loans until the grace period ends. Students are assured of their one-year grace period when they sign their final promissory notes with The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.
Students who stop attending school before receiving a degree must start repaying their loans immediately.