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Financial aid

Jeff Zahn and Jennifer Buresh ’09 discuss financial aid.

February 2008

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Financial aid helps make a private college education surprisingly affordable

College-bound students considering St. Norbert College should not be deterred by fears of the cost of a private school. More than $34 million is disbursed annually by the college’s financial aid office, making tuition for many families comparable to the cost of attending a state institution.

Financial aid director Jeff Zahn says more than 95 percent of St. Norbert students receive some kind of assistance. Many families believe that they may earn too much to qualify, but the only way to know for sure is to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Here’s more from Zahn on financing the cost of higher education:

Scholarships at St. Norbert are based on academic achievement (not need) and range from $4,500 all the way up to $11,000 per year. But that’s not the end of the story. There is a whole host of other aid programs available to families, based on their financial need.

Demonstrating a financial need does not mean you have to be in a very low income bracket. The number of children in the family, and the number of children in higher education, both play a dramatic role in the equation.  

Indeed, for some families, it may cost no more for their student to go to a private college than a public one. Add to all this the advantage of the St. Norbert College guarantee that a student will graduate in four years. The four-and-a-half to five or more years often taken to graduate from many other schools equate to extra cost and lost income.

The right education can make all the difference. Students at St. Norbert experience that difference every day. The college’s academic reputation, successful alums, beautiful campus and outstanding value make this the right place for many.

Student financial aid programs at St. Norbert help to support that educational choice by preserving access to the college for all, encouraging a diverse student body and attracting the academically talented.

Scholarships are awarded by the St. Norbert admission office at the time of the student’s acceptance. For need-based aid, families must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Did you see the word “Free”? This application costs nothing but a little bit of time and, by completing this form, students are eligible to be considered for assistance from all federal, state and St. Norbert sources.

The right education can make all the difference and financial aid can help.

FAFSA, step by step
To complete a FAFSA check out Completing the application online is easier and often more accurate than using the paper form. (Students who submitted the FAFSA last year will be able to complete a renewal FAFSA online.) When you apply online, you don’t hassle with paperwork, and you get your results faster.

The FAFSA web site has a list of the documents you’ll need to gather before filling out the application. If you plan to complete the FAFSA online, but you’d like to prepare by filling something out on paper first, you should use the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. This document asks the FAFSA questions in the same order as does the web form.

Make sure that you read all directions carefully. When completing a section of the form that applies to you, do not leave anything blank. Instead, you should fill in None, N/A or a zero. If you need help, or you are uncertain about how to answer a question, please contact the financial aid office. We want to make the process as easy and painless as we can for you. We can be reached toll free at (888) 786-6721 or by e-mail at

You can start to complete the FAFSA now for the 2008-09 academic year. Because the form requires a lot of information from your 2007 federal tax return, most families complete it at the end of February or the beginning of March. It is not necessary to use information from a completed federal tax return so, if you will not have one, you may use estimated information. Remember, St. Norbert has a March 1 preference filing deadline, so don’t wait too long to apply.

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