Plymouth State College is becoming a more affordable choice for New Hampshire students thanks to an increase in grant awards at both the federal and state level, and the College’s newly created New Hampshire Top Scholars program.
According to PSC’s Director of Financial Aid, Bob Tuveson, award levels for both Federal Pell Grants and New Hampshire Incentive Grants have been increased “to meet more of a student’s educational costs.” Tuveson says unlike loans, grants are gift money and do not have to be repaid. The Federal Pell Grant maximum award level was increased this year from $3,300 to $3,750, the largest, single year increase in the Pell program’s history. An improvement to $4,000 for 2002-2003 is presently being considered by Congress. At PSC, Pell-eligible dependent students also receive an additional $1,000 from the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG).
At the state level, New Hampshire Incentive Grants, which are awarded to in-state students only, increased 100 percent from $500 to $1,000 this year. “This grant now covers 24 percent of the annual in-state tuition cost at Plymouth State,” says Tuveson, “and eligibility has been expanded to include more students and provide eligibility for half-time students.”
Recently, Plymouth State announced a new $2,500 scholarship program aimed at high school seniors who graduate in the top 15 percent of their class — New Hampshire Top Scholars. Tuveson says, “The Tops program and other PSC scholarships, combined with the increase in grant awards, will enable Plymouth State to offer better financial aid packages to in-state students, covering a greater percentage of their educational costs with gift assistance.”
There is also good news for borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans (FFELP). Interest rates on the FFELP Stafford and PLUS loans have decreased to an all-time low. The variable rate on the Stafford loan is 5.39 percent and the PLUS loan interest rate is 6.79 percent. The current interest rates are 2.2 percentage points lower than the prior year, resulting in significant savings for borrowers who have loans in repayment.