By Linnea Cavallo and Brian Baker (Whetstone staff)

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Thirty million dollars.

That is how much financial aid was awarded to 90 percent of Wesley students last year. This $30 million comes from the federal government, endowed scholarships and money from Wesley’s general budget. About half of the $30 million is loans, the other half is grants.

In addition to federal scholarships and loans, Wesley offers students about $12.5 million of its own institutional grants and scholarships. These are based on a student’s high school records and national test scores, such as SAT and ACT.

Sophomore John Wolgamot receives a scholarship from Wesley for his good test scores and high school grades. The amount is based on his FAFSA (free application for federal student aid).

“I think they give out a lot of money to keep people here,” Wolgamot said.

Wesley requires students to fill out the FAFSA application to find out whether they are eligible for financial aid.

When a student receives a grant from the school, they do not need to pay this money back.

“Receiving the grant helps by allowing me to ask for fewer loans to pay for the tuition,” said senior Dominick Zara. “When I leave school I will have less debt to worry about.”

Wolgamot noted that his grant from the school increased from last year as he maintained his good grades

“Since I had good grades and a good GPA my freshman year, the amount of my grant went up,” Wolgamot said. “If I keep having these good grades my grant can continue to increase.”

The school costs about $33,000 per year for a student, including tuition, room and board.

“I get a grant for academics,” said sophomore Rylee Gould. “It makes it easier because Wesley is already so expensive. Any money I can get helps.”

Every student receives the same consideration for scholarships based on their financial need, said Mike Hall, director of student financial planning.

“During the awarding process we are ‘blind’ as to a student’s major, school participation or whether or not they are an athlete,” he said.

Students can pursue money by applying for endowed scholarships, which are given by donors. Endowed scholarships can be applied for online. There are many different criteria for determining how a student gets these scholarships.

“Some are based on a student’s major, involvement in ministry, minimum GPA, or involvement in school functions,” said Cathy Nosel, director of annual giving. “Endowed scholarships are usually not influenced by financial need.”

As a Division III school, Wesley is not allowed to give out athletic scholarships.

“Athletes do receive scholarships, but they are not based on the fact that they play sports,” Nosel said. “They are based on other qualifications, the same as any other student. They still have to meet the right criteria for a scholarship.”

Nosel believes the school would be doing more harm than good if athletes were to receive any special considerations or benefits in regards to scholarships.

“Athletics is such an important part of the school that by breaking the regulations, we would be shooting ourselves in the foot,” She said.

Some scholarships are so specific in their criteria that the school does not always end up giving them out. Nosel stated that not many people are selected for scholarships that require them to go into ministry work because it is no longer a major. If this happens, the money from the scholarship stays in the school’s account to be applied to a scholarship the next year.

Another way that students receive money from the school is through work study and workship programs.

Work study is funded by the federal government. The department of education decides which students can receive work study based on their FAFSA. With work study, a student can work up to 150 hours a semester.

With a workship, money is given to a student from Wesley’s general budget. Faculty usually recommend students for workship positions based on their majors.

“It makes sense for an upperclassman biology major to be working in a biology lab,” said Chet Long, financial aid associate. “A biology professor would recommend them for a workship because they are familiar with what they will be doing.”