Financial aid change allows students to stack scholarships

Biola is implementing a new policy that will allow students to receive more scholarships.


401(K) 2013 [Creative Commons]

Jackie Grade, Writer

Biola will now be allowing students to stack up to $3,000 of departmental scholarships to help cover tuition. This new policy will be implemented 2013-2014 school year. | 401(K) 2013 [Creative Commons]

As tuition continues to rise in schools around the country, students’ demand for scholarships has also increased correspondingly. The elevated need for financial aid has led Biola to change their approach to how many scholarships a student can apply at one time.

Starting in the 2013-2014 school year, Biola’s financial aid department will allow up to $3,000 from departmental scholarships to add to students’ overall aid without reducing the university’s distributed grants, according to Jonathan Choy, director of financial aid.


In years past, Biola has limited the amount of financial aid a student can stack. Federal, institutional and merit-based aid have always been able to stack on top of each other and help decrease a student’s financial debt. However, any departmental scholarships caused institutional aid to decrease, as it subtracted the need-based aid amount from the institution.  If a student received a scholarship from the track team for $1,000, Choy stated that the scholarship would not amount to anything because the university grant would decrease by $1,000.

“At a cost estimated of about $1.4 to 1.5 million to the university, we are going to allow up to $3,000 in stackable need-based aid for students receiving a departmental award,” Choy said.

He explained that Financial Aid established the threshold at $3,000 because it paralleled the same amount students in work-study programs receive. Students in work-study programs move all of the money they earn, which is up to $3,000, back toward paying off their education. The new policy will allow those who are working for a sport or departmental job on campus to receive a similar amount as well.

“We recognize a lot of students are involved in other departments and don’t have the opportunity to work,” Choy said.

Students who receive departmental scholarships from classes, teams or clubs on campus will be able to add up to $3,000 to their overall aid without any other reduction.


 Laura Bernard, a freshman communications major, recently discovered that her scholarships from last year will reduce in the coming school year.

“I had a few scholarships come in this year that definitely helped make Biola easier,” Bernard said. “But next year will be different since I’m going to be the only one in the family who is going to be in college.”

Bernard’s need-based aid did not decrease because of a financial aid policy change, but because her family now only has one student left in college to pay for. Her debt load will only increase as she continues through her next couple of years.

Now that Biola is implementing the departmental scholarship aid, Bernard is on the lookout for departmental aid that will help her remain at Biola without the extra financial burden.

“I am looking into other scholarship sources here that can help play a role and pay off Biola’s tuition,” Bernard stated.


Choy also stated that Biola’s tuition will increase 3.67 percent in this coming year, which adds up to $1,138 more per year for attendance.

Instead of helping more of the incoming students and the rest of the Biola student body with this increase in tuition, Choy said that this new policy will only affect the students currently receive departmental scholarships.

“Now it will only be going to about 450 students who are eligible for departmental scholarships,” Choy said.

Biola has not combined departmental scholarships and scholarship stacking sooner because the undergraduate majority received more financial help from the school, stated Choy.  Now, the Financial Aid Department will distribute the money solely to students eligible for departmental scholarships. Biola has not allowed the expansion of stackable scholarships sooner partially because it let them spread a larger amount of money to more undergraduate students.

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