Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis Loan
Qualification/ Description: Applicants for this interest free loan must be U.S. citizens or posses an Alien Registration Card, be a permanent resident of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Franklin County, Jefferson County or St. Charles County for at least two year prior to the date of application and plan to enroll in or be currently enrolled in a degree program. Awards are granted on the basis of financial need, character and a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average.
Maximum Academic Year Amount: $3,000
Apply To: Send a self-addressed stamped, business size envelope to the Scholarship Foundation, 8215 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117. Applications are available between January 1 and April 15.

Emergency Loan For Optometry Students
Qualification/ Description: Full-time currently enrolled Optometry student; INTEREST: fixed at 12%
Maximum Academic Year Amount: $ 1,500
Apply To: Manager of Student and Special Services

Nebraska State Agreement
Currently, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, College of Optometry has a State Agreement for one resident of Nebraska; however, there is a floating seat sometime available for a second student here. The award recipient receives (2009-10 dollars) $13,750/yr. If more than one Nebraska resident is selected for admission the award is determined based on a combination of grade point average, admission test scores, and interview evaluations. To qualify for consideration an applicant must be certified as bona fide Nebraska resident. For resident certification, contact Dr. Richard J. Hoffmann, University of Nebraska, 3835 Holdrege, Lincoln, NE 68583, 404-472-0075.

Kansas State Agreement
Currently, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, College of Optometry has a State Reciprocal Agreement for five residents of Kansas. This agreement permits the College of Optometry to admit up to five Kansas residents in the entering class to receive the award. The award recipients are charged the equivalent of Missouri resident educational fees. If more than five Kansas residents are selected for admission the awards are determined based on a combination of grade point average, admission test scores, and interview evaluations. To qualify for consideration an applicant must be certified as bona fide Kansas resident. For Kansas resident certification, contact the Kansas Board of Regents by mail at Optometry Program, 700 S.W. Harrision, Suite 1410, Topeka, KS 66603-7360 or telephone at (785) 296-3517.

Other State Resources
There are several other states that offer additional resources for optometry students, or to practicing optometrists in their states. You need to contact your state of residence to see if they offer any assistance. Some with whom we've worked, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa and Kentucky. Of these, IA and KY sometimes offer loan forgiveness to alumni returning home to practice, when state funding allows.

Other State Resources: please check your own state website for their available scholarships, grants and loans. To find your state website, use the format www.ST.gov, where "ST" is the two letter designation of your state.

To check state associations:http://www.aoanet.org/x794.xml
To check a specific state for state assistance, use the URL formula of www.state.ST.us to find your state, e.g.www.state.MO.us(the state page may redirect you to the URL used, but this formula works for all US States). Not all states are organized the same way, so try something like Department of Education, or Department of Higher Education. Keep trying and be creative! For every $5,000 you find in scholarships, you will reduce your monthly payment (in 2005 dollars) by about $115 (estimated).

There are several internet websites with helpful information on available scholarships including a financial aid information page sponsored by The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators at www.finaid.org.

In recent years there has been a boom of internet scholarship search companies. Some are free but many have up front fees or hidden charges that you agree to when you authorize the search. The Federal Trade Commission advises students to be cautious when using such services and to be especially wary of sites that say they guarantee results of have information available nowhere else. Below is a list of helpful websites:

UMSL
www.umsl.edu/services/finaid/

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
http://www.opted.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

Federal Resources
www.ed.gov

www.fafsa.ed.gov