The cost of tuition is on the rise. Hardly anyone pays for a higher education with out-of-pocket monies anymore. Many students have no other option than to pay for school with Financial Aid of some kind. This includes loans, scholarships, and grants. The information provided should help you decipher what options are available to help pay for college, and which will best suit the your needs and those of your family.
What is financial aid? Financial Aid is any aid that helps you pay for college. Financial aid can come from a variety of government and private programs.
- Grants - based on financial need, usually do not have to be repaid
- Scholarships- are competitive, do not have to be repaid
- Loans- must be repaid after the student leaves college
- Work Study- wages for work performed on campus (check with college's financial aid office)
From where does financial aid Come? Financial aid can come from various sources such as federal or state government aid, colleges/universities, private foundations, local/national scholarships, and grants
Federal Financial Aid Information
On January 1st of every year, high school seniors who are planning to attend a higher education institution are able to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for free online at the FAFSA homepage. Completing the FAFSA is free. Use the link provided to ensure you are on the correct site before completing the application! The application is a little lengthy, so here are some tips on filling out the FAFSA with the most ease:
- If possible, complete your income taxes (and/or have your parents complete their income taxes) before you complete the FAFSA.
- Plan to complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, as it reduces errors. If you are unable to apply online, the FAFSA is available in the guidance office or as a PDF document.
- To submit the FAFSA online, you and your parent need to apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number) by going to www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN allows you to sign the online FAFSA electronically.
- Be prepared to have the following items [for you and your parent(s), if applicable] on hand when you complete the FAFSA:
- Income tax return, or solidly estimated tax information
- W-2 forms and other records of money earned
- Records of untaxed income (e.g., Social Security benefits)
- Current bank statements
- Business and farm records
- Records of investments
- Drivers licenses and Social Security cards
- Dates of birth
- Answer all questions (even if you need to estimate).
- List the colleges you're considering to attend.
- Remember to sign the FAFSA electronically with a PIN if you complete the FAFSA online.
- If you complete the FAFSA online without a PIN, you'll need to sign and mail the signature pages.
- If you complete a paper form, sign the completed form and mail it.
What awards will you receive from FAFSA? Awards from FAFSA can be in the form of loans or grants. Click here to see a list of available grants for the 2010-2011 school year. Click here to see a list of loans available through FAFSA.
Visit any of the following links for resources related to financial aid: