Financial Aid Information
We understand that going to college can be an expensive investment. Most students cannot afford to attend a college, university, or trade school without the help of some type of financial aid. Financial aid can come in many forms:
Grants: Most types of grants, unlike loans, are sources of free money that generally do not have to be repaid. Grants can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization.
Certain scenarios may require that a portion or all of the grant funds be repaid: for example, if you withdraw from school before finishing an enrollment period such as a semester, or if you do not complete a required service obligation.
Scholarships: This is aid that does not have to be repaid. Awards may be based on financial need, academic ability, athletic ability, talent, leadership or service. Internet access is a great source for scholarship searches.
Loans: Loans must be repaid, generally after you have graduated or left school. Some have low interest rates.
Unfortunately, for many students, taking out student loans is the only option to be able to afford tuition and other school-related expenses. If you are considering taking student loans, make sure you understand the different loan types and the costs before you borrow. Take a look at these helpful resources as you start doing research. Below you will also see links to other, helpful sites.
Important Financial Aid Sites
This is the application for financial aid from the Federal Government. Based on your family's financial situation, you may qualify for aid in the form of a Pell Grant. More information below.
www.studentaid.ed.gov - Federal Student Aid website.
www.fafsa.gov - Free Application for Federal Student Aid website. This is where you sign up for financial aid. Students can begin filling out the FAFSA on October 1st of their senior year. Very Important!
El Proceso de la FAFSA (información en Español)
Video Assistance with the FAFSA - Federal Student Aid's YouTube Channel (how-to videos, info, & more!)
Video: FAFSA Overview
Video: After the FAFSA
If you need some additional assistance or tips for filling out the FAFSA, check out Coupon Follow's 'Guide to Getting through the FAFSA'
This is the application for financial aid from the State of Maryland. If you plan on attending a college or university in the state of Maryland, you should fill out this application. MDCAPS uses your financial information from the FAFSA to determine if you qualify for aid. If you qualify for a Pell Grant on the FAFSA, you may also be eligible for state aid. More information below.
Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) - MDCAPS is Maryland Higher Education Commission's comprehensive financial aid system that allows MHEC to process State scholarship applications and allocate funds more efficiently using today's technology.
Notable State Scholarships awarded through MDCAPS:
Maryland Higher Education Commission - official site with ALL of the Maryland state financial aid programs and scholarships.
The Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) is available to applicants who are ineligible to receive federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The MSFAA allows qualified children of undocumented immigrants, who qualify for in-state tuition, to apply and be considered for certain types of State need-based financial aid. The MSFAA is filled out through the MDCAPS application website. Click here for more information & FAQs.
CSS Profile - This form is used in addition to the FAFSA by some colleges and universities. Students should read the schools' material to find out if they need this form. Most selective schools will require the CSS. You can go on line at www.collegeboard.com for the CSS PROFILE form. There is a cost associated with filing the CSS.
Institution Forms - Some colleges and universities also require their own financial forms. Please check the schools' requirements to ascertain if this is needed. If a college requires its own form, you must contact the financial aid office at that college to obtain the necessary materials.
Net Price Calculator
What does Net Price mean?
Net Price is the amount that a student pays to attend an institution in a single academic year AFTER subtracting scholarships and grants the student receives. Scholarships and grants are forms of financial aid that a student does not have to pay back.
What is a Net Price Calculator?
Net price calculators are available on a college’s or university’s website and allow prospective students to enter information about themselves to find out what students like them paid to attend the institution in the previous year, after taking grants and scholarship aid into account.
Financial Aid Workshops on Video
Additional Financial Aid Links & Resources
CollegeCovered.com - a FREE resource to help students and families plan and pay for college.
"Wells Fargo's Financial Aid Journey in 5 Steps" - this helpful tool provides both an interactive eBook and videos to help students learn about the importance of completing the FAFSA, estimating college costs, exploring financing options, and more.
MPT’s annual Ways to Pay for College - Maryland Public Television (MPT) continues its tradition of providing viewers valuable insights into successfully navigating the college selection and financial aid process with Ways to Pay for College. Click here for the website to stream this program.