Financial Aid helps students and their families to pay for the expenses related to college.
Students and their families must be prepared to pay for all college-related expenses. This includes (and is not limited to) the following:
A college education was once a privilege of the very wealthy. Today, you can attend college if you are willing to learn about financial aid options and willing to manage the financial responsibilities. Visit FAFSA.ed.gov to apply for financial aid.
Four common types of Financial Aid are: Scholarships, Grants, Work-Study and Loans.
Scholarships for college are awarded to students based on merit - this type of financial aid does NOT have to be paid back. Students must typically meet specific requirements and may be required to submit an application. The school counselor can assist with your scholarship search by providing information on local scholarships in your area. Other resources to consider are local clubs, fraternal/civic organizations, church groups, and your job or place of employment.
Scholarships can also be found online by simply entering the word "scholarship" on the search bar, however the number of responses may be overwhelming. Instead, use additional words to limit the search. For example, if you are an artist, search for "art scholarships" instead.
Once you've found a scholarship to apply for, be sure to read the instructions carefully, complete the application fully (and neatly), and submit the application well in advance of the deadline. Late applications will not be considered!
Grants are one of the most desirable types of financial aid because, like scholarships, they don't have to be paid back. Although many grants are need-based awards granted by the Federal Government, some private grants are awarded based on certain skills, talents, academic fields, or particular characteristics.
In most cases, applying for grants requires you to submit the FAFSA so that your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) can be calculated. The EFC is used to determine how much your family is expected to contribute towards your college costs.
Some private organizations, which may offer grants based on a particular niche or field of study, may require a different type of application to determine whether you are eligible to receive funding. Some programs require students and their families to meet strict financial guidelines, but others do not. The "bottom line" is to remember to investigate grant options when planning for college and seeking financial assistance.
Work-Study funds allow a student to earn money for college while working on a variety of locations around campus. Students can arrange their work schedule around their class schedule.
Loans must be paid back - along with any interest which has accrued! Although many types of student loan programs are available, the U.S. Department of Education provides some common types, both subsidized and unsubsidized.
Direct Subsidized loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. These loans accrue interest, but the federal government pays the interest while you're in school (at least 1/2 time) and also during a short time after you graduate.
Direct Unsubsidized loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students. Unlike subsidized loans, you are required to pay all of the interest on unsubsidized loans. The interest can be rolled into your loan amount if you choose to delay payment until after graduation.
Other types of loans provided by the federal government include PLUS loans, consolidation loans, and Perkins loans.