What is Federal Financial Aid?
Financial aid from the federal government can help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for this aid. Types of Federal Aid video is a helpful video that explains the difference between types of federal aid available to students. Additional information about federal student aid can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
Who Should Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid?
All students should apply for need-based financial aid. Many families mistakenly think they may not qualify for this type of aid based on their income and assets. However, if students choose not to apply for need-based financial aid, they may be closing the door on opportunities that could help pay for college. There are other sources of financial assistance available regardless of need, but most require that the student file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first.
How Does A Student Apply For Need-Based Financial Aid?
- The FAFSA is the form used to apply for need-based financial aid. The student must complete the FAFSA to apply for need-based grants, as well as for federal financial aid and other aid from colleges. Students must apply every year.
- The FAFSA4caster is a tool designed to assist families to plan for education beyond high school. Students can receive an estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by entering their information into FAFSA4caster, a simplified version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA4caster also provides guidance on next steps for applying for admission, applying for federal student aid, and paying for education beyond high school. A Spanish version is available.
The links below are websites that offer helpful information about financial aid.
READING AN AWARD LETTER
After completing the FAFSA the college/s applied to will send the student an award letter that details what type of aid and how much financial aid a student is eligible for at that institution. Students can accept all the aid offered or can accept only what they need in order to pay for school. Your Financial Aid Award Explained is a good resource to understand your award letter. Your school counselor can also help explain what is on your award letter. Use the Compare Your Aid Awards tool to get a side-by-side comparison of your aid awards. Read about how to compare your aid awards and analyze your results.
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