Here’s a brief overview that came through my inbox this week by Jodi Okun, Financial Aid Consultant, College Financial Aid Advisors.
Financial aid is money that can help you pay for college. Some aid needs to be paid back or earned, and some aid is a gift. This money is available to all kinds of people. Here are seven important things you should know about financial aid.
1. Financial aid can help you go to college. Getting financial aid can make it possible for you to go to college. Or it might enable you to attend a college you thought you couldn’t afford.
2. More than $207 billion in aid is available. There are four main sources:
- Federal government (the largest source)
- State governments
- Colleges and universities
- Private organizations
3. You have to apply for aid. One thing is for sure: If you don’t fill out financial aid forms, you won’t get any aid. Even if you think you may not qualify, you should still submit the forms.
4. The FAFSA is the place to start — and it’s free. To qualify for many types of aid, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application gives you access to these types of aid:
- Scholarships and grants: money you don’t have to pay back
- Work-study jobs: paid, part-time work that’s generally on campus
- Loans: money you need to pay back, usually after you graduate
5. The FAFSA isn’t only for federal aid. The FAFSA qualifies you for federal aid, but many state governments and colleges also use this application to award their own aid.
6. Completing the FAFSA is convenient. Complete the form online at www.fafsa.gov or download paper forms there. You can even import your family’s tax information directly from the IRS website.
7. More aid is out there. Once you have completed the FAFSA, you should apply for these types of aid:
- Financial aid at the colleges you are applying to;
- Private scholarships you are eligible for.