(Make sure it is “ed.gov” NOT “.com” and you should NEVER have to pay.)
- Must be completed by March 1st of each year. Opens January 1st of each year.
- Many scholarships require the FAFSA to be completed/submitted before qualifying for their scholarships.
- Step-by-step directions are provided. Use this worksheet to help get organized
- Make sure you not only fill out the FAFSA form, but apply for a pin (your electronic signature) for both student and parent.
- **Any website that asks you to pay, IS NOT THE OFFICIAL FAFSA SITE. **
All families should fill the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) out to determine how much financial aid/support they qualify for from the colleges or federal government. Read on for more…
Types of Financial Aid
Colleges generally expect students and their families to make some financial contribution toward college costs. This amount is usually based on the family’s ability to pay, but also includes what the student can reasonably be expected to earn during the school year and through summer employment.
Need-based financial aid is available for those who qualify. A family may calculate its expected contribution using the financial aid calculator at:
Once the family’s parental contribution is determined, assistance may be available in many forms. These include:
- Loans: These are available from the federal government, state governments, colleges, and commercial banks. They often have a low, fixed interest rate. They must be repaid, but are usually not due until after graduation.
- Grants: This is money that the government and/or colleges gives to qualified students. Grants do not need to be repaid.
- Work Study: Colleges make many different jobs on campus available to students. A student may be asked to take one of these jobs as part of his or her financial aid package.
Both students who qualify for need-based financial aid, and those who don’t, may be eligible for non-need-based scholarships. These come in two forms:
- Merit Scholarships: Many colleges award these scholarships to students with strong academic records. To determine what is available, check with individual schools.
- National and Local Scholarships: A variety of institutions invite students to apply for scholarship money. Students should begin investigating and applying for scholarships in their junior year. Scholarship applications can be lengthy and complicated, so starting early is a good idea.