Do Need Money For College?
State Financial Assistance Programs & Applications
Click on the appropriate program name and scroll to the bottom of the program page to access the program's application and conditions of award information.
Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA)
The largest program for financial aid is administered by the federal government and is open to all U.S. citizens and students studying in the U.S. with a green card. The federal scholarships are based on the financial situation of the student's family. To apply for federal scholarships, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) form. It is important to file this form early (the FAFSA opens on October 1st) to maximize the likelihood that the federal government and the colleges where you are applying will give you a strong financial aid package. Aid is awarded in the form of grants which do not have to be repaid, college work-study positions (jobs on campus while the student is enrolled and loans which do have to be repaid after graduation). The FAFSA form is available in Spanish and there is a hotline in both English and Spanish that families can use for questions. In addition, help is available in January and February in the Career Center during lunch and after school to help students complete their FAFSA forms electronically.
Please note: Colleges and universities have differing deadline dates for submission of the FAFSA. Generally, a good practice is to find out the earliest deadline among the schools to which a student is applying and be sure to submit the FAFSA by that deadline.
Note: You must file the FAFSA every year you plan to attend college. Seniors must apply the beginning of the calendar year during which they will begin school in fall of the same year. FAFSA application information would reflect the tax information from two years prior to the year of application to be used for starting the fall of that next year. Example: the 2011 FAFSA application would pull tax information from 2009 if you are attending college for the 2011-2012 school year. Remember, no matter how much money you and your parents make combined, you must still file the FAFSA to obtain any money—PERIOD. Always file and let FAFSA determine your eligibility.
Students and their parents can begin exploring the federal financial aid process by applying for an individual FAFSA PIN NOW! Using the pin provides your electronic signature when filing over the internet and expedites the processing of your FAFSA. Parents are strongly encouraged to apply for a pin also so they can sign the FAFSA electronically as well. Without a PIN, students or parents will need to a sign a separate, hard copy signature page and mail it, which can delay the processing of the FAFSA.
Each year that you apply for federal financial aid you will use the same PIN number to access your FAFSA and use as your electronic signature for the form. Students and their parents do not need to apply for a new PIN from one year to the next. The PIN stays the same.
CSS Financial Aid PROFILE
Some colleges and scholarship programs require that students complete the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE to be considered for non-federal student aid. Seniors should check their schools of interest to see if they require the CSS PROFILE. You can start working on your PROFILE by registering online. The fees for the PROFILE are listed on the CollegeBoard website.
What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship?
Grants and scholarships are free money to help pay for college or career school.
Find out what grants and scholarships you might be able to get. Be sure to complete the FAFSA January of every year you will be a college students…
Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based.
Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Do your research, apply for any grants or scholarships you might be eligible for, and be sure to meet application deadlines!
Occasionally you might have to pay back part or all of a grant if, for example, you withdraw from school before finishing an enrollment period such as a semester.
What kinds of federal grants are available?
The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of federal grants to students attending four-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and career schools. We’ve given each of our grants its own page:
How do I get a federal grant?
Almost all of these grants (listed above) are awarded to students with financial need. If you are interested in these grants, or in any federal student aid, you have to start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Once you’ve done that, you’ll work with your college or career school to find out how much you can get and when you’ll get it.
What kinds of scholarships are available, and how do I get one?
There are thousands of scholarships, from all kinds of organizations, and they’re not hard to find. You might be able to get a scholarship for being a good student, a great basketball player, or a member of a certain church, or because your parent works for a particular company, or for some other reason. Find out more about finding and applying for scholarships. Always be careful to avoid scholarship scams.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Links