- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may find the FAFSA application on the Federal Student Aid website
- Once completed, you will receive a reward letter from each school you listed on your FAFSA. This letter explains both the federal and non-federal financial aid options that a school is offering you.
- If you qualify for and receive a Federal Grant, you won’t have to repay the money. This will certainly help, but you may still need additional assistance. If so, a federal student loan might be the answer.
Federal Student Loans
- Another option on how to receive financial aid is a Federal Work-Study program. In this program, enrolled students work on or off-campus; allowing them to earn money to help pay for their education expenses. Work-Study programs are offered as full or part-time and are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Jobs available depend on the school but are mostly involved with civic education and work related to your program of study.
Personal Private Loans
- Offered by banks, credit unions and independent lending institutions
- Help to cover housing, books, computers, travel and other living expenses in addition to college tuition.
- Typically have a high interest rate. Students with low credit scores are subject to higher interest rates.
- When it comes time to repay your personal loan, consider deferred payment options, discounts for automatic withdrawals, cosigner advantages and penalties for early repayment.
There are thousands of merit-based scholarships available, from all kinds of organizations. Early research and close attention to financial aid deadlines will help you find a scholarship. Contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to learn about what is available. Be sure to avoid scams in which companies are asking for high-cost fees.
Grants and Scholarships are Free Money to Help Pay for College or Career School
Federal Pell GrantsFederal aid is granted depending on financial need, cost of tuition and related factors. These grants are usually awarded to students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)Awarded to those with exceptional financial need. Not all schools participate. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if the school offers the FSEOG.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) GrantOffered to those who are studying to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area. Requires certain classes to be taken and a certain length of time in the field.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service GrantsProvides money to those who have lost a parent or guardian as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Eligible students must have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of their parent’s or guardian’s death.
Tips and Tricks to Completing your FAFSA
Gather your Documents Needed to ApplySocial Security Number, your parents’ social security numbers, your driver’s license number, your Alien Registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen), tax returns including your W-2 and records of untaxed income.
Get a PINThis is required before you can apply. It is a personal identification number that allows you to sign your FAFSA electronically.
Know your SchoolsTo apply, you must list at least one college to receive your information. The schools you list will use your FAFSA information to determine the types and amounts of aid you may receive. Not sure what school to go to? Start your college search Now