What It Is and How to Apply
Many of us enjoy figuring out what college we want to attend, but figuring out how to pay for it is a different story. We want to go to school for less, but we don’t always understand our options. Are you ready to learn? This report shares the basics of financial aid — what it is and how to apply for it.
Simply put, financial aid is money that helps you pay for school. It comes in the form of grants, loans and work-study programs. Let’s take a closer look at each type below.
Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Program length varies by each institution’s specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. The information in this packet is intended as a general overview, and not as financial or legal advice.
Public Federal and State Grants
Private College Grants
Loans: Borrowed Money
Public Student Loans
Private Student Loans
Work Study: Earning Money
Some campus jobs, subsidized by the federal government, exist for students in financial need. Some of the benefits include work that is on campus or close by, schedules that coincide with class hours and earnings that don’t reduce future financial aid awards for the student.
How to Apply
for Financial Aid
Once you understand the different types of financial aid that exist, it’s time to get familiar with the application process.
Before starting the process GET ORGANIZED! Documents You Will Need:
- Social security number
- Driver’s license number
- Tax return — most recent
- W-2 forms
- Bank account balances
- If not a U.S. citizen — alien registration number
- If a minor — your parents’ social security numbers
While individual scholarship funds and private organizations have their own application procedures, the best way to find out if you qualify for federal student aid is to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Each year, approximately 14 million FAFSAs are processed.
MORE Ways to Pay for School
- Tuition reimbursement programs offered by employers
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP) — an exam that certifies your existing knowledge and rewards you with college credits
- Random Government Programs — Some states waive tuition for senior citizens who want to attend public colleges!
- Professional, Service and Charitable Associations often sponsor scholarships and financial aid contests
- Industry-related scholarships are common in nursing and teaching where attractive educational benefits are offered in exchange for future service