Financial aid

"Financial aid" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 14th July 2011

Table of Contents

Money provided to the student and the family to help them pay for the student's education. Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and work). Grants are Financial aid awards that do not have to be repaid. Grants are available through the federal government, state agencies, colleges, and private sources.

Merit based financial aid that is awarded based on criteria such as a student’s academic, artistic, or athletic skill. Merit aid is not dependent on financial need, but may be used to meet financial need. Merit-based awards use grades, test scores, hobbies, and special talents to determine eligibility for scholarships.

The total amount of federal financial aid, including loans, grants, work-study, and all other federal aid the student received, excluding Veterans’ Administration/Department of Defense aid. The percentage of students who received any federal aid is the percentage with positive amounts recorded for this variable.

Your school will provide you with its cost of attendance—tuition, fees, books and supplies, as well as living costs such as room and board, and personal expenses. Financial aid can be applied toward educational costs as well as living costs. How much your family can contribute affects the amount of additional resources you’ll need.

Financial aid can cover more than tuition and books. The cost of paying rent, eating and getting from one place to another adds up. Luckily, most state and federal grants and scholarships, as well as federal loans, take that into account. Not only can you earn much more during your lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma, but you’ll also have a better chance of earning it in a career you enjoy. Check: Federal Assistance - Federal Government Free Grant Money To Pay For College

You don’t have to attend full time to receive financial aid. You can use your federal Pell Grant and other aid if you only go to college half time. Even if you take one or two classes, you may still be able to use your Pell Grant.

Money is set aside for foster youth. If you are or were in foster care, you may be eligible for thousands of dollars a year for college or job training on top of any other financial aid you receive.

You don’t need to be a U.S. citizen to receive financial aid—and your parents don’t need to be citizens either. The majority of U.S. permanent residents and other eligible non-citizens qualify for most federal and state aid. If you’re an undocumented or under-documented student, you aren’t eligible for state or federal aid, but in some states you may qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges.

Apply for financial aid early even before finding out if you’ve been accepted to college. Otherwise, you may miss out on scholarships, grants and other free money for education. Completing the FAFSA is not as difficult as it may first appear. The form is available in English and Spanish, and has step-by-step instructions; ask your school for help. You can also attend a free college application workshop. For dates and locations, go to www.collegegoalsundayusa.org.

How will you receive your financial aid?

At the beginning of each term, any federal or state financial aid you receive will go to your college first to pay for tuition and fees (and room and board, if provided by your school). Within the first few weeks of classes, you’ll usually receive any remaining funds to cover your books, supplies, transportation expenses and other college costs. Any scholarships or grants you applied for yourself may be sent to you or your college. For work-study or student employment programs, you’ll be paid after you’ve worked, usually every two weeks. However, some schools may apply the wages you earn directly to your student account for unpaid balances.

Remember that colleges must apply any outside scholarships or grants toward your unmet financial need or reduce other aid—these awards can’t replace your EFC. You can ask your school to reduce loan or student employment aid rather than grant aid, but most colleges have an established procedure for handling outside scholarships or grants. Campus based federal aid programs administered by colleges are Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study.

It’s your responsibility to create a spending plan to make sure your financial aid lasts the whole term.

Your college could be source of Financial aid

Federal Student Aid’s core mission is to ensure that all eligible individuals benefit from federal financial assistance—grants, work-study, and loans—for education beyond high school. The programs administer comprise the nation’s largest source of student aid. Every year, Federal Student Aid office of the U.S. Department of Education provide more than $100 billion in aid to nearly 14 million postsecondary students and their families. Our staff is based in 10 cities in addition to our Washington headquarters.

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, plays a central and essential role in the nation’s post-secondary education community. Worried about the application process? Don’t be. This year the online application is shorter and simpler. You will view and answer questions that apply only to your situation. The Financial aid administrator (FAA) is a college or university employee who is involved in the administration of financial aid. Some schools call FAAs "Financial Aid Advisors" or "Financial Aid Counselors". Federal Student Aid office of the U.S. Department of Education will help you online, on the phone, or in person and and help manage the student's funding once a financial aid package is approved. FAAs work for educational institutions. They also have access to a centralized source of information and financial aid guidance concerning programs, processes, and resources. Your College Financial aid office (FAO) is dedicated to provide you with useful information about financial aid programs offered through college or university and the process to apply for and receive funding by providing the most comprehensive financial assistance possible to current and perspective students. Check the services available to you upon request. If you ever have any questions, you can always call our toll-free number 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or visit our Web site at www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov.

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