Financial aid is a perfect way for students to cover the cost of college. You can stay on top of the process by being aware of what financial aid is, where it comes from and how to apply for it.
What is financial aid?
Financial aid is money that is provided to you or lent to you so that you can pay for college. The majority of full-time students receive financial aid for college, which lowers the cost of attending.
Grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs are the four primary categories of financial aid. The federal government, state governments, schools and universities, and private organizations frequently provide financial aid.
What distinguishes grants from scholarships?
You don’t have to pay back financial aid like grants and scholarships. Grants are typically awarded based on need. They are drawn from the federal, state, and academic institutions.
Merit-based awards for scholarships are common. This implies that they receive recognition for things like athletic and academic prowess. Some are determined by a person’s ethnicity or religion. Governments, universities, and private organizations are all potential sources.
Sources to find scholarships
There are several sources for scholarships. Make time to look into and search for scholarship options. The following places offer scholarships:
- Find scholarships, various forms of financial aid for college, and internships from over 2,200 programs using the BigFuture Scholarship Search tool.
- Join the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program, which offers you the potential to earn money for college for each task you complete while guiding you through the college preparation process.
- Visit the colleges’ websites before applying. View the scholarships they offer and the application process. Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA® and, if necessary, your CSS Profile, schools may start considering you for scholarships.
- Inquire with your school counsellor about awards given to high school graduates and locals of your town, county, and state.
- Look into scholarships offered by your parents or your employers, local Rotary or Kiwanis clubs, your church, mosque, synagogue, or other religious organization.
- You can also check our Scholarship Page for updated scholarships in various countries.
- International students can also check out Ways to Secure Financial Aid to Study Abroad.
The difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans
Consider taking out a loan if your savings, wages, grants, and scholarships won’t be enough to pay for your education. Financial need is the basis for subsidised loans. While you’re a college student, they won’t accrue interest. While you are a student, you won’t be required to repay the loans. Keep in mind that once you graduate from college, you must begin making payments. The amount you borrowed plus interest is included in these payments.
The basis for unsubsidized loans is indeed not “need”. While you’re at school, interest is added to these debts. While enrolled in school, you have the choice to pay interest, which lowers your loan amount. Regular payments, which include the principal and interest, begin once you graduate from college.
Remember that taking out loans is a commitment that lasts well past the time you graduate from college. The amount you’re borrowing, the interest rates, and the time frame for repayment should all be clear to you before you agree.
How to Secure Finacial Aid for College?
The following are three essential steps to obtaining financial aid:
- Submit the FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, must be completed to be considered for financial assistance. The FAFSA officially launches on October 1. To ensure you receive the most aid possible, fill it out as soon as it is available.
- Check to see whether any further financial aid forms are needed: The CSS Profile is one of the additional forms that some universities could ask for. Ensure you are aware of the forms required by the colleges you are applying to and that you adhere to their deadlines.
- Research and apply for private scholarships: Private scholarships are a great source of additional funding, so look for them and apply. Send your application to potential matches.
Questions to ask the financial aid officers at the schools you are planning to apply to
- What is the average first-year cost, considering tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and meals, travel, and other personal expenses?
- Will seeking financial aid for college affect my application for admission? When is the priority deadline for financial aid applications, and when will I find out the results of my financial aid application
- How does applying through an early decision or early action program affect financial aid?
- Does the college provide financial aid based on both merit and need-based?
- If there are merit scholarships available, do I need to submit a separate application? Do I have to complete the CSS Profile for the college?
When my financial aid for college award is insufficient, what can I do?
After submitting the FAFSA, if your family’s financial situation changes or if a financial aid award doesn’t fully cover your college expenses:
1. Speak with the financial aid department.
- Check out the financial aid website for the college to see how you can submit more information. Check for recommendations or directions on how to appeal under specific circumstances.
- Financial aid officers can assist you in exploring other alternatives, so contact them by phone or email.
- Possible questions you can ask:
- Is there still funding available that hasn’t been given to me? If so, then how do I apply?
- Could the financial situation of my family affect the amount of financial aid I receive? If so, what information do I need to provide in my appeal?
2. Don’t be ashamed to seek assistance.
If you are unsure of what to do next, speak with the financial aid office at the college. Financial aid representatives are available to address your inquiries.