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Financial Aid

Financial Aid

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Applying for college is an exciting – but often stressful – time for students and their families. It can also be very costly and the financial aid process can be overwhelming, too. Below, you’ll find helpful resources and links to learn more about how to approach the financial aid process.

For a comprehensive listing of services and resources, please click here for the Congressional Research Service's latest report on student aid.

Getting Started: Best Practices


Student Aid and Where It Comes From TOP

Student Aid and Where It Comes From


Basic assistance categories:
  • Financial need-based: Remember that students and their parents are responsible for paying what they can -- financial aid is a supplement, not a substitute, for family resources.
  • Non need-based: Factors include academic excellence, ethnic background, or organization membership. Corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.
Completing the FAFSA
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form necessary to complete in order to get financial aid for college, career school, or graduate school.
  • Application is available October 1st with varying deadlines by state or institution.
Federal Student Aid:
  • Provides nearly 70% of student aid under Loans, grants and work-study programs.
  • Available to all need-based applicants; some loans and competitive scholarships for non need-based.
  • Free information from the U.S. Department of Education:
Loans are the most common federal aid and must be repaid when you graduate or leave college: Scholarships/grants are mostly need-based and require no repayment: Work study programs allow you to earn money while in school: States offer residents a variety of scholarships, loans, and tuition exemptions. Colleges and universities provide some 20 percent of aid, mostly need-based.
  • Check university web sites and the institution's financial aid office when you apply for admission.
Private foundations, corporations, and organizations offer scholarships or grants: Targeted Aid for Special Groups TOP

Targeted Aid for Special Groups


Interested in Public Service? TOP

Interested in Public Service?


Federal assistance programs seek to encourage people to work in geographic areas or professions where there's a particular need (such as doctors in underserved areas); encourage underrepresented groups to enter a particular profession; and provide aid in exchange for services provided (such as military service). Repaying Your Loans TOP

Repaying Your Loans


After college, the federal government has ways to help you repay your loans.
  • Eligibility depends upon the type of loan, when it was made, and whether it's in default. Check with your loan officer to find out if you qualify.
  • Loan Consolidation: combine your federal loans into a single loan with one monthly payment.
Sometimes loans may be canceled in exchange for public service.
Information prepared by the Congressional Research Service