What is Financial Aid?
- Financial aid consists of funds provided to students and families to help pay for postsecondary educational expenses.
- Grants/scholarships (free money)
- Self-help (work, savings, etc.)
- Federal Government
- State Government
- Private scholarship sources:
*High school counselors (College & Career Center-Guidance Office, Naviance)
*Clubs and organizations
*Internet scholarship searches
Types of Financial Aid
- Need Based Aid
- FAFSA - The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the most important application you must complete in order to qualify for almost all types of financial aid, including federal, state, local, and private grants and scholarships. The U.S. Department of Education uses the information provided on your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for aid from federal student financial assistance programs. In Pennsylvania, the FAFSA is used to determine State Grant eligibility. Schools also use FAFSA data to award their own financial aid. Watch the video, Applying for Financial Aid Doesn't Have to Be Scary here. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) produced this video to calm your college preparation nerves. You can also watch the How to FAFSA video here. The Regents of the University of California produced this video in 2016 that provides a tutorial through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- PA State Grant
- Merit Based Aid - Colleges are increasingly offering merit scholarships and not only for academic achievement or athletic skill. Schools may offer merit scholarships to attract diverse groups of students from states not highly represented at the school, or students with talents or circumstances that few others at the school have. Check with admissions offices at schools you're applying to; ask if they offer merit aid.
Source: PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency)