About Student Financial Aid
Financial aid is a term used to describe all sorts of different forms of monetary support given to students to help them afford a college education. Financial aid can include loans, scholarships and grants, as well as federal and private student loans.
With college costs constantly rising, there has been a groundswell in the number of students applying for and receiving financial aid to pay for college.
Depending on the sort of financial aid a student qualifies for, his/her education costs could be completely or partially covered; if he/she is lucky, that student may qualify for certain grants or scholarships that will not need to be repaid. Financial aid is often essential for students to attend college and the benefits of financial aid are many.
If you are sending your child off to college, first you have a real careful discussion about responsibilities; who’s going to pay what and second that you have a four year plan. I have seen many families that just put it together, the schools, the student’s dreams, you work so hard to get there, you want to make it possible and after the first year, they sense they have just run out of money. And you really have to have a four year plan and know how it’s going to be financed each year and also, a good open conversation with the student as far as who is responsible for what part of the bill. One year for example if the student is going to work, how much money that you can contribute. A lot of students now for example, the summer before are going away to college , I know and it’s nice to have a good time there, but they could work that summer and maybe bring some money with them to school to help with the personal expense allowances. So I think that a good conversation and a four year plan and a careful adherence to a budget will be the most important things.
Financial aid programs help students pay for their education, or parents who want to contribute funds to their children’s college education. For so many students, financial aid is the gateway to college. Financial aid has given millions of students the opportunity to receive higher education and realize their educational goals. Subsidized federal loans, a common form of financial aid given to students who demonstrate a degree of financial need, save students thousands by not accruing interest while the student is in school; Pell Grants, another form of need-based financial aid, can cover thousands of dollars towards tuition that never need to be repaid.
What types are available?
Financial aid comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be given out by the federal government, as well as state and local governments, businesses, individuals and private organizations. Financial aid is an umbrella term that includes scholarships, grants, work-study programs and both federal and private student loans.
What are merit and need based scholarships?
Merit based scholarships are awarded based on academic performance and may cover all or a portion of a student’s college and living expenses. Need based scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded on the basis of a student’s financial need and involves a complete evaluation of the family’s income and expenditures.
What other options are available?
Work-study programs provide funds to students to help them pay for tuition and other expenses by providing students with part-time jobs while they are in school.
The last form of financial aid a student should explore is student loans. Federal student loans should be taken out before private student loans and as their name suggests, are disbursed by the federal government. Federal student loans generally have lower interest rates than private student loans, thought they have lower borrowing limits and shorter repayment periods. Private student loans should only be considered after federal student loans are exhausted and it is essential to compare your private student loan options before applying. A good final form of financial aid, you can search, compare and apply for private student loans by using our Student Loan Comparison Tool above.
In order to qualify for student financial aid, your financial information must display a serious financial need. As one might expect, applicants with the highest need for finances are awarded the most financial aid. Others who demonstrate less need are awarded a smaller portion according to their need. Other than that, you need to make sure that you are a legal U.S. citizen with a SSN, have not defaulted on any other loan, and have completed a minimum of high school education.
What are the different types of financial aid?
The various types of financial aid programs include federal financial aid, institutional financial aid, and private financial aid. Federal financial aid is most sought after source of funding for students since federal loans have the lowest interest rates and the most lenient terms and conditions. Institutional aid is mostly awarded to students with outstanding academic achievements or with extreme financial need. Private financial aid programs are stringent in terms and conditions and often have high interest rates. It is recommended that students utilize federal financial aid first, and if it does not fully cover the applicant’s need, only than should students look to other types of financial aid.
Financial Aid Basics
- Analyzing Your Student Aid Report
- Current topics & admissions and aid
- Do you know what kinds of student loans you have?
- Financial aid advice for college students
- Financial aid advice for parents
- Video Workshop
- Financial Aid: Should You Apply?
- I am divorced; do I have to enter my former spouse's financial data on the financial aid forms?
- International students & financing college
- Multiple Children In College
- Should I take out a private student loan? SimpleTuition's Monisha Perkash explains.
- The Cost of Attendance, Part II
- What if my parents refuse to pay for college? Can I apply as an independent student?
- What is Self-Help Aid?
- What is Student Financial Aid?
- What is the cost of attendance (COA)?
- Financial Aid Applications
- Crunch Time for College Finances
- Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?
- Financial Aid Advice
- Financial aid advice for grad students
- Financial aid: all about the FAFSA and the CSS Profile
- How can I complete a financial aid form if my taxes aren't done?
- I am divorced, but I have remarried. Does my current spouse's financial information have to be entered on financial aid forms?
- I just received something from IDOC. What is it?
- If the college asks for financial data on their application for admission, do I still have to complete the PROFILE?
- Is it better to file electronically or by regular mail?
- Starting All Over with Financial Aid
- Starting the New Year and Starting the Financial Aid Process
- Tips on evaluating your financial aid award
- Understanding the Financial Aid Application
- What happens if my family owns a business or farm?
- What I've Learned About the Financial Aid Application Process
Financial Aid Awards
- Financial Aid Awards
- Are there financial aid implications if I stay on the admissions wait list?
- As a family of immigrants, what if I do not have the proper documentation for eligibility for federal financial aid?
- College Choices and the Costs After Financial Aid
- Colleges don't know how expensive it is to live here. If I claim high costs of living created by where I live, will the college take that into consideration?
- The Financial Aid Appeal Process
- The Financial Student Aid Report Results
- The Financial Student Aid Report Results
- What if the current year's income is going to be different from the one (last year's income) I reported on the financial aid forms?
- When should I file the financial aid forms?