Financial Aid Essentials

Financial aid packages are designed to level the playing field, when it comes to education. By providing students with a bit of a financial boost, the administrators of financial aid packages hope to ensure that even students from the poorest families can get a good education, so they can get the opportunities that allow them to change the fortunes of the family for good.

Types of Financial Aid

When people think about financial aid programs, they tend to think about full-ride academic scholarships offered by colleges to needy but gifted students. While these programs do exist, there are many other types of financial aid programs, including:

Some of these financial aid products require students to enroll for a specific number of credits each term or complete a certain number of tasks on a weekly basis. Others require students to pay back a portion of the money a student receives for school. Understanding the details of each product is vital, as it can help students to stay in compliance and avoid financial penalty.

While the federal government is the source of the majority of aid provided to students, there are other entities that also provide aid.

Source: As reported by the College Board.

sources of financial aid

Amount of Aid Received

While students might be curious about the kinds of aid available and the ways in which aid programs work, they may be most curious about how much money they can expect to receive. While the answer might vary, depending on the student and that student’s situation, there are some statistics that can help to illuminate the issue.

What are your financial aid options?
Schools may also provide financial aid, and as a profile of grants for law schools, published by U.S. News and World Report demonstrates, the award amounts can vary dramatically based on the school the student chooses.

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Even the state a student lives in could have a huge impact on the amount of financial aid available, as these statistics from the Brookings Institute demonstrate.

Getting the Most Aid Possible

Almost all sources of financial aid rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to determine a student’s financial need and eligibility for aid. Filling this form out is the first priority for almost all students when the new year rolls around, but as this chart from the U.S. Department of Education demonstrates, some students wait far too long before they begin their work.

Handling Disappointment

While smaller schools may not be able to play ball on financial packages, some larger schools may be open to negotiation, so discussing the issue diplomatically could deliver big results.


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