The term “Financial Aid” encompasses several things, as detailed below:
- Scholarships – awarded on the basis of merit, skill, or unique characteristic; do not have to be paid back
- Grants – usually awarded based on financial need; do not have to be paid back
- Loans – money students & parents borrow to help pay for college expenses; paid back with interest
- Work-Study – student works & earns a paycheck to help offset educational costs. The most important part of financial aid is filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This form is sent to the federal government and the colleges that you have applied to and is used to determine the financial need of a student. This information helps the school develop a financial aid package. In this package, there will be scholarships, grants, loans, and possibly work-study. Each school you are accepted to should send you an award letter with this financial aid package, which usually comes in January, depending on when you filed the FAFSA. If you need help comparing the financial aid packages from schools, check out the attached worksheet or set up a meeting with Ms. Pearson. If you’d like to get a general idea of how much a school will cost BEFORE the award letter comes, you should utilize the Net Price Calculator. This is a tool that every school website has available so that students can get a general estimate of what a school will cost per year. Please check out the “FAFSA Information” tab for more detailed information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Also, check out the other “Financial Aid” tabs to learn about the different ways to obtain scholarships.
- Cost Comparison Sheet
- Other resources: studentaid.gov (Federal Financial Aid); pheaa.org (PA State Financial Aid); fafsa.gov (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)