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Financial Aid

What is Financial Aid?     Money to help meet education expenses.
Where does it come from?     Federal and state governments, banks, the schools themselves, private donors, or other resources.
How much can you get?     Based on your financial need and the kinds of aid available at the school you attend.
What types are there?
Grants:     Do not require repayment.
Loans:     Typically repaid after you leave school at much lower interest rates than regular bank loans. Sometimes repaid through service.
Scholarships:     Generally on the basis of achievement.
Work-Study:     Money to create jobs for students, usually on campus.
Private-Aid Programs:     Aid offered by private organizations.
Special-Aid Programs:     Aid for special groups of students.
Aid for Military Personnel:     Financial aid opportunities that come with joining the military.

Financial Aid Programs

Financial aid comes in the form of grants, loans, and employment aid. Both full-time and part-time students are eligible for most financial aid; however, part-time students receive proportionally smaller amounts.

Some scholarships are not based on financial need. Those scholarships go to students who do well academically or who meet other criteria such as religious affiliation, specific hobbies, specific interests, artistic ability, athletic ability, or career plans. These scholarships are available from groups such as businesses, unions, service organizations, community groups, and post-secondary institutions. Contact your high school counselor and the campus financial aid office for more information about scholarships.

More links to information about Financial Aid can be found in Step 3.

Financial Aid Planning Calendar

September:

Make a final list of the schools you are interested in attending. Review the financial aid and admissions filing deadlines for each school. Start investigating federal, state, institutional and local financial aid opportunities. Information on federal programs and state-based financial aid is available from your high school guidance counselor.

October / November:

Apply for independent scholarships and private grant programs. Your high school guidance counselor, local public library, and civic and professional organizations can provide information. Information is also available on the World Wide Web in places such as Peterson's Education Center, http://www.petersons.com and College View, http://www.collegeview.com.

January:

File the need analysis form required by your prospective college(s) as soon as possible. Financial aid deadlines vary for different schools and can differ from admissions deadlines. File for financial aid in time to meet each school's deadline. To avoid delays, make sure all forms are filled out correctly. A financial aid officer can answer any questions you might have.

March:

Receive an acknowledgment of the need analysis report for each financial aid form filed. The acknowledgment contains all information which is provided to the school(s), including your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and a Student Aid Report (SAR) indicating your eligibility for a Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is a federal grant to help undergraduate students who demonstrate extreme financial need. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at eligible colleges and proprietary or vocational institutions. Review the acknowledgment, make any necessary changes, and return the corrected form to the processor. If no corrections are necessary, send a signed copy of the SAR along with documentation for any state or private scholarships which you've been awarded to the school's financial aid office.

May / June:

Receive an award letter from your school's financial aid administrator. Although your school will attempt to meet all of your family's financial needs, you may not receive the total amount of aid for which you were determined eligible.

The responsibility for financing post-secondary education rests primarily with you and your family. If you are not eligible for federally sponsored loan programs and must borrow money to meet the cost of your education, investigate credit-based loan products available through your bank or credit union.

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