Free information is readily available from:
Ask questions: counselors may know if you have exceptional circumstances that affect your eligibility.
: use calendars
to keep on track.
Keep copies of all forms and correspondence: you must reapply for aid each year.
Parents of students
: save money long before your child attends college.
Beware of scholarship scams
-- don't pay for free information!
Student aid and where it comes from:
Basic Assistance Categories
- Financial need-based
Remember that students and their parents are responsible for paying what they can-- financial aid is a supplement, not a substitute, for family resources.
- Non need-based
Factors include academic excellence, ethnic background, or organization membership. Corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.
Federal Student Aid
- Provides nearly 70% of student aid under Loans, Grants and Work/study programs.
- Available to all need-based applicants; some loans and competitive scholarships for non need-based.
- Free information from the U.S. Department of Education:
Other grants, scholarships, and fellowships, mostly graduate level: search the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Beneficiary, such as "Student or Trainee" or "Graduate Student". (CFDA) by
- Named for Member of Congress or other prominent individual (such as Byrd Honors Scholarships, Fulbright fellowships
- Merit-based and highly competitive
- Members of Congress do not play a role in selecting recipients
- Search by Beneficiary in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
For questions not covered by the Department of Education website, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
States offer residents a variety of scholarships, loans, and tuition exemptions.
- Check with your state higher education agency and guarantee agency.
- Consider prepaid tuition and college savings ("Section 529")plans: College Savings Plans Network.
- Search your Internet browser under terms such as student financial aid or assistance AND your state.
Colleges and universities
provide some 20% of aid, most need-based. Check university websites
and the institution's financial aid office when you apply for admission.
Private foundations, corporations, and organizations
offer scholarships or grants:
Targeted aid for special groups
After college, the federal government has ways to help you repay your loans. Eligibility depends upon the type of loan, when it was made, and whether it's in default.