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Financial Aid Awareness

This week we are switching gears and focusing on a different type of borrowing. We will dive into financial aid. Financial Aid is money that is given, earned, or lent to help students pay for their education. Financial aid makes it possible for millions of students to pay for college.

There are four types of Financial aid; Grants (free money such as Pell Grant), Scholarships (free money awarded for exceptional academics, talent, or financial need), Loans (funds borrowed from banks, colleges, and the government), and Work-study (programs that provide students with financial aid part-time jobs to fund education).

Most often, financial aid is awarded in the form of a package. Packages, consisting of grants, scholarships, loans and/or work-study, are put together by the college’s financial aid office. It is important to know that you can have differing aid packages from college to college. It is important to understand that financial aid is awarded based on financial need. Therefore, if your family can afford to pay $6,000 and the cost of the college is $15,000, the student has a financial need of $9,000. After you can your parents complete the FAFSA (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid), you will get a report that tells you how much your family should be able to afford to pay for college the following year.

The FAFSA is available on October 1. Some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-first served basis, so apply as soon as you can. The application can be completed online, and you will need to create a profile with a password so keep your password in a safe place. The FAFSA is free so there never is a need to pay a company to complete your application. By completing the FAFSA you are applying for a Pell Grant. It is important to understand that although it may seem scary, it is easy to complete and never assume you won’t be eligible.

When completing your FAFSA you will need the following:

  • Log in Info
  • Social Security number
  • Federal Income Tax Return, W2’s, and any other earned money
  • List of schools being considered

With all the above items it could take about an hour to complete. As a TRIO student, you have a secret weapon, your advisor is equipped to assist you in completing your aid. I would encourage you to have your FAFSA and any scholarships submitted to SC4 by March 15. If you are intimidated by the FAFSA, please contact your advisor. As always, Let’s Build!