What types of financial aid are available?
Need-Based Financial Aid:
- Awarded based on demonstrated financial need, need-based financial aid is used to make up the difference between what a family can pay and the total cost of education (tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and some personal expenses). To determine this type of financial aid, colleges require families to complete the Free Federal Financial Aid Form (FAFSA).
- This form can be filed online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. For the 2018–19 year, you can apply between Oct. 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019. The 2019–20 FAFSA form will be available on Oct. 1, 2018.
Once the admissions office has decided to admit a student and the financial aid office has determined that she qualifies for financial aid, the financial aid office will put together his or her financial aid package, comprised of several different types of financial assistance:
Grants: Federal, state, and institutional grants are financial aid awards that typically do not have to be repaid.
Loans: Frequently interest-free during enrollment, student loans must be repaid, with interest, over several years following graduation.
Subsidized Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans: Need-based loans on which the federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled in college and for six months after graduation. Students may also qualify for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
Work The vast majority of financial aid recipients will be expected to hold part-time (usually around 10 hours per week) campus jobs in areas such as the library, academic departments, food services, administrative offices, etc.
- College-sponsored merit scholarships are awarded to students based on academic achievement, ethnic or racial diversity; a particular talent (artistic, athletic, etc.); etc.
- Merit scholarships are also available from a wide variety of non-school groups or organizations (for example, religious organizations, corporations, and foundations).
Student loans are usually subsidized by the state of federal government or by colleges themselves, and they carry lower interest rates than commercial loans. They have to be repaid, generally after you have graduated from college.
Many financial aid packages combine loans and work-study under the heading “Self-Help” and some schools allow students some discretion as to the ratio of loan to work.