Financial aid in a nutshell
Financial aid makes up the difference between what college costs and what a family can afford to pay. Approximately two-thirds of full-time undergraduate college students receive some sort of financial aid.
There are three main types of financial aid:
- Loans that have to be repaid
- Grants and scholarships that don’t have to be repaid
- Employment programs, such as work-study, that allow students to earn money and gain job experience while still in school
Guides and handbooks
Many publications are available that can explain more about the financial aid process. Here are two free resources:
Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid, is published by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). This publication provides basic information on federal student aid to help students pay for college or career school.
Getting Financial Aid explains how students can get financial aid to help pay for college. It provides the financial aid picture for each of more than 3,000 colleges.
Financial aid websites
These useful sites are all administered by the U.S. Department Of Education.
Federal Student Aid is a good starting place for students planning for college and looking for financial aid.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) takes students line-by-line through the financial aid application process. Starting in 2016, the FAFSA can be completed after October 1.
Financial Aid Overview has links to many useful sites on this topic.
Other helpful sites.
Affordable Colleges Online Affordable Colleges Foundation began in 2011 to provide information about pursuing an affordable higher education. Free community resource materials and tools span topics such as financial aid and college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. The free Financial Aid Guidebook includes information about: types of financial aid, tips on how to apply for financial aid, and expert advice about understanding and filling out the FAFSA.
College Affordability Guide has information related to college costs including tuition, fees, and room and board. Information can be searched by region or state.
Western Undergraduate Exchange Program offers a list of schools in Western states that provide a reduction in out-of-state tuition through the WUE Exchange Program.