financial aid and scholarships

Financial aid comes in three main forms: grants, scholarships, and loans. Let's start off by defining what these are:

Grants: Colleges, state governments, and federal governments give money that does not have to be paid back. They are often based on your financial need. One well-known example is the Pell Grant given to college students from low-income backgrounds. To be eligible for most grants, you must fill out the FAFSA.

Scholarships: Like grants, scholarships do not have to be paid back. Plus, it is not all based on GPA and test scores - many scholarships have an essay component or are given to students with a certain identity or background, and some have essay components.

Loans: Money given that is expected to be paid back with interest. While not a first choice, loans can be necessary and helpful. The best kind of loan to get is a subsidized federal loan, where the interest does not start accumulating until after you graduate. To get this kind of loan, you have to - you guessed it! - fill out the FAFSA.


SENIORS: The FAFSA opened October 1st, 2017! If you're attending college Fall 2018, you need to start filling out the FAFSA as soon as possible to maximize your financial aid.