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Financial Aid Information

Learning the lingo

Whether you have already chosen a college or you're still trying to decide, this is a good time to figure out what it will cost and how you'll pay for it.

The Cost of Education

Each college's financial aid office can provide information to help you figure the expenses. Don't be discouraged if the cost of continuing education seems too high—financial aid is available for students who qualify.

Financial aid is a general term for any financial assistance given to a student for any type of postsecondary education (four-year college, two-year college, trade and technical schools).

Generally, financial aid is divided into two groups:

  • Need-based financial aid
  • Merit-based financial aid

There are several types of financial aid and a variety of sources of financial assistance. Remember, not all aid is based on financial need. Some awards are based on academic performance or selected skills.

College Price

ACT Profile provides individualized cost estimates of nearly 4,000 colleges.

Types of Financial Aid


Need-Based Financial Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Financial Aid Packages

Sources of Financial Aid

Financial assistance to attend college comes in many forms. Most people use a combination of these forms of aid to pay for college.

Federal Aid Programs

State Aid Programs

Grants and Scholarships


Military Programs

Work Study Programs

Working and Savings

How to Apply for Financial Aid

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the U.S. Department of Education Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • File only one FAFSA regardless of how many colleges you are considering. The FAFSA includes a section to list the colleges where you want your information sent.
  • Forms are available at the FAFSA website (opens new window), at high school counselor offices, or by calling the Federal Student Aid information hotline (800/433-3243).

Applying for Need-Based Financial Aid

Applying for Grants and Scholarships

Financial Aid Resources


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