Class of 2019

Financial Aid? Get Your Share.

Pay for college with extra funding

When it comes to college funding, the biggest misconception students have is thinking their family makes too much money, and therefore is not eligible for funding. In fact, this may be the top reason why eligible students don't receive as much money as they could. Colleges are responsible for distributing the federal government's funding, and their own endowment funds. Discover ways you can eliminate the financial stress of college by maximizing your knowledge of financial aid.

This month, learn:

  • The basics: Financial aid 101
  • How to pay for college
  • Where to find financial aid

2018 Newsletter Archive

What You Should Do NOW:

Understand the Basics of Financial Aid

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money given or loaned to you to help pay for the cost of your higher education. Don’t be discouraged if the cost of continuing your education seems too high at first. Financial aid can help you achieve your education and career goals.

Why is financial aid important?

For many students, financial aid may be the only way to pay for and attend a college or university. With proper planning and cost comparison, higher education can be affordable for you.

Who qualifies for financial aid?

Most students enrolled in higher education qualify for and depend on financial aid–in fact, 85% of students at 4-year institutions and 78% of students at 2-year institutions receive financial assistance (National Center for Education Statistics).

However, not all financial aid has the same requirements for eligibility and is separated into two categories: need-based and merit-based.

Need-based financial aid may be offered to you by the state government, US federal government, and/or colleges and universities based on your family’s ability to pay for college. This is calculated by analyzing your family’s income and assets, creating an Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Expected Family Contribution is a measure of your family’s financial strength based on:

  • Income
  • Assets
  • Benefits
  • Family size
  • The number in your family who will attend college that year

Your EFC is used to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive. It is not the amount you will have to pay for college.

Then, your financial need is determined by comparing your EFC to the cost of the college you plan to attend.

For example, if you choose to attend a local community college, your financial need may be small, while if you choose to attend a higher-priced college, your financial need may be large. Need-based financial aid is typically given in the form of grants and loans.

Merit-based financial aid is usually offered without regard to your financial need and is usually awarded based on academic achievement or for special talents, such as in the arts, athletics, or other areas of unique accomplishment. Merit-based financial aid is typically given in the form of a scholarship or award.

Where Do I Find Financial Aid?

Financial aid can come from many different places, including:

  • State government
  • Federal government
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Private companies or institutions
  • Colleges and universities
  • Community programs
  • Religious organizations
  • Parents’ and students’ employers