Paying for College


Sources of Aid

More than 95 percent of student financial aid comes from three sources: the federal government, the state, and colleges and universities. The rest comes from private sources, such as local organizations, foundations, and corporations.

Types of Aid

Financial aid includes grants, loans, work study and scholarships. In general, it is either need-based or merit-based. Need-based aidis awarded to students who cannot pay for college without assistance and includes grants, loans and work study. Merit-based aid, generally in the form of scholarships, is awarded to students based on academic or athletic achievement or other criteria. Most students receive a combination of these types of financial aid in what’s called a financial aid package.




Money awarded to you for college that you do not have to repay.


Money borrowed for college that you have to repay, with interest.

Work Study

Money you earn through part-time work that you do not have to repay.



Money for college - generally based on a skill, talent, or special interest - that you do not have to repay.

Determining Your Eligibility for Need-Based Aid

Your financial need is the difference between the amount it will cost you to go to school (cost of attendance) and the amount of money that you and your family are judged able to pay (expected family contribution).

Your expected family contribution will not vary much from school to school. However, each school has a different cost of attendance. Therefore, your financial need, or the amount of aid for which you qualify, may vary from school to school.

To determine your expected family contribution and your financial need, colleges and universities use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA considers your family income and assets, family size, and number of family members in college.

The calculation, which determines eligibility for aid, is complicated. There is no income cutoff. The only way to learn if you are eligible for any financial aid is to apply.

The application process is not difficult and help is available throughout the process. If you have questions about the FAFSA, contact the high school or call toll-free 1-800-433-3243 (1-800-4FEDAID).

* This information was taken from the HECB web page.

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

FAFSA Application Deadlines:  Apply as soon after January 1, 2015 as possible! 

Federal Student Aid goes quickly!  First come, first serve!! 

The FAFSA is the federal application for financial aid, but it is also used to apply for aid from other sources, such as your state or school.

TIP: The deadlines for your state or schools may be different from the federal deadlines and you may be required to complete additional forms.

Check with your high school guidance counselor or a financial aid administrator at your school about state and school sources of student aid.

- whether it is the receipt date and time or the process date and time of the application.

Federal Student Aid considers a FAFSA’s receipt date and time to be when the FAFSA/correction is submitted successfully.

TIP: When you submit your FAFSA, be sure to print out the confirmation page and keep it for your records. It contains a confirmation number with the exact date and time (Central Standard Time) the form was received.

Note: Transactions must be completed and accepted by midnight to meet the deadline. If you wait too long to submit your application and it is rejected, you may miss your school’s deadline.

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