As college costs (particularly at private colleges and universities) escalate, many families may wish to explore the possibility of receiving financial aid. Financial aid generally comes "packaged" with grants (which you do not pay back), work-study aid (student usually receives an on-campus job to help defray expenses), and loans (which are usually low interest and need to be paid back.)
Colleges determine how much aid to award through the use of formulas applied to the data you give on the FREE APPLICATION for FEDERAL STUDENT AID (the FAFSA) and/or the PROFILE form published by the College Scholarship Service (CSS). The www.financialaid.org site is a wonderful resource for all the information you need to fill out financial aid forms (CSS Profile and FAFSA) and find scholarships. You can access the on-line forms directly on the site and also make use of "How to Fill Out FAFSA" and the "How to Fill Out FAFSA" step by step worksheets and videos. Use www.fastweb.com to set up your scholarship search and receive emails whenever a scholarship which fits your profile becomes available for application.
The FAFSA Form
This form is an analysis instrument which allows colleges to determine how much a family can afford to contribute toward the student's first year of tuition. Student eligibility for federal (and most state) grants, loans, and work-study programs is determined by the use of this form. Most public universities use the FAFSA alone to assess student need, while private colleges may require the Profile form as well, and copies of tax returns.
The Financial Aid Profile Form
This form is used primarily by private colleges and universities to determine eligibility for institutional and private funds. It is administered by the College Scholarship Service (CSS). A two-part form, the first part (registration form) should be filed in the fall of senior year. The second part is a customized form prepared by CSS, returned to you to complete and send back to CSS. CSS will then report your financial information to the schools you listed. There is a FEE for this service - Sending your PROFILE report to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. Students who are from low-income families with limited assets will automatically receive fee waivers. Both these forms (FAFSA and Profile), are mailed to GFS and available in the College Room. You can also file on-line through www.collegeboard.com.
Students often ask about merit scholarships. Many schools will attempt to entice the academically strongest students to their campuses through the use of merit scholarships. Limited information about such aid is available in the college room. More extensive information can be found in the public library, and via the internet. You must do the research. Check the individual school's literature for the information and requirements for these programs.
Further information about financial aid can be obtained through the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' website
Della posts information about scholarships to this folder as she receives it.