Scholarships & Financial Aid
When considering educational expenses in college, many people think only of tuition, books and lab fees, and room and board if one is to live on campus. There is more. Even if you are living at home while going to college, there are expenses incurred that are not paid to the college: clothing, personal expenses, transportation, etc., and the equivalent of room and board while living at home (it costs parents to feed and shelter you). TOTAL EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES amount to more than "college expenses" - the amount paid to the institution.
Become knowledgeable about the FASFA, the Free Application for Student Federal Aid. Even if you do not meet the financial aid guidelines for this type of assistance, many colleges, universities, and other agencies utilizes the FASFA information to award other types of financial, such as scholarships. Completing the FASFA application process may well be worth your time. Students and families may begin to apply in January of the student's senior year.
Learn about the different types of financial aid, especially the differences between money that you do not have to repay, and money you will have to repay at some point in time. Be aware of all the details when it comes to loans, for there will be time lines for repayment, plus the added cost of interest on the loan. College students and their families have had to utilize loans to finance a college education and being aware of the loan requirements is important in choosing the loan options that best fit the needs of your specific situation.
Financial Aid Resources:
- Financial Aid-FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid):It is the only form you need to fill out for most types of financial aid. Submit the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible for the following fall semester. In completing the form, you must include information from your family’s completed or estimated income tax return. For questions about the FAFSA, call 1-800-433-3243.
- Federal Student Aid: Free source of information from the US Department of Education on preparing for and funding education beyond high school
- Financial Aid Estimate Form: The form is used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and financial need, and to estimate your student financial aid. It is a free service.
- Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Grants, loans, and work-study are the three major forms of aid available through the Department's Federal Student Aid office.
- Every Chance Every Texan: Provides financial aid, scholarship information, and college costs for Texas college and universities.
- College for All Texans: Find everything a Texas resident needs to know about preparing for, applying to, and paying for college or technical school.
- Financial Aid Tips from NASFFA: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is an association of over 3,000 colleges, universities, career schools, and others with an interest in student financial aid. NASFAA does NOT provide financial aid to students. You should contact the financial aid office at the college of your choice for details on available opportunities. However, this Web page will direct you to some of the more helpful financial aid guidance on the Web.
Scholarships are a type of financial aid that is based upon academic merit or financial need, and most likely both. The academic record and college entrance test performance will both be major factors. For many scholarship application letters of recommendation, academic records (transcripts), college entrance test scores, essays, and at times the record of school and community service, are required. When you ask references to write letters of recommendation, allow a few weeks for responses to be received.
- ACT scholarship information
- College Board Scholarship Information
- FastWeb Scholarship Search Engine
- Alphabetical Index to Scholarships
- Sallie Mae: Free scholarship award database that contains more than 2.9 million scholarships worth more than $16 billion.
- School Soup: The largest scholarship database in the world. Finds scholarships that match your interests and profile by searching through $32 billion worth of scholarships. Scholarships with the best matches are listed first.
- Hispanic Scholarships: The Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. As the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education fund, HSF works to address the barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree.
*Check out this fun artlcle about some of the weirdest scholarships offered. Click here.