There are three basic types of financial aid for families:
1. Scholarships, Grants and Work Study
Scholarships are awards from a private source that do not need to be paid back. They can be merit- or need-based and are an excellent source of financial aid for college. More information on scholarships can be found here.
Grants are federal, state or institutional sources of student aid that do not have to be paid back. There are many different types of grants, including:
- Federal Pell Grant: need-based grants from $400-$4,050.
- Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG): for students who have completed rigorous secondary curriculum and meet GPA requirements. The freshman/sophomore awards range from $750-$1,300.
- National SMART (Science And Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grants: for students enrolled in a science or math degree program. Junior and senior grant awards are up to $4,000.
- Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): priority is given to students with exceptional need but funding is limited. Awards range from $100-$4,000.
- Minnesota State Grant: for MN residents enrolled at an eligible MN school. Awards range from $100-$8,000.
- Institutional Grants: grants given by colleges and universities to students with financial need.
The Federal Work Study Program is money students can earn while attending school by working on campus or for a non-profit. Money does not have to go directly to tuition, but can be used for living and school expenses.
2. Federal Student Loans
Families may be eligible for Federal Student Loans which must be paid back. Loans include: Federal Perkins loans, Federal Stafford loans and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) loans.
Loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized. With a subsidized loan the government pays the interest while the student is in college. Students/families are required to pay the itnerest with an unsubsidized loan.
3. Alternative Loans
Alternative loans are from banks and other private lenders that students and families use to cover remaining costs. These loans generally have higher interest rates and are less flexible than the federal loans.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
Beginning in October of your senior year, follow these steps:
1. Gather the following materials:
Social Security Numbers
W-2 forms, Federal Income Tax Return, and other records of money earned in the previous year
If you worked in the past year, your W-2(s) and income tax forms (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) are needed.
If you live with both natural parents, and they are currently married, W-2 forms and income tax records for both parents are needed.
If you live with one natural parent who is not currently married, the W-2(s) and tax returns from the parent you live with for most of the year are needed. If your parents are divorced and share equal custody, use the W-2(s) and tax returns from the parent who provides more money for support.
If you live with one natural parent and one step-parent, W-2(s) and tax returns from both will be needed.
Records of untaxed income: Social Security benefits, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Welfare, and/or Veteran Benefits Records
Current bank statements
Current business and investment and mortgage information; business and farm records; and stock, bond and other investment records
Alien registration or permanent residence card (if you are not a US citizen)
2. Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
To complete the FAFSA online, follow these steps:
Request a PIN for the student and parents at www.pin.ed.gov
List all the schools to which you are applying on the FAFSA, so those schools can access your FAFSA.
Your FAFSA will determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the amount the government believes you and your family can afford to pay for college each year. Based of the EFC and the college's Cost of Attendance (COA), the school determines your financial need. The college will put together a financial aid award package that lists a variety of options to help you meet your financial need which may include federal grants/loans, work study, and institutional grants or aid.
Are you interested in attending a scholarship and admissions seminar? For more information, go to www.scholarlearn.comfastweb_link_4.gif