Knowing how you are going to pay for college is one of the best ways to set yourself up for an easier transition into college. Regardless if you started saving when you were younger or your parents are going to help, all students should complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA should be completed annually because all federal aid and most state and institutional aid require it.
The FAFSA is currently open
for the 2018-2019 school year.
Here’s how it works:
- Set up your personal Federal Student Aid ID to access, complete, and submit the FAFSA online
- Complete your application as soon as possible after the FAFSA start date each year you plan to attend college
- Once you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), make sure your FAFSA information is correct and complete
- Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) financial aid award letter to see what your actual college costs will look like. Your family’s circumstances and preferences will help determine what federal and private financing options may fit your situation.
After the FAFSA: What happens next?
Below are the common types of Financial Aid available to you:
- Pell Grants provide need-based grants to undergraduate students. The money doesn’t have to be repaid (unless you withdraw from school before finishing an enrollment period).
- State Aid is primarily available to students who attend a college in their state of residence.
- Institutional Aid is provided by public and private colleges and universities to help their students pay for tuition and fees.
- Federal Work Study Programs are offered by colleges to help their students earn money by working part-time.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) are available to undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half-time. These loans will need to be repaid.
- Scholarships are a great free way to help pay for college! There five main types of scholarships available. There are five different types of scholarships: Merit-based, Athletic, Student-specific, Career-specific, and Need-Based. For more information about scholarships, click here.
Sometimes, you may need to find additional college financing options. Below are three common financing options students use to cover the remainder of their tuition costs.
- Tuition Payment Plans may be available by colleges to help their students pay tuition in interest-free monthly installments instead of one lump sum at the start of the semester.
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans are credit-based student loans offered by the federal government. These loans are available to graduate or professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students.
- Private or Alternative Student Loans are credit-based student loans that may be available for graduates, undergraduates, professional degrees, or qualified certificate or licensure programs. There may also be financing options available for anyone who may be interested in borrowing to help the student pay for college. These loans are provided by banks or other lenders.