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          Financial aid is sometimes the only way to be able to pay for college. Financial aid can mean the difference between going to college and not getting a degree. Luckily there are many options available for financial aid for college in the United States. There are government as well as state based financial aid options including college level aid. It is best to become as informed as possible regarding financial aid for college including student loans, scholarships, and grants so that you will get all the help you can while attending college.


Step 1

Before you enter college, in your senior year of high school, use your high school’s library to apply for senior scholarships for college. Many high schools will have a room or office sometimes in the library sometimes separate that is considered a college preparation room. In this room you will find books about each of the universities as well as videos about the school. In addition there will be folders with scholarship opportunities.

Some of these scholarships are from high school alumni and can be in the thousands of dollars. It is best to apply for as many as are possible.

Step 2

Ask your high school guidance counselor for advice on which scholarships to apply for. Your guidance counselor will steer you in the right direction when it comes to what scholarships and financial aid to apply for before you enter college.



Step 3

Make sure to fill out your FAFSA form before the deadline for each year in college that you are requesting financial aid. The FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is a government form that asks questions such as how much money your parents and you make, etc. Its purpose is to determine your need eligibility for financial aid for college.



Step 4

Once you receive the results from your FAFSA you will see which government related grants are available to you. This may include Federal Pell Grants and other loans. Some of these have to be paid back others do not. Many loans available to you do not accrue interest until after you graduate so this makes it easier on your wallet.



Step 5

Wait to receive a benefit determination letter from your university after you have filled out your FAFSA. The FAFSA is used by your university to determine if they will give you any scholarship money or offer loans. They will usually offer you a benefit determination letter that includes any combination of scholarships, grants, and loans. You have the ability to choose which ones you want to accept for the next semester or year if any at all.




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