TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID
You can continue your education after high school even if you and your parents can't meet the total educational costs whether it is college, university, vocational or technical institute. Money is usually available on a first come first serve basis to those who apply and qualify. Always check with the financial aid office of the institution. Financial aid takes on many forms:
A type of financial aid that does not require repayment or employment and is usually awarded to students who demonstrate or show potential for achievement, usually academic, at that institution. They may be merit-based and/or need-based. You do not necessarily have to be a straight "A" student.
These are awarded for specific reasons (minority, contest award), based on need or merit, and do not have to be repaid. Many grants are government awarded and require the filing of the FAFSA application. (Pell Grant, SEOG Grant)
This is an arrangement where the student combines employment and college study. The employment may be an integral part of the academic program (internships or cooperative education) or simply as a means of paying for college. The Federal work-study program requires filing of the FAFSA.
Educational loans can be from various sources: Banks, foundations, unions, etc. These loans usually have a low rate of interest and must be repaid, usually after you have completed your education. REMEMBER: Borrowing for educational expenses may be a necessity, but it may be the best investment you will ever make!
WHAT ARE SOME PLACES TO CONTACT FOR MONEY FOR COLLEGE?
College/University Financial Aid Officer (FAO)
The FAO controls about ninety percent of all student financial aid available. Financial aid includes need-based and merit awards. Please contact the Financial Aid Office of the school you wish to attend EARLY (Some schools have scholarship deadlines in December, even before you are accepted). Check out the financial aid website or college catalog of your school and learn what they offer.
Various departments at a college (Art, Engineering, History, etc.) may offer scholarships to students enrolled in specific majors. Check with the college if you have a special talent such as music, art, drama, athletics, math, science and other talent areas. Sports would be included here.
Some colleges have special programs or awards for specific groups of students, such as special assistance programs for minority students, church related awards for members of their faith, or dependent of a clergyman, etc.
Local Community Scholarships
Our community offers several scholarships such as Jack C. Byrd and Jack Fields Scholarships. Information usually is available in February concerning local scholarships. Students can pickup applications from the College Resource Center. Applications are generally due back the week before spring break. Listen to announcements. Winners are usually announced at the Senior Award Night held in May.
Various businesses or unions, especially large companies have scholarships, grants, or awards for dependents of their employees, or in some cases, for anybody. Discuss with your parents about possible scholarship opportunities through their employers, or clubs to which they belong.
Check with your local foundations. Many offer grants, scholarships and/or loans.
Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, or Clep Testing
Save money and time through your high school and/or college.
The College Resource Center, Scholarship Directories, and the Internet
There are resources for searching for scholarships in the College and Career�Resource Center. We will announce scholarships online, in the CCRC and via EAGLE MAIL.
FAFSA is a form completed by all applicants for federal student aid. Some colleges also employ this form for their financial aid programs. Forms are available in high schools, the public library, financial aid offices in colleges, and online. They may be filed any time after January 1 of the year for which one is seeking aid (e.g. after January 1, 2005, for the academic year 2005-2006, your freshman year). FAFSA Student Guides are available in the College Resource Center. New paper application forms usually arrive in late November, but the current online form is not available until January 1. The following is from the FAFSA web site.
Why Fill Out a FAFSA?
To apply for federal student financial aid, and to apply for many state student aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information you provide on your FAFSA determines if you are eligible for financial aid.
What are the benefits of using FAFSA on the Web?
- FAFSA on the Web is faster than applying for aid by paper.
- FAFSA on the Web uses skip logic based on your particular information, so you will need to answer fewer questions than on the paper application.
- FAFSA on the Web checks your answers before you submit your application, so there is less chance your application will be rejected because of missing or conflicting information.
- You can save application information so that it can be completed and transmitted at a later time.
- FAFSA on the Web can be used on Windows or Macintosh computers, using the most popular Netscape and Microsoft browser versions.
- FAFSA on the Web doesn't require software to be installed, so it takes less time before you can actually use the application.
- You can access FAFSA on the Web from anywhere, including school or home, making it more convenient to complete the application.
- FAFSA on the Web can support an unlimited number of users, allowing thousands of students to apply at once.
The FAFSA is used for the following federal programs.
Federal Pell Grants
Federal Stafford Loans
Federal PLUS Loans
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
Federal Work Study
Federal Student Aid PIN Registration site
http://http://www.pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp . Getting your PIN early before Christmas will hasten the application and determination process with the FAFSA. Corrections and updates are much easier too.
http://www.fafsa.ed.gov Has online forms and filing with information about FAFSA
Students Gateway to the Government
The Student Guide
http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/student_guide/index.html A comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Updated each award year, The Student Guide tells you about the programs and how to apply for them. Paper copies are available in the college room and in the counselor's office with the FAFSA Application forms.
Spotting a Scam
Scholarship or financial aid scams can be hard to spot because promoters often imitate government agencies, legitimate grant-giving foundations, education lenders, or scholarship matching services. They may use words like "national," "federal," "foundation," and "administration" in their titles. Their letters may be printed on red, white and blue letterhead and contain official-looking seals. They may make false claims of approvals or affiliations with government agencies, Chambers of Commerce or Better Business Bureaus. And they may make statements like these:
- "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back." Says the FTC: No one can guarantee that they'll get you a grant or scholarship. And the refund guarantees that are offered usually have so many conditions or strings attached that it's almost impossible for consumers to get their money back.
- "You can't get this information anywhere else." Scholarship information is widely available for free from financial aid offices and on the Internet, if you're willing to get it.
- "We'll do all the work." Only parents and students can determine and provide the financial information needed to complete the forms. And to apply for scholarships, students generally are required by the scholarship provider to be part of the process.
- "You've been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship." If you haven't entered a competition sponsored by the foundation, view this claim with suspicion.
- "May I have your credit card or back account number to hold this scholarship." This is never a requirement for a legitimate scholarship offer.
- "The scholarship will cost some money." Legitimate scholarship offers never require payment of any kind. Free money is free money, unless it's a loan. If it is a loan, any fees that may be charged, such as the origination and guarantee fees, are taken out of the disbursement check.
"And", says Gregory Ashe, an attorney in the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, "Scam artists often will urge you to sign up on the spot, explaining that 'the company won't be back in the area again' or 'the offer is good for today only.'" "In our experience, a legitimate company lets you have time to make up your mind," he says. "A fraudulent company is more interested in getting your money." If a company makes these types of claims, the FTC says steer clear.
Investigate Before You Invest
If you're considering a financial aid service, it's always best to check it out first:
- Ask the financial aid counselor at your school (in high schools, it may be the guidance counselor) for a reference on the company and its offer.
- Ask the company for the names and telephone numbers of other parents or students near you who have signed on with the company. Call these people and ask how they rate the company and its services.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau in the area where the company is based and the area where you live to see whether the company has a history of unresolved complaints. When checking on a prospective company, keep in mind that while a complaint record may indicate questionable business practices, a lack of complaints doesn't necessarily mean the company is without problems. Unscrupulous dealers often change names and locations to hide a history of complaints.
- Verify that the scholarship service is a corporation, if that's what it claims. FinAid, a website on student financial aid (www.finaid.org), suggests that you verify that claim with your state's corporation bureau, usually within the Attorney General's office or the Secretary of State's office. The bureaus can tell you whether a business in incorporated and give you details about the organization, such as its date of incorporation, the corporate address and the names of company principals. You may discover that the company's claims don't hold up.
If your investigation turns up no suspicious behavior about the company and you are comfortable with its offer, get the refund policy in writing before you sign anything and give up any money or account information.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information , visit www.ftc.gov or Call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel , a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.