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Financial Aid / Scholarships

There are several forms of financial assistance that you can receive as a qualified student attending an eligible program at a college participating in student financial aid programs.

You may be eligible to receive financial aid from the federal government, our state government, your college, or from an organization funding private scholarships. Research your financial aid options early and be sure to meet all application deadlines! Students must maintain eligibility through satisfactory academic progress and are required to maintain a minimum college enrollment status which typically varies from half–time to full–time college attendance.

Watch How to Pay for College and see your TRiO transition specialist for assistance.

Federal student financial aid is assistance that’s available through the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid can cover college expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Federal student assistance programs are built on the premise that funding a student’s education is primarily the responsibility of the family. To fairly assess the family's ability to pay for a student's education, an established formula is used which determines financial need by calculating the cost of college attendance minus an expected family contribution. Your expected family contribution (EFC) is determined through the process of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and takes into consideration such factors as size of family, prior year taxable income and the number of individuals in your family who are presently attending college. Each of the institutions that you are applying to will consider their average cost of attendance minus your EFC to determine your eligibility for federal aid.

Grants reflect financial assistance that you will not be expected to repay. Grants can come from federal, state, or private institutional programs and represent an outright gift of money often made available to financially needy students. In order to determine your eligibility for grant programs, you must fill out the FAFSA. Awarded each year through your higher education institution, Grants require that you submit a new FAFSA during each year of college attendance.

Scholarships on the other hand, may or may not have a financial eligibility requirement, but typically are available to students on a competitive basis. Scholarships are awarded to students based on financial need or based on merit (academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, community service, etc.). Like grants, scholarships are available from private and public institutions including most colleges. Also like Grants, scholarships require that you apply and often require completion of the FAFSA prior to scholarship application submission.

Loans reflect financial assistance that you will be expected to repay. There are two major categories of student loans, those awarded based on financial need and those not tied directly to financial need which may be awarded to students or their parents. The largest provider of needs based loans is the federal government. Needs based loans are often subsidized and are included as part of a school financial aid package provided to eligible students and have three factors in common: they are low interest, they have a delayed re-payment feature, and the federal government subsidizes the interest payments while you attend college. Beyond needs based loans made directly by the federal government, private financial institutions and schools may make loans. Often these loans are backed by the federal government but are not subsidized which means they may require an immediate repayment plan and carry a higher interest rate. The process involved in applying and qualifying for a subsidized, unsubsidized or direct loan requires completion of the FAFSA prior to loan application.

Campus Based Aid -- Federal Work Study, The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal Perkins Loan programs are called campus-based programs because they are administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate in all three programs. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out which programs they participate in. Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient's course of study. How much aid you receive from each of these programs depends on your financial need, on the amount of other aid you receive, and on the availability of funds at your college or career school. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards can be made from that program for that year. So, make sure you apply for federal student aid as early as you can.

Federal funds have been allocated for this TRiO program, 100% of this project is financed through a grant from the US Department of Education.