There are many different types of Financial Aid and it can come from many different sources, which is why we are trying to make it easier to understand! We offer individualized assistance, FAFSA small groups and group workshop sessions to help find funding and apply for financial aid. Visit our Workshops & Events page to see the available sessions and to sign up!
Make sure to check out some of the different links to learn more about the difference between loans and grants, or to answer some questions about the FAFSA and what that even means!
An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are a dependent student, you and your parent will both need to create an FSA ID. You will need an email address, your social security number and some other basic information. This can take 1-3 days to process, which can block you out of your FAFSA until the processing is complete so plan accordingly. If a parent has more than one child submitting a FAFSA application, they can use the same FSA ID to electronically sign all applications. If a student does not have an FSA ID by the time they fill out the FAFSA, they will be prompted to apply for one. This process can be daunting, so let us help! Schedule an appointment today!
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is important to complete the FAFSA early in order to receive maximum consideration for free money. The FAFSA becomes available on January 1st of each year and will require student and/or parent tax information from the previous year. For more information, check out this comprehensive guide to Filling out the FAFSA, and then contact us for a workshop or FAFSA small group, where we will walk you through completing the FAFSA.
Students and families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent of what they are able. The FAFSA uses a complex formula to estimate what a student and family can contribute to the overall cost of college. The Estimated Family Contribution or EFC is a number that the government and most schools use when assessing how much aid a student is eligible to receive. Your can view your EFC as soon as your FAFSA is submitted. Even if you are unsure whether or not you will qualify for any government aid, it is a good idea to complete the FAFSA so that you and your school can view your EFC.
Types of Financial Aid
- Grants are free money awarded to qualified students. The Pell Grant is the most common grant awarded by the FAFSA and is based on your EFC. The Pell, any state grants that may be offered, or even school grants, can be renewed every year by completing your FAFSA before your state's priority deadline. Come in to the College Depot, we can help!
- Loans are funds provided to students (or parents in the case of the Parent PLUS Loan) and must be repaid. Some student loan programs require financial need while others do not. There are two types of loans that students will be eligible for immediately upon completion of the FAFSA, which are: the Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan and the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Be sure to read up on the differences between these two loans, and speak with your Financial Aid counselor to sign up or find out information on other private or institutional loan options.
- Unlike grants or loans, the Federal Work Study program is awarded throughout the semester, through student employment. Students can work on campus and earn funds which can be put toward a student's educational expenses, while the student gains beneficial work experience. If interested, be sure to designate so while completing the FAFSA.
- Scholarships are different from the rest because they can be obtained from many different places and can be need-based or merit-based. Most scholarships require a separate application as well as other materials (e.g. essays, letters of recommendation, etc.) and can be one time only or renewable each year. Make sure to call or visit College Depot with any Scholarship questions and make sure to check out our Scholarships page for a rotating list of upcoming opportunities .
Make sure to follow the links provided to find out more information, and check out the rest of the College Depot website. You can also call us at 602-261-8847 and schedule an appointment!