Home > Financial Aid > Financial Aid Information > Student Financial Aid

Student Financial Aid

Funding your education entirely with scholarship money is a great goal, but it is not likely, especially with housing and other living expenses. However there are student financial aid options that exist beyond scholarships and student loans and learning about student financial aid in advance could save thousands in student loan debt.

Do Your Research

Research financial aid before the federal student financial aid for college January 1. Read about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA on the Web is necessary to qualify for need-based student financial aid, including scholarships. The Department of Education offers a tool called FAFSA4caster which estimates your expected family contribution and what financial aid you can expect before application deadlines.

Keep up-to-date on changes in financial aid. For example, the Department of Education recently launched three new grant programs to supplement Federal Pell Grants for specific groups of students. The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), the SMART grant, and the TEACH grant are all awarded to FAFSA filers based on financial need and additional criteria. Keep especially ahead of the ACG because the criteria must be met early on in high school. Just like scholarships, investigating financial aid options early increases your chances of qualifying for more financial aid.

Apply Early

Be aware of your state’s priority deadline for the FAFSA, in addition to scholarship and other application deadlines. Certain forms of student financial aid, including state grants, low-interest Federal Perkins Loans, and other campus-based programs, have limited funding and are given out first-come, first-serve. To get the best federal student financial aid package possible, apply early. Most private colleges also require a CSS profile to award institutional aid.

Explore Every Option

Federal aid is constant, but institutional aid varies from college to college. For example, institutional aid amounts from state universities are different from aid at private schools. You might academic scholarship, a need-based grant, and a more generous federal aid package at one school, while another school will make you pay entirely in loans. Conduct a college search, in addition to searching for available scholarships and learning about federal student financial aid for college. Apply for all available financial aid programs at each school to maximize your financial aid opportunity.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Colleges Cut Ties with Papa John's Founder over Alleged Racist Remarks

July 19, 2018

by Susan Dutca

Colleges and universities nationwide are continuing to cut ties to John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's Pizza, after he used a racial slur to describe black people. Even after resigning and issuing an apology, Schnatter accused the board for not "doing any investigation" and acting solely on "rumor and innuendo." [...]

Supreme Court Rules for Professor in Viral Blog Case

July 10, 2018

by Susan Dutca

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that Marquette University wrongfully suspended a political science professor after he criticized a graduate student over a discussion on gay marriage. It also ordered the university to reinstate him and pay damages immediately. The court's 4-2 decision in favor of professor John McAdams determined that Marquette violated McAdams' academic freedom as defined in his contract. [...]

Google Brings IT Programs to Community Colleges

June 28, 2018

by Susan Dutca

Google is headed back to college and it's bringing an IT Professional Certificate program to more than 25 community colleges to train graduates for the roughly 150,000 "well-paying jobs currently open in IT" in the United States. Over the course of the eight-month program, students will learn to manage and solve problems with computer systems and servers. [...]

Last Reviewed: July 2018