Financial aid for students is the funding and loans available to help overcome the incredibly high price of getting a college degree. A student can use the financial aid to help pay for tuition, room and board, books, and other miscellaneous college expenses.
There are two types of funds available: merit-based and need based. Need-based student aid is money that comes from the federal government which is based on a financial need. The federal government provides financial support in two different ways. The type of aid that is best for students is called FAFSA, which provides money to students which does not need to be paid back at the end of the college experience.
The other type of federal funding available to students is student loans. This is money that is given to the student in the form of Federal Stafford loans, federal park at loans, and federal plus loans. Money students receive in the form of these loans must be repaid at the end of their college experience.
Students cannot qualify for federal funding until they have filled out the Free Application for Student Aid Form provided by the United States government. Once this form is filled out, the student will receive notification about how much federal funding they can expect from the government. Many individual states also provide funding in the form of grants, loans, work study programs, tuition waivers, and scholarships to students attending school in their state.
Students can apply for financial aid before they are accepted into a school. However, they will not receive any funding until they are actually enrolled in college. It is important for students to remember that they must reapply for financial aid every year. Most students reapply for financial aid on January 1.
If a student receives a loan, it is important to remember that they, not their parents, are responsible for paying it back at the end of their college career. The only time parents are responsible for most of student loans is if they are cosigners. The one exception to this is the federal PLUS loan. Students can apply for a federal education long before the age of 18.
Merit-based financial aid is scholarships earned by the student that are financed from an outside source such as universities and colleges, corporations, and other private sources. Merit-based financial aid can be awarded based on the student’s personal character, leadership potential, or special talents.