Financial Aid

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month

There are many financial aid opportunities out there for students. Get the FAFSA basics and the resources you need to navigate your financial aid options.

Shawna Newman

February 01, 2023

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month
Financial aid helps you pay for college!
February is a short month full of notable events and celebrations. But, did you know, February is also Financial Aid Awareness Month?

What is Financial Aid Awareness Month?

Counselors, educators and financial aid advisors use the month of February to educate students on the resources they can use to help them pay for school. High school and current college students—including parents--find the below financial aid articles the most helpful:

What's the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is is the starting point students use to help them pay for school. Completion of this important form is the key to gaining federal and state grants, such as the Pell Grant. Like scholarships, grants do not have to be paid back. It's essentially free money to help you pay for college! Colleges also use individual FAFSA results to determine financial aid award packages for each student. High school seniors and their parents should apply for the FAFSA beginning the fall (October, 1) prior to the fall semester the student will be starting college. College students should renew their FAFSA yearly. Get your answers on what the form is and how to start the process. • The Beginner's Guide to Financial Aid2023-24 Financial Aid and FAFSA State DeadlinesWhy Parents Should Fill Out the FAFSAWhy Should I Complete the FAFSA?After the FAFSA: What to Do Once You've Submitted Yours

How Financial Aid Works

Students should apply for financial aid every year. To apply for financial aid, students need to submit or renew their FAFSA. There are four types of financial aid: Scholarships In most cases, you don't need to complete your FAFSA to receive scholarship money. Federal, State & Institutional Grants You must complete or renew your FAFSA to receive this type of financial aid. Federal Work-Study You must complete your FAFSA to qualify for any federal work-study program. Federal & Private Student Loans If you need to borrow money to pay for college, Federal student loans should be your first choice. Private student loans should be your final option. There are, however, student loan options available that offer reasonable terms. The FAFSA opens October 1 and there are three deadlines: College Schools set their own priority deadline for the FAFSA. State Each state has its own FAFSA deadline. These funds are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Federal This is the final deadline. It occurs on June 30 of the school year you’re applying for. Colleges will then use your FAFSA form to create a financial aid award package. This package includes all forms of financial aid. It's up to you to determine what works best for your financial situation. You can appeal your financial aid award package.

Filling Out Your FAFSA

Find what you need to fill out the FAFSA and other helpful financial aid tools: • FAFSA Checklist How to Submit a FAFSA through the myStudentAid Mobile AppQuick Tips for Filing Your FAFSA10 FAFSA Mistakes that Affect Financial Aid

Financial Aid 101

Understand what common terms you may encounter when working with all types of financial aid. Learn the best tools to help you understand how it all works: • The Best Financial Aid and Loan CalculatorsUnderstand Your Student Aid ReportThe Beginner's Guide to Financial AidFinancial Aid Glossary15 Questions to Ask Your Financial Aid OfficeDropping Out Means Paying Back Financial AidQuestions to Ask About Your Financial Aid PackageMaking Sense of Your EFC

Financial Aid Resources

When it comes to paying for school, things do not always go as planned. Below are some common concerns, and student or family circumstances related to financial aid: • Federal Financial Aid and the Independent Student How Do I Become Independent on the FAFSA If I Am Under Age 24? Which parent is responsible for completing the financial aid application? Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way?
Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?
Financial Aid without Filing the FAFSA?

Scholarship Resources

Scholarships are forms of aid, too. Discover everything about scholarships, from how you can better fill out applications to maximizing your opportunities to win more. • Are Financial Aid and Scholarships the Same Thing?Scholarship Best PracticesFastweb's Scholarship DirectoryScholarship Scam Red Flags

Student Loan Resources

Sometimes, you must take out loans to pay for school. Start your student loan journey informed with help from these articles: • Student Loan GlossaryThe Best Student Loans CalculatorsBorrowing for College: How Much is Too Much?

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