Financial aid makes the dream of a continued education possible for many. As with any loan that may be thousands of dollars, many people have questions that may arise to ensure their understanding of the options available for them.
Financial Aid Questions
- What if My Parents Make Too Much Money for Me to Qualify?
Money is not the only factor taken into consideration for financial aid awards. It also depends on the size of your family and additional factors, such as state funding levels, college endowment levels, your grades, and family financial assets.
Most schools require you to complete FAFSA forms before you are eligible for financial aid or scholarship awards. Scholarship funds are also considered part of financial aid and may be awarded to people for many of the following things, and more:
- Athletic performance
- Academic performance
- SAT or ACT scores
- Musical talent (voice, instrumental, etc.)
- Organizational participation
- Military service/JROTC/ROTC
- Community service
Each of these types of scholarships represents a form of financial aid that can assist you in obtaining a college degree.
- What if I Don't Have a Perfect GPA?
The purpose of financial aid is to assist students from all backgrounds in getting a college education. Not every student gets perfect scores on every test. Financial aid, at least on the federal level, is more about a financial need and less about historical academic performance. However, once you receive financial aid, you must maintain a certain GPA to continue receiving it.
- Are All Financial Aid Packages the Same?
When you fill out the FAFSA form, make sure you send it to all of the colleges you are considering. These forms are used to help determine eligibility for a variety of financial aid resources, including:
- Work-study programs
- Institutional scholarships
Since different colleges and universities cost different amounts to attend, and offer different options for work-study programs and institutional scholarships, you may discover that your financial aid package goes further at one college than another you are considering. You also might find that some colleges and universities offer more generous financial aid packages based on the size of their endowment or available funds, or their desire to recruit students from a broader geographic area or varied demographic background.
- Will Financial Aid Cover All of My Costs?
Many families qualify for some financial aid, but not enough to cover all the costs of attending college. Financial aid is to assist students in getting their degrees. Your aid package will probably not cover the entire cost of attending college.
You may qualify for more money during your freshman year than in subsequent years (based on eligibility factors, costs of attendance, and availability of funds). After financial aid, loans are almost always available as an option.
- I Didn’t Qualify Last Year, Will I Qualify This Year?
Financial aid requirements, limits, and available funds are constantly changing. Also, specific schools and universities add new scholarships, grants, and programs all the time. The fact that you did not qualify last year does not necessarily mean you will not qualify in the future.
The best course of action is to fill out the forms as early in the year as possible and do so each year you are in college.
Take advantage of the financial aid resources and programs that are available to you, including scholarships, grants, loans, work-study programs and more. The first step though, is filling out the FAFSA form.