College Financial Aid Explained

At some point in your education life, you will most likely ask the question, Do I qualify for financial aid? If you do, you certainly will not be alone. I am sure most, if not all, students attending, or planning to attend college, will ask that same question.

College financial aid is cash assistance given to college students by the federal government or private institutions. The major objective of these funds is to aid college students in covering their expenses.

College financial aid is actually based on merit and is usually found in terms of fellowships, scholarships, and grants, which are given to students concerning various talents such as athletic, academic, and artistic. Private institutions usually provide this merit-based financial aid to a student in recognition for their achievements. The money received may also be awarded directly to the student’s intended school rather than the money actually passing through the student’s hands.

The second most common form of college financial aid are grants awarded based on student financial need. To be eligible for this form of college financial aid, the applicant must fill out a FAFSA form. In addition, regardless of whether you are applying for a needs-based grant from a federal bureau or a private institution they will ask your FAFSA results form to ascertain your eligibility for awards. The U.S. Department of Education determines your financial need after they have reviewed your family’s financial status and determined what their expected financial contribution to your college education will be.

The third most common form of financial aid is student specific. Some of these scholarships and grants can be obtained through personal characteristics you possess, such as your heritage, where you live, or even if you are left handed. However, they can also be based upon your gender, religion, medical history, or a variety of other factors. Minority scholarships are the most common awards in this division of college financial aid. However, you need to be a citizen of the United States to qualify for these scholarships.

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The last type of college financial aid is career oriented and granted to students based on their focus of study. A university or college to their students who are pursuing a degree in a specific field distributes these grants and fellowships. This money, more often than not, is awarded to applicants who are going into a field where there is a critical shortage of workers, such as nursing or teaching, for example. There are many hospitals across the country that will cover the full cost of a nursing student’s education costs if he or she will agree to sign onto their hospital for a certain number of years. Similarly, the government will cover the cost of a teacher’s education if he or she will agree to work in a low-income neighborhood for a certain period.

With all of the financial aid that is available, you are only cheating yourself if you do not take advantage of as many of these opportunities as possible.

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