STUDENTS FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION
Students financial aid faq and more...
The major source of student financial aid is the U.S. Department of Education. About 70% of the student aid that is awarded each year comes from the U.S. Department of Education's programs (approximately $73 billion in fiscal year 2005). The Department's aid includes grants, loans, and work-study.
In addition to reading the Funding section of this Web site (see link above), you can get free materials from the financial aid office at your college or career school or the guidance office at your high school. These include the FAFSA as well as print versions of The Student Guide and Funding Your Education (two booklets that provide detailed information about the U.S. Department of Education's programs). You also may request copies of the FAFSA or either of the two booklets by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) toll free at the number shown below. The FSAIC's operators can answer your questions about federal student aid and the application process.
Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC):
Most federal student aid is awarded based on financial need rather than scholastic achievement. For instance, most grants are targeted to low-income students. However, you do not have to show financial need to receive certain federal student loans.
You may apply for federal student aid at no cost by filing a paper FAFSA or applying electronically with FAFSA on the Web, the online application for federal student aid. All you need for FAFSA on the Web is a computer that supports a Department-approved browser. FAFSA on the Web is at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Who Offers Free Help Completing My FAFSA?
Various Web sites offer help filing the FAFSA for a fee. These sites are not affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. We urge you not to pay these sites for assistance that is provided free elsewhere. You can get free help from the FSAIC, from the financial aid administrator at your college, from FAFSA on the Web's online help, or from a U.S. Department of Education online guide called Completing the FAFSA at www.studentaid.ed.gov/completefafsa
What About Aid from Other Government Agencies?
Student aid is also available from other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. For links to such information, visit www.students.gov
WHO CAN GIVE ME DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT STATE STUDENT AID?
Contact your state education agency (usually located in your state capital). Call the FSAIC or click here to get the telephone number for your state agency; this site also has links to state agencies' Web sites.
WHO ELSE AWARDS AID TO STUDENTS?
Student aid may also be available from foundations, community organizations, and organizations related to your field of interest (for example, the American Medical Association or American Bar Association). Contact the organizations directly for detailed information. Check with your parents' employers to see whether they award scholarships or have tuition payment plans. Although funds from these sources make up a small percentage of the total aid awarded each year, it's worth doing the research–you never know what you might find.
CHECKLIST OF FREE SOURCES OF STUDENT FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION
WHAT IF I'M STILL CURIOUS ABOUT SCHOLARSHIP SEARCH SERVICES?
A number of privately operated scholarship search services charge fees that can range from $50 to well over $1,000. It is important to understand what information scholarship search services can provide. Some can be helpful in identifying sources of aid for students who meet certain criteria, such as academic achievement, religious affiliation, ethnic or racial heritage, artistic talents, athletic ability, career plans, or proposed field of study. However, bear in mind that funds from these sources are usually limited and not all applicants will receive awards.
Listed below are some of the services you might reasonably expect from a private scholarship search service.
What Are Some Questionable Tactics I Should Watch Out For?
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education receives numerous complaints from students and parents who did not receive the information they expected from a search service. The Department does not evaluate private scholarship search services. If you decide to use one of these services, you should check its reputation by contacting the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com), a school guidance counselor, or a state attorney general's office. Additionally, investigate the organization yourself before making a commitment:
Could you run that by me one more time?
Most of the information private scholarship search services provide can be obtained for free elsewhere. Before you pay any company or organization to find student financial aid for you, make sure you're not paying for free information. Also make sure you know what you're getting for your money. Searching for student aid on your own can prevent you from wasting your money. You just need to know where to look.
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