What College Aid is All About

College aid? It starts with FAFSA—Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Yes, it is free & you can find it at https://FAFSA.ed.gov. Living life on your mobile? Now FAFSA works there too. New this fall is the FAFSA mobile app—accessible via a quick download of the myStudentAid app.

Action step: Download the myStudentAid app for your mobile phone.  Set up your profile. Don’t have all the answers? Hit save and come back to it later when you have the financial details it asks for. You don’t need to suffer through it alone⟶we’ll be sharing free resources that can help with that.

When “Aid” Isn’t So Helpful

College costs are on everyone’s minds and all over the media. That doesn’t mean that everything you hear is the whole story.

So with college in the future, how will you pay for it? Here’s some adulting advice. Think and plan now, before that tuition bill comes due.

Not all ways to pay for college are the same. Colleges where you’re accepted will get you all excited and THEN give you their “financial aid award” letters. It’s called a “package” and it will most likely include several different kinds of pots of money—funds. You’ll need to cover the cost of tuition, room, board, books and transportation.

Make sure you know the difference between the different kinds of funds. Go for the ones you don’t need to repay first. You might find more aid than you think! Here’s a list of the most common types of college aid.

Grants: Good to get! This is money for college costs that you don’t need to repay.

Scholarships: Good to get! This is also money for college costs that you don’t need to repay.

Work Study: Good to get, but remember that you need to work the hours in order to receive the money, so you may not actually receive the full amount that has been awarded to you.

Subsidized loans: This is money that you will need to pay back, so only borrow what you really need. A subsidized loan means that you don’t have to repay any of it while you’re at least a half-time college student. That takes some pressure off you.

Unsubsidized loans: This is money that you will need to start paying back as soon as you take out the loan. This should be your last choice for paying for college.

Action step: Do you already have a college in mind? Find their financial aid office webpage and search for “grants” and “scholarships”. Read up and make a list of the ones that might work for you.