Applying for Financial Aid

The FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first step in applying for scholarships, loans, grants or any type of financial help to pay for college. Even if you think you make too much money for financial aid, experts recommend completing the FAFSA. The application must be completed each year. Complete the FAFSA online.

Navigating the financial aid process can be confusing. This Federal Student Aid website, provided by the U.S. Department of Education, offers tips and information to planning through repaying loans. 

The U.S. Department of Education oversees the rules that apply to student loans, grants and other requirements for students.

FinAid provides an overivew of the college financial aid process, explains the different types of financial aid, and has tips on completing the FAFSA.
 

Search for Schools and Financial Aid

College Board is loaded with information on every facet of college planning. You can register for the SAT online, make use of their online college applications, search for scholarships and evaluate colleges.

FastWeb is a free online search tool for colleges, scholarships, and financial aid. 

Peterson's offers free search tools for colleges, graduate schools and scholarships along with SAT and ACT preparation.

Mapping Your Future has information on career planning, college planning, and paying for college.

Princeton Review offers a college search tool in addition to free help with SAT and ACT test prep (including free tests).

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of promising students who have financial need.

Scholarships.com is a broad online directory of scholarships and colleges.

The United Negro College Fund is the nation’s largest private scholarship provider to minority group members.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund empowers students and parents with the knowledge and resources to successfully complete a higher education, while providing support services and scholarships to as many exceptional students, HSF Scholars, and Alumni as possible.
 

Warning About Scholarship Scams

Most scholarship programs are legitimate, but there are some scams. Remember:

  • Legitimate scholarships do not charge a fee to apply.
  • They do not call on the phone, or send an “award letter” out of the blue.
  • They never ask for your credit card number.
  • They do not offer a guarantee of an award.
  • In short, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
  • If you suspect a scholarship scam, tell your guidance counselor.