Finding Money To Pay For College

How Can I Find Help Paying for College?

Community College Student

When it comes to paying for school, there are many resources available to you. These include financial aid, scholarships, savings, grants, loans and more. It can come from the federal government, state agencies, the college you enroll in and non-profit or private organizations. Be sure to make yourself familiar with any application processes, requirements and deadlines well ahead of time.


Why should I fill out the FAFSA?

Completing the FAFSA is the most important thing you can do to receive assistance in paying for college. Each year the federal government distributes about $150 billion to students in grants, low-interest loans and work-study funds.


How can I find grants available from my state?

The US Department of Education provides a list of and links to state agencies that make available grants, scholarships and other financial aid for college students.

Financial Aid

How can I find out how much financial aid my college will give me?

Many institutions offer aid from their own funds. To find out more, contact your college's Office of Financial Aid. Also be sure to ask your program of study's department if they have scholarships for students in your major.


How can I find scholarships?

You can find out about scholarships many different ways, including contacting the financial aid office at the college you want to attend or your high school counselor.

CareerOneStop is the US Department of Labor's free scholarship search tool.

What other types of financial aid does the federal government offer?

Aside from the FAFSA, you might also be eligible for:

  • aid for military service or being the spouse or child of a veteran
  • education tax benefits
  • an AmeriCorps education award for community service
  • education and training voucher for current/former foster care children
  • loan repayment and scholarships from the Department of Health and Human Service's Indian Health Service, the National Institutes of Health and the National Health Service Corps

How can I get a federal student loan?

First, you must complete the FAFSA. Based on the results, your college will send you a financial aid offer that may include federal student loans.

What is work-study?

A part-time job for students with financial need that allows you to earn money to help pay for college

What is financial need?

It is the difference between what it will cost you to attend college and what you and your family can afford to pay. It depends on your eligibility which is determined by your Expected Family Contribution, year in school, enrollment status and the cost of the college you will attend. The Office of Financial Aid at your school will establish how much financial aid you are qualified to receive.

What is the best way to compare financial aid offers?

The Financial Aid Offices of the schools you listed on your FAFSA will send you their aid offers. These are specific to you and will vary between colleges. Look for the cost of attendance for your program in the offer and subtract the amounts of grants, scholarships and savings you have made from this amount. This is your out-of-pocket, or net, cost. Compare these for the schools which you are considering. Also compare the amount of loan debt you will be taking on for each of the schools.