The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is the application for financial aid from the federal government to help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid. You must complete the FAFSA form to apply for this aid. Many colleges also require it to be on file for their own need-based or merit-based aid packages.
The application opens October 1st and deadlines to submit vary depending on the college or university.
For more information and to file:
Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based. Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization.
Cal Grants (state aid) – free money guaranteed to every high school senior that applies on time and meets income, eligibility, and GPA requirements.
Federal Work-Study – provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.
Grants – Gift aid that does not have to be repaid.
Pell Grants (federal aid) – awarded to low-income students. The amount of aid you can receive depends on your financial need, the cost of attendance at your school, and other factors.
Scholarships – Free money for college, usually based on your areas of study or merit, such as good grades, high test scores, athletic, musical or other special talents, community service and sometimes financial need.
Perkins Loans – Loans made through the Federal Perkins Loan Program that are low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need and are administered by the college.
Subsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who meet financial requirements and are attending school at least half-time. With this loan, the government pays the interest from when you get the loan money until up to six months after you leave school. An unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to any student regardless of financial need, but the student pays the interest.
PLUS Loans are available for the parents of students attending college.
More information on Federal Loans: