Financial Aid: What it is & how to apply

From Grants To Scholarships

Photo by: doctorwonder

WHAT IS FINANCIAL AID? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (otherwise known as FAFSA) is a form college students fill out to see if they qualify for student financial aid. FAFSA is for first time students and returning students alike. Both graduate and undergraduate students may fill out this form.
DO I QUALIFY? Before you do anything, you must complete an application determine if you meet the requirements for aid. There are several different types of federally funded financial aid. The most common forms of aid are grants, loans, scholarships and work-study programs. Almost all students are eligible for some type of aid. Students that do not qualify for financial aid on a need-basis are usually still capable of obtaining an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. This is because those specific loans are not granted based on criteria such as socioeconomic status.

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HOW DO I APPLY? Applications may be filled out (for free) at FAFSA’s main website. Be mindful of deadlines – don’t forget to submit your application before it’s too late! There are both state and federal deadlines. The U.S. Department of Education starts accepting applications January 1st annually. Remember that when you fill out an application, any aid granted will be applied to the following academic year. Some types of aid are offered first come first serve, so it’s crucial to submit your application on time. Some schools even have their own particular deadline dates, so it’s important for each student to check these dates. Students may apply annually, but any change in an applicant’s information must be updated each year.
SCORE A SCHOLARSHIP. There are a variety of academic scholarships offered at every college. This type of financial aid is awarded based on an applicants superior intelligence, or perhaps their outstanding motivation. There are also are some wonderful national scholarships out there that are based on completely different kinds of criteria.
For instance, Duck Brand offers a great scholarship called “Stuck at Prom” on the basis of pure creativity! Here’s how it goes: You and a partner will show up to prom in attire that is made solely of duct tape. You must be at least fourteen years old to qualify for this scholarship. Document the occasion by taking photos, and then send the pictures to the Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Contest. Contestants are judged based on creativity, originality, and how much tape is incorporated in their outfits. Both first prizewinners will be given a cash scholarship of $5,000.00. The couple that wins second place will receive $3,000.00 (per person). Don’t miss out on a fun way to earn money towards college! How could you not at least attempt this?

Another fantastic scholarship opportunity is the Dr. Alma S. Adams Scholarship. In an effort to reduce smoking among youths with exceptional potential for academic greatness, The American Legacy Foundation is providing two students with a $5,000 scholarship to attend a highly accredited university. The money is awarded based on a few different things. One basis is the applicant’s participation in community service, specifically those who served in areas that are unfairly targeted by tobacco companies. Another way to qualify is to excel in creative writing or visual arts. Any type of creative expression that sends a message of health and awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco amongst young adults would be considered!

So keep these in mind and apply for a few whether you’re paying for your college experience yourself or getting help from someone. Oh and if you find any other cool scholarships or have any other ideas tell us in the comments!

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