What is Financial Aid?
WHAT IS FINANCIAL AID?
Financial aid is money to help pay for your postsecondary education. Financial aid can be grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study programs. Types and sources of financial aid include:
TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID
SOURCES OF FINANCIAL AID
Merit scholarships are competitive. You face a national pool of applicants. Your best alternative might be to search for scholarships that are local to your city or state. Completing a scholarship search is the best way to begin. Try www.fastweb.com.
Watch for Financial Aid Scams
Check the scholarship of your interest as a possible scam at www.finaid.org
Financial Aid Based on Need
Many students receive need based financial aid. Completion of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in October of your senior year is essential in this process. You should, however, complete a financial estimator form to determine before you get your FAFSA results just how much college will cost you.
In general, your financial need is determined by two factors:
- Cost of Attendance (COA) is tuition, fees, room and board, transportation and other costs associated with attendance established by the school.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined from what you report on the FAFSA.
EFC - Expected Family Contribution
This is an important index in determining how much college will cost your family.
More information, including a worksheet, can be found at www.fafsa.gov
Complete a financial aid estimator at one of these sites.
Search for scholarships at any of these sites.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR HOPE OR FINANCIAL AID?
To apply for HOPE (scholarship or grant) or to apply for financial aid (loans or grants) you will need to file your FAFSA.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (you will need previous year tax returns and you CANNOT apply until after January 1st during senior year). Remember that it is FREE to file at www.fafsa.gov.
THE FAFSA: YOUR KEY TO FINANCIAL AID
With the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can apply for financial aid for multiple colleges and funding sources. Visit fafsa.gov to begin your online application.
The FAFSA is available each year after January 1st. If you a senior and planning to attend college in the fall after graduation, you should begin the FAFSA application process in October of your senior year.
OTHER FINANCIAL AID APPLICATIONS
The FAFSA may not be the only application you have to submit in order to receive financial aid. You may also need to complete other institutional applications. Be sure to contact your school(s) of interest or visit their website to find out what other forms or applications are required.
Georgia Student Financial Aid Application System (GSFAPPS) is also an acceptable application method for most scholarship and grant programs administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), such as the HOPE Scholarship. You can complete the GSFAPPS on gafutures.org.
GAfutures.org: Learn about federal and Georgia-specific financial aid programs, find school profiles and explore various career paths.
FAFSA.gov: Complete and track your Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Studentaid.gov: Find information to help get ready for college, learn about federal student aid and how to apply using the FAFSA.
WHAT IS GSFC?
The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) is the state agency committed to helping Georgia residents achieve their higher education dreams by providing a wide range of financial aid services. GSFC works closely with high school and college administrators to ensure that Georgia students are able to take full advantage of all available financial aid opportunities.
In order to determine eligibility for federal and some state financial aid programs, students must:
- Demonstrate financial need or exhibit academic merit, depending on the type of financial aid.
- Have a high school diploma or GED diploma.
- Be enrolled in, or accepted to, an institution participating in federal financial aid programs.
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or eligible non-citizen.
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Meet the drug conviction criteria
- Not be in default or owe a refund on any federal or state student grant or federal or state student loan.
- Be registered with the Selective Service, if required.
STATE FINANCIAL AID PROGRAMS
In addition to federal financial aid programs, Georgia residents may also be eligible for state-specific financial aid administered by GSFC. Visit GAFutures.org for more information about these opportunities.
- Georgia Military College State Service Scholarship
- HERO Scholarship
- HOPE Grant
- HOPE GED Grant
- HOPE Scholarship
- Public Safety Memorial Grant
- REACH Scholarship
- Scholarship for Engineering Education
- Scholarship for Engineering Education for Minorities
- Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant
- Student Access Loan
- Student Access Loan - Technical
- Tuition Equalization Grant
- University of North Georgia Military Scholarship
- University of North Georgia ROTC Grant
- University of North Georgia ROTC Grant for Future Officers
- Zell Miller Grant