Financial Aid for Post-Secondary Education
Applying for college financial aid can be a confusing and time-consuming process. However, an understanding of some basic principles and an awareness of deadlines can maximize chances for receiving financial aid. Money is available from various sources, cost alone should not prevent you from attending college. Much of the financial assistance awarded to students is granted on the basis of financial need. Attend our College Planning/Financial Aid Presentation in the fall for more information.
Financial Aid Based on "Need"
This type of aid is based on the ability of the family to pay for the student’s college education. All post-secondary institutions will require the completion of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Students and families should log onto www.fafsa.ed.gov after October 1st of their senior year to begin this process. In addition to the FAFSA, some private colleges and universities may require the CSS PROFILE. *If your college requires the CSS Profile, it can be completed at www.collegeboard.org.
Completion of this form makes a student eligible for federal student aid. The completed FAFSA may also generate a PHEAA (PA Higher Education Assistance Agency) application. The post-secondary institutions to which you apply will use the information entered into the FAFSA for institution-based aid. The completion of the FAFSA is extremely important and necessary for all PA residents applying for “need based” grants and loans.
1. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov
2. Create a FSA ID
3. Electronically file FAFSA
Note: There is no fee for this service. Do not pay to apply for financial aid!
Scholarships are money granted that does not need to be repaid. It often is awarded in areas such as athletics, music/art, community service, leadership, ethnicity, academic merit, etc. However, there are also scholarships that have no special criteria and are available to all. There is an application process for every scholarship. Click here to visit our Scholarship Resource page.
Helpful Steps for Students
- Free national scholarship searches are also available online the following sites:
- Additional Places to Find Scholarships:
- Financial aid office at your college or technical school
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
- PHEAA (your state grant agency)
- Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
- Organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
- Ethnicity-based organizations
- Your employer or your parents’ employers
- Your bank/your parents’ bank(s)
- Your grocery store,
- Any fraternities or organizations that parents or grandparents might belong to (VFW, Lions, Kiwanis, Elks, etc.)
- Any organizations related to medical issues in your immediate family (including you): cancer, asthma, MS, etc.
- Fast food places (Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.)
- National chains (Walmart, Target, Coca-Cola, etc.)
Military (immediate family – grandparent, parent, brother, etc…