A post-secondary education can be an expensive option for families. Paying for a post-secondary education can include costs associated with tuition, fees, housing, meal plans, books, supplies, equipment, and transportation. However, there are many options available to students for when it comes to paying for college. Assistance for most college-bound students comes from financial aid.
Financial aid is monetary support from institutions and/or the government for a student to attend a post-secondary educational institution. Financial aid can be awarded in the form of grants, scholarships, work study, and educational loans. In order to be eligible for financial aid, a college student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on an annual basis. FAFSA determines a student’s need for financial assistance by analyzing the cost of college and the student’s (and his/her family’s) ability to pay for college.
Scholarships are financial gifts that do not need to repaid. They are offered by schools, employers, private companies, nonprofits, religious groups, and professional organizations. Scholarships can be awarded to students belonging to a specific group (race, religion, military, age, etc.), to students with high academic achievement, or to students with a specific talent (athletic, music, etc.).