Financial Aid for College
For purposes of this web page, I differentiate between scholarships and financial aid. Some may view them more similarly than I do, as each constitutes millions of dollars set aside to pay for students to attend college. The biggest difference between the two, however, relates to qualifications to receive them.
Scholarships are merit-based aid, or aid that is based on the merits or achievements of the individual applicant. Whereas financial aid is need-based aid, or based on the individual student’s need (and that of their family), as determined by an established process. Within this report, financial aid refers to federal and state loans, grants and work-study programs.
Another way to look at it is to consider that scholarships take into consideration things that are entirely within the control of the student – working hard to achieve high grades or standardized test scores, becoming involved in leadership activities and organizations, contributing one’s time to benefit the community and others, etc. Financial aid, largely, is out of the control of the student (with the exception of any income or assets the student is able to earn) – family size, family income, savings, assets and debt, number of college students in the family, etc.
Scholarships may take need into consideration, but rarely are an applicant’s achievements taken into consideration when determining federal financial aid.
The processes used to apply, however, and the qualifications to receive the awards couldn’t be more different.
Another category of aid that is unique to each school that offers it (not all do), I will call campus-based aid programs. These programs take several factors into consideration, including need, merit, the school’s desire to attract you, and the school’s perception of how much it will take to get you to choose that school. You qualify for these programs by applying for both scholarships and financial aid. Schools will let you know if additional paperwork is necessary.
Here's a link to an article explaining the basics of financial aid.
On to the Scholarships Page
Additional Suggestions Related to Financial Aid
Financial Aid Web Sites
Although it isn't inexpensive, a study abroad experience can be something that sets one student apart from others in the job search process. Read this article about how students should go about selecting accommodations in London, England for college or study abroad experiences.
Contact us at lance at collegeprep101 dot com