Financial aid refers to financial resources (other than a family’s personal finances) that are used to pay for the cost of attendance at a place of higher learning. Financial aid consists of:
- Grants- Money based on financial need that the students do not have to pay back
- Loans- Either awarded low interest loans or loans that the interest does not start accruing until 6 months after the student graduates from college
- Work Study- Part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses
- Scholarships- Students can be awarded for various reasons; merit-based, need-based, athletics, specific talents, etc. They are not required to pay back and students should never pay to apply.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a federal application that a student must complete to receive any grants, loans, or work study to help pay for college. This form has to be completed each academic year by the student and parent, in order to be eligible to receive financial assistance. The application opens October 1 and can be found at fafsa.ed.gov. Every college has a different deadline date, so students are encouraged to check with each college they are applying to.
The Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) is a state application that a student must complete in order to qualify for any scholarships or grants that Florida awards. The most popular scholarship is Bright Futures in which students can be awarded money based off their GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and community service hours. Seniors can apply for Florida financial aid after October 1 on www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org and it is due no later than August 31 after their senior year. Students graduating mid-year must have the application in by August 31st of the year they will graduate in order to apply the funds for spring semester.