What is Financial Aid?

The term “financial aid” refers to a wide range of different funding sources that can help with a student’s college expenses. The fund sources consist of Grants, Scholarships, Educational Loans, Employee Tuition Assistance, Military Benefits, and Work Study.

Financial Aid sources are provided by various entities such as Federal Department of Education, State Department of Education, Institutions, Private Organizations, Military, and Employers.


Free Application for Federal Student Aid

If you are preparing to attend college, you have most likely heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA serves as a free application that allows eligible students to apply for financial assistance based on their financial circumstances. The FAFSA is accepted by the majority of State Colleges and Universities throughout the United States and its territories.

The FAFSA helps schools determine a student’s eligibility and financial need for Federal Student Aid.  The FAFSA must be completed on an annual basis if a student wishes to be considered for Federal Student Aid each year.  Prospective students can complete their FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

The FAFSA can be completed as early as January 1st of your senior year in high school.  Be sure to check with your prospective colleges on Financial Aid priority deadlines as each may differ.

For more information on the FAFSA application or financial aid, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.



A scholarship is a type of financial aid that does not need to be repaid. There are thousands of scholarship opportunities available to college students. Scholarships may be awarded based on merit, need, or may be geared toward a particular group of people. Scholarships can come from private companies, religious affiliations, foundations, and schools.

Utilize our database of STEM scholarships for help with finding scholarships specifically geared toward students planning on studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Avoiding Scams

When applying for FAFSA, scholarships, and other types of aid, be safe and watch out for potential scams.

  • Do not pay for scholarship searches or applications
  • Beware of any guarantees that a scholarship organization offers
  • Avoid giving personal information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or bank account information
  • Never pay to complete your FAFSA. Fafsa.ed.gov is a free service.
  • Report financial aid fraud and/or identity theft immediately.


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