Senior High Guidance Department » FAFSA/Financial Aid

FAFSA/Financial Aid

Financial aid is any grant or scholarship, loan or paid employment offered to help a student meet his/her college expenses.  Such aid is usually provided by various sources such as federal and state agencies, colleges, high schools, foundations, and corporations.  The amount of financial aid that a student receives is determined through federal, state and institutional guidelines.  Grants include aid the student receives that need not be repaid; loans must be repaid.  Interest rates and repayment terms vary by program.  Employment is aid based on an hourly rate for work performed.

Prior to completing the FAFSA, you and your child must each create an FSA ID.  Please reference  to complete this task.




Seniors and their parents should submit an online FAFSA application at to apply for federal and state need-based programs. Please note that this is a government web site, and the submission is FREE!  Other sites will attempt to charge you to submit an otherwise free application. The FAFSA will use family information (one part for the student and one part for parents) to determine the level of need for each student.  This level of need, called the EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, triggers the awarding of grants (free government money) and/or loans (money you must pay back).  The FAFSA application is available October 1st.  Please complete the application as close to this date as possible for funds are distributed on a first-come/first serve basis.


FAFSA Tipsheet


FSA ID Recording Sheet - see link at the bottom of the page - A great resource to find colleges, pay for college and make a plan.

Financial Aid Defined

Financial aid is money that the government and other organizations give you or lend you so you can pay for college. To qualify for financial aid, you have to apply.


Sources of Financial Aid

Financial aid comes from these sources:

  • The federal government (the largest source)
  • State governments
  • Colleges and universities
  • Private organizations, such as companies, clubs and religious organizations
  • Banks and lending companies

Types of Financial Aid

There are four main types of financial aid.


Grants are called gift aid because they do not have to be paid back. Grants come from federal and state governments and from colleges. Most grants are need based, which means they are usually given based on your or your family’s financial circumstances.


Scholarships are also gift aid. Scholarships come from governments, colleges and private organizations. They may be awarded for academic or athletic ability, interest in a certain subject, or volunteer work, for example. Some scholarships are given based on membership in an ethnic or religious group. Companies may also give scholarships to children of employees.


Borrowing money from a bank, government or lending company is called taking out a loan. A loan must be paid back with an extra charge called interest. The federal government offers low-interest loans to students with financial need. Other lenders charge more interest.

Work-Study Programs

The Federal Work-Study Program offers paid part-time jobs to help students pay for part of their college cost.