attending financial aid workshops
Posted : November 3, 2004
Last Updated : October 27, 2015
To learn more about the financial aid process, you should attend your school's financial aid night or workshop with your parent(s). The following is a brief overview of various topics discussed at a workshop.
Financial Aid Overview
By attending a financial aid night, you will learn about the different types of financial aid including:
Grants - Grants are awarded by the federal or state governments or by the school and are usually based on financial need. Most grants do not have to be paid back.
Scholarships - Scholarships are awarded to students based on financial need or for special talents in academics, music, athletics, etc. They are offered through colleges, the community, and other organizations. Most scholarships do not have to be paid back. However, keep in mind that some scholarships (especially academic) will continue to be dependent on college GPA.
Federal work-study - Federal work-study is self-help aid and is awarded to students with financial need. Students can work part time to earn this award money to help with the cost of attendance. Work-study jobs can be found on or off campus through the school's financial aid office.
Student loans - Student loans must be repaid. Financial aid officers at each college determine which students receive these loans and how much they receive.
A financial aid workshop should provide you with information about student aid opportunities from the federal government, the state, postsecondary institutions, and private sources. You will be able to ask questions about the different types of aid, and you should also receive handouts to take home for reference.
Applying for Student Aid
To apply for federal financial aid, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov as soon as possible after January 1st of the year for which you are requesting aid. (Please note: Beginning in 2016, students will be able to file the FAFSA starting in October instead of the following January.) At the financial aid workshop, speakers will go over important aspects of filling out the FAFSA. Topics may include:
Determining Financial Need
If you are confused about how colleges determine a student's financial need, attending a financial aid night will help clear up that confusion. A financial aid professional will explain the factors that go into determining financial need, including:
Cost of Attendance (COA)
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Financial aid speakers will specify what you and your parents need to do in order to prepare for the federal financial aid process. You will also learn about the responsibilities of the financial aid office and where you can go for help.
Attending a financial aid workshop will give you the opportunity to find out information about the financial aid process and ask any questions you may have. Even if you think you will not qualify for federal financial aid, you should still attend and learn how you might benefit from applying. Contact your high school counselor to find out when and where a student financial aid workshop will be held in your area.