Financial Aid | Overview

What Exactly Is Financial Aid?

Financial aid comes in the form of grants, work-study and loans. These programs come from three main sources: federal, state and institutional. To be eligible for any of these programs, the student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid. The CSS Profile is used at some institutions for institutional aid.

Types of Aid

The different types of aid are provided through various sources like the federal and state government, colleges, high schools and even corporations. Aid is dependent on several factors, like the ability to pay for college, enrollment status or family contribution.

are financial aid that are typically not required to be repaid (aka “Gift Aid”). There are some grants that have specific requirements to be met to receive and maintain; if these stipulations are not met or maintained, you may have to repay the funds. Grant funding is normally awarded to students with financial need.

programs allow you to work part-time (on or off campus), to earn money for your education.

are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest.

How to Apply

Get help paying for college! The FAFSA is an application for US citizens and eligible residents. Through this application a student can compare the amount of aid received. If you need help paying for college, fill out the FAFSA and see how much you can qualify for!

Sites for FAFSA
FAFSA Student Aid

TASFA is an application for students who are non-residents but are considered Texas residents. Students will need to contact the college or university they are interested in order to see if the desired school accepts the TASFA application.

Sites for TASFA
College For All Texans

The CSS Profile uses your family’s income and assets to determine your estimated family contribution. The estimated family contribution is then reported to the college/university and the school will determine a financial aid award package. The CSS Profile is for institutional aid only. A student will submit the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA or TASFA.

Sites for CSS Profile
College Board

Reasons to Apply for Financial Aid

The government gives billions of dollars away in financial aid each year. The application only takes about 30 minutes. It is well worth it to see if you can get some of that money for school.

Even if you think you don't qualify, families with high incomes do get financial assistance. Financial aid isn’t only given to people with low income. Things like family size, parent age and the number of people in college at the same time are also considered. Students should apply for financial aid every year because finances and circumstances change all the time. You might not get financial aid for one year, and you might qualify the next year.

You might be offered low-interest loans by applying for financial aid. Federal loans usually have lower interest rates compared to private loans. If you are eligible for direct subsidized loans, then the government will pay the interest while you are a part-time or full-time student. Federal loans are an option to consider to help pay for college.

Colleges use the FAFSA to give their own institutional scholarships and financial aid. Many schools award financial aid for need-based and merit-based students. In order to evaluate this, you must fill out the FAFSA.