Federal Student Aid plays a central and essential role in supporting postsecondary education by providing money for college to eligible students and families. We partner with postsecondary schools, financial institutions and others to deliver services that help students and families who are paying for college.
Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To get financial aid, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year between January 1 and March 2.
Get an FSA ID. It will be your signature. Your parent will need one, too.
Gather all of the required documents. See the list of required documents.
Have the school codes for the colleges you’ve applied to ready. See the Federal School Code Search.
After you file your taxes, udpate your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to retrieve your income information. (Don't let waiting to file taxes hold you back though - estimating– estimating is better than missing the deadline.)
Cal Grant GPA Verification Forms
If you’re applying to any school in the state of California, you should apply for a Cal Grant. Two items are required: 1) a completed FAFSA and 2) a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form. Your counselor must fill out the majority of the form, but you are responsible for ensuring that the form is completed.
How are grants, scholarships and loans different?
Grants are free money awarded to students based on financial need. They do not need to be repaid. The federal or state government gives most grants, although some institutions also give grants. Learn more about grants.
Scholarships are another form of free money that does not have to be repaid. Scholarships are given for a variety of reasons from financial need, to academic or athletic potential. Some scholarships are also given to students belonging to a particular religion, students who play a specific instrument, or students with a certain heritage. Learn more about scholarships.
Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid. There are two types of loans. Subsidized loans are given to students with financial need; borrowers do not pay interest until they begin repaying the loan. Unsubsidized loans begin charging interest as soon as the loan is taken. Learn more about loans.
For more information, visit finaid.org.
FastWeb is a private scholarship search engine. You must register for an account, but this takes less than 10 minutes. Be sure to browse through the scholarships and apply for any that you think may qualify for. There’s plenty of money available, but you must apply in order to qualify for it.