To say the cost of higher education is daunting is an understatement. Here in Connecticut, the yearly sticker prices for a sample of schools range from $12,535 at Charter Oak State College, to $61,333 at Yale (source: CNNMoney). Help is available and since the Federal Government is responsible for much of the financial assistance, a good place to start looking is the U.S. Dept. of Education.
The material below is reprinted from the U.S. Dept. of Education, Federal Student Aid web site. Read it for a quick overview and links to a number of web sites and documents to assist your search for financial aid. But be sure to visit the source web site for the complete story on what financial aid might be available to help YOU.
Aid and Other Resources From the Federal Government
The federal government offers a number of financial aid programs. Besides aid from the U.S. Department of Education (discussed below), you also might get
- aid for serving in the military or for being the spouse or child of a veteran,
- tax benefits for education,
- an Education Award for community service with AmeriCorps,
- Educational and Training Vouchers for current and former foster care youth, and/or
- scholarships and loan repayment through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and National Health Service Corps.
The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to more than 15 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees,room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. Thousands of schools across the country participate in the federal student aid programs; ask the schools you’re interested in whether they do!
Federal student aid includes:
- Grants—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
- Loans— borrowed money for college or career school; you must repay your loans, with interest
- Work-Study—a work program through which you earn money to help you pay for school
Use FAFSA4caster to get an estimate of how much aid you might receive from the U.S. Department of Education.
Apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM). And remember, the first F in “FAFSA” stands for “free”—you shouldn’t pay to fill out the FAFSA!
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