What is financial aid? Simply put, it is money in the form of scholarships, grants and loans to help you pay for college. Financial aid can make it possible for you to go to college even if you and your family cannot afford the full cost of tuition, room and board. You will need to complete one or more forms to apply for these monies.
The types of financial aid are:
- Grants and scholarships -- money that you don't have to pay back.
- Federal work-study -- money you must work to earn.
- Loans -- money that you can borrow but you must pay back.
Based on financial information you provide, colleges will determine how much financial aid to offer you. This may take the form of grants, scholarships or work-study. You may need to supplement this amount with loans. In addition, other scholarships might be available from local civic organizations, businesses and foundations that you can apply for separately.
The federal financial aid programs we describe are for citizens and U.S. residents. However, financial aid options, although limited, are available to non-citizens. Spend time with your high school guidance counselor to discuss which colleges have scholarships and services for undocumented students, such as CUNY's Peter Vallone Scholarship.