Preparing for College


By: Financial Hotline
Fall 2019 (Vol. 37, No. 3)

Q: I’m a parent who’s looking ahead to my child’s college years. Where can I get more information about aid that is available?

A: A great website to get started at is www. studentaid.ed.gov You can access the current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid for college or grad school as well as useful information about paying for college with the federal student aid programs.

Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships help make college or career school affordable. Financial aid is available from a variety of sources. Assistance can come from federal, state, school, and private sources to help you pay for college or career school.

Besides financial aid, you also should think about what you can do to lower your costs when you go to college. For example, many high schools offer dual enrollment where a student can take a college course for credit towards high school graduation plus a college degree. It helps to start planning with your high school counselor as early as possible to schedule classes so your student can spend their junior and senior years in dual enrollment allowing them to graduate high school with a two-year degree. In most areas dual enrollment is completely tuition FREE!

Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. There are three types of federal student aid:

  • Grants - financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid

  • Work-study programs where you earn money to help you pay for school

  • Loans that will have to be repaid with interest

Even if you’re not eligible for federal aid, you might be eligible for aid from your state or the school you choose to attend. There are also organizations that offer scholarships or grants to help students pay for college or career school.