7 Things to Know about Financial Aid for College

Updated December 1, 2022

Did you know that you may be eligible to receive financial aid for college through scholarships, grants, or loans?

Many high school graduates and adults returning to school do not apply for financial aid either because they think they are ineligible or simply don’t understand what it is. Because so many students fail to file for FASFA, billions in student financial aid go unrewarded. In fact, $3.75 billion in Pell Grants was left unspoken for in 2021 due to a lack of completed FAFSA applications.

Understanding financial aid options and opportunities may be daunting, but some basic facts can help you through the process. We’ve compiled a list of the top 7 things to know when beginning your application below!

#1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

FAFSA is the form you must complete every year before receiving any federal funding for college. You can fill out this form here. You’ll need to provide your most recent income tax return, bank statements, and W-2s. Each state has its own deadline, so check with your school to ensure you don’t miss it. It is recommended to apply quickly because some states run on a first-come, first-served basis.

#2 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Students and their families are required to contribute to the cost of college as much as they can. Financial aid is then available if you are unable to afford the total amount.

#3 Award Letter

An Award Letter details what financial aid opportunities are available to you or have been awarded to you once you are accepted into a college. 

#4 Grants

Grants are essentially free money. They may also be referred to as “gift aid” because they do not have to be repaid. The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of federal grants to people attending community colleges and career schools. Some of those grants include Federal Pell Grants and FSEOG.

Federal Pell Grants are typically given to undergraduate students and do not need to be repaid. According to Federal Student Aid, the maximum amount you may be rewarded for the 2022-2023 award year is $6,895. However, the amount you receive will be based on financial need, cost of school, and full or part-time attendance.

#5 Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

FSEOG is rewarded to students with exceptional financial needs. According to Federal Student Aid, such students may receive anywhere from $100 to $4,000 a year based on financial need and how much additional aid they’ve received. 

#6 Scholarships

Scholarships are also considered “gift aid” because students are not required to pay it back. Rather than being based on financial needs, however, they are merit-based. Students must fulfill specific requirements in order to be eligible to receive them. Scholarships may be rewarded by the school, non-profit organizations, or other third parties. Check with your school to see available scholarships. 

#7 Loans

Sadly, unlike the others, loans are not free money. Students are required to begin repaying their loans six months after graduating or when they stop attending college. So yes, if you leave school before obtaining your degree, you still have to repay your loans. When a student takes out a loan, they are going into debt. Loans also accrue interest over time.

There are two types of federal loans a student can receive: subsidized and unsubsidized. With subsidized loans, the government pays the interest while you are attending school. However, with unsubsidized loans, the interest will continue to accrue while you are in college and will be added to the total amount to be repaid when you graduate.

Tuition assistance at Milwaukee Career College

No matter what your current financial situation is, don’t rule out going to college as a feasible option. You at least owe it to yourself to find out if you are eligible to receive financial aid!

Milwaukee Career College participates in various financial aid programs to help our students pay for their career training. Visit our Tuition Assistance page for more information on our financial aid services and available scholarships.

Want to learn more about financial aid or career training at MCC? Contact us today,  and we’ll be happy to get you started on your path to success!

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