As of 2022, the average cost of tuition and fees for an in-state public college or university was almost $24,000 per year. And for private colleges and universities, that number is even higher. Let’s explore some basic information about financial aid opportunities that will be important to consider with the increasing cost of higher education. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who may find the information useful.
The Basics of Scholarships
Scholarships are generally awarded based on merit or need. Over 1.7 million scholarships are awarded annually, although only about 1 in 8 students win them. Despite this low number, there are lots of options for scholarships, from competitive ones with large rewards to non-competitive ones with smaller rewards: you just need to do research to find them.
Common Federal Financial Aid Information
Aside from merit-based scholarships, there are federal student loans, work-study, programs, and grants that your student can apply for through federal aid. FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form that the federal government, states, colleges, and other institutions use to award financial aid. Be sure to check your eligibility and note that the application for FAFSA must be submitted every year, by the school’s financial aid deadline or at the latest, June 30.
Merit-Based versus Needs-Based Scholarships
Colleges or other educational institutions offer merit-based scholarships to supplement federal financial aid. Each college has its own criteria, which may include grades, artistic ability, athletic ability, test scores, where the student is from or even the student’s major. Some corporations, foundations, and civic groups also offer merit scholarships worth looking into.
Needs-based scholarships are awarded to students based on their financial needs which is determined through FAFSA, as mentioned above. An individual or family’s financial need is based on how much they can reasonably be expected to pay toward college. Each college uses the expected family contributions to determine how much and what type of financial aid a student is eligible for.
If you’re sending someone to school or keeping up with college options on a regular basis, the financial commitment can seem overwhelming. Planning ahead is important so you can save money along the way and explore opportunities for additional aid. As always, contact the office if you have questions about education funding or planning.
College Costs FAQ: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-faqs
For discussion purposes only and in no way represents legal or tax advice. For advice regarding your specific circumstances, the services of an appropriate legal or tax advisor should be sought.