While we may all wish we could pay for our education out of pocket, most of us can't.  In fact, 85% of first-time, full-time, undergraduate students in academic years, 2015-16 were awarded financial aid at a 4 year degree granting, post-secondary institution, according to the National Center of Education Statistics

The average tuition and fees ranged between $3,500 - $33,500 in the academic years of 2016-17 depending on the type of institution (public, private, 2 year or 4 year colleges).

We have some quick facts about the most common types of assistance available and some resources to help you get your education started with little to no money up front.

Pell Grants 

  • FASFA is a free application for financial student aid and must be completed to determine if an applicant is qualified for a Pell Grant
  • Pell Grants do not need to be re-paid accept under certain non-typical circumstances
  • It's the largest source of federally funded grants
  • Awards are based solely on the applicant's financial need instead of academic grades or extra-curriculars 
  • Applicants must be undergraduates or vocational students without a bachelor's degree1, professional or graduate degree
  • Applicants must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment by a participating school
  • Part-time students will not qualify for the same funding amount as full-time students, but the school will not refuse your Federal Pell Grant funds based on part-time status
  • Applicants must meet all Pell Grant eligibility requirements
  • Applicants currently incarcerated in a federal or state penal institutionwill not qualify.
  • The maximum award per year, per student in the 2019/20 academic year is $6,195
  • Based on needs, costs to attend school, full-time or part-time status and attendance for the entire year or part of the year

Sources to answer common questions - 

Application details


Am I eligible?     


Where can I get more FASFA information and get started on the application?  


1. Students may qualify for a Pell Grant award if you are enrolled in a post baccalaureate teacher certification program

2.For all restrictions related to incarceration and involuntary civil commitment restrictions see https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/pell


  • Awarded for financial aid to students based on certain criteria as stipulated by the donor
  • Scholarships do not need to be re-paid
  • Applicants can qualify for multiple scholarships within the same academic year, but not typically from the same donor
  • Some awards require full-time status, so applicants need to verify prior to the application
  • Students must meet all requirements as stipulated by the donor
  • Scholarships are not just based on financial need
  • Scholarships can be based on the following categories: state, grade level, major, sports, type, or based on criteria of characteristics and purpose of it's donor
  • Fellowships are considered gift-aid and are like scholarships in that they do not need to be repaid but are only for graduate students 
  • Applicants can still qualify for a scholarship even if they do not qualify for financial aid
  • Applicants can get more information through scholarship databases, guidance counselors and financial aid advisors from their school



Scholarship Database and Registration



How do I apply for scholarships?


Student Loans

  • Students should complete applications for student loans after determining qualifications and award money from grants and scholarships
  • FASFA is a free application for financial student aid and must be completed to determine if students are qualified for a federal student loan
  • Both federally funded and private student loans need to be re-paid
  • Students must be enrolled in a participating school or as designated by the provider of the loan
  • Federal student loans are direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans and direct PLUS loans
  • Private student loans are provided through a bank or other financial institution
  • Private student loans are usually inclusive of satisfactory credit worthiness and often require a co-signer (most require the student is a dependent of the co-signer)
  • The applicants accepts their federal student loan by e-signing and returning their student financial aid award letter (the co-signer will need to sign this also, if applicable)
  • There is usually a 6 month grace period before students will need to start making payments on student loans following discontinuation of school or completion
  • Students must meet all criteria as set forth by the loan provider

More Student Loan Information


More information on Federal Student Loans


More information on Private Student Loans


Private Student Loan Database


How can I apply for a Federal Student Loan?


References: Statistical information and details have been obtained from NCES.ed.gov, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa, https://www.salliemae.com/, https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarship-directory, https://lendedu.com/blog/private-student-loans/



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