Pay for College

Understanding the financial aid process can be a very daunting experience. It is important that you maintain clear communication with your parents or your high school counselors.  There are billions of dollars of financial aid available to students who need help paying for college. Financial aid comes in various forms including grants, scholarships, loans or work-study.   Finally, some colleges may be willing to review your financial aid package if your financial situation changes. Consider discussing these changes with the financial aid office if your family has experienced an unexpected decrease in income or increase in expenses since you applied for financial aid.  In this section, you will find a “Frequently Asked Questions” section created by the College Board that will answer many questions about financial aid.  You will also find several websites that can offer you extensive information about applying for financial aid various scholarship search websites.

Do I qualify for aid even if I don’t get straight A’s?
Are private colleges out of my reach?
Is my family’s income too high to qualify for aid?

Should I work while I’m attending college?

Do I qualify for aid even if I don’t get straight A’s?

It's true that many scholarships reward student performance in high school, but most government aid is based on financial need. Remember, if you do receive need-based aid, you must remain in good academic standing to renew your aid annually.

Are private colleges out of my reach?

Although the cost of college is certainly an important factor, you should not concentrate on it until later in your college-selection process. Instead, focus on finding a college that is a good fit — one that meets your academic, career and personal needs.  In some cases, you might have a better chance of receiving aid from a private college and end up paying a lower total price than at a public college. Private colleges often offer more financial aid to attract students from every income level.

Is my family’s income too high to qualify for aid?

Financial aid is intended to make college available to students from many different financial situations. College financial aid officers consider family income, the number of family members in college, medical expenses and many other factors when reviewing your financial aid application So, even if you think your family income is too high for you to qualify for aid, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1. This form determines your eligibility for federal and state student grants, work-study and federal loans. All students should complete the FAFSA on a yearly basis at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

The best way to get an estimate of how much financial aid a college will offer you — and therefore how much you’ll really pay to go to that college — is to use the college’s net price calculator. Most colleges have these tools on their websites. Net price calculators give you an estimate of your net price for a particular college — that is, the cost of attendance minus the gift aid you might get.

Should I work while I’m attending college?

Students who attempt to juggle full-time work and full-time studies may have difficulty completing their academic programs. However, students who choose to work a moderate amount often do better academically. You may find that working in campus jobs related to your career goals may be a good way to manage college costs, get experience and create new ties with the university to get my aid award revised?

Useful Websites to find Financial Aid Information and Scholarships:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid ~ www.fafsa.ed.gov

This web site is the official site for federal financial aid, remember it is free so don't fall for any scams that try to get you to pay to file. The aid you receive can be used at any college across the state, but remember that you will need to re-apply every year to receive additional aid.

California Student Aid Commission ~ www.csac.ca.gov

The California Student Aid Commission is another resource for financial aid, grants and scholarships. The web site contains information on how to file for Cal Grants and outreach programs.

California Colleges ~ www.californiacolleges.edu

This web site is a collaborative effort of the UC, CSU and California Community Colleges to provide information to prospective students and parents. The web site contains interactive tools and links to campus web sites, admission applications, and financial aid.

EdFund ~ www.edfund.org

This web site contains information for students and families, information on loans and loan counseling and interactive financial planning guides.

FinAid ~ www.finaid.org

This web site has information for students and parents on scholarships, loans, savings plans, military aid, and financial aid applications. You can also search for scholarships for free.