In today’s competitive workforce, a college education has become a standard step before landing a successful career. Many of us are longing to achieve what we call “The American Dream,” and earning a college degree is often a part of that journey. While many aspiring students expect (and plan) to attend college, though, most are intimidated by the costs involved. This may be why you are here. If you are just starting the college admissions process, you may be asking yourself, “Do I qualify for financial aid?” and “Where do I start?”
Financial aid is a key factor in making the college dream a reality. This incredibly helpful tuition assistance is what many students rely on in order to pursue their educational — and professional — goals. According to a recent Sallie Mae/Ipsos survey, How America Pays for College, 48 percent of families used college grants and 58 percent received scholarships in 2020.
Financial aid helps students and their families afford the high-costs expenses involved with college, such as:
- Tuition & fees
- Room & board
- Books & other supplies needed
There are four basic types of financial aid to consider for your postsecondary education. These include:
- Work-Study Options
The question remains, do you qualify for financial aid? Additionally, which types of financial aid do you qualify for? Read on, as we help you understand the process of exploring financial aid options, determining your eligibility, and finding out if you qualify for financial aid at the federal, state, or school-level.
How to Qualify for Financial Aid at the Federal/State Level
As the name implies, federal financial aid is provided by the government. Students applying for financial aid at the federal level must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will help determine the exact type of financial aid and amount they qualify for. In order to be eligible for federal aid, the U.S. Department of Education also requires you to:
- Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States.
- Have a valid Social Security Number.
- Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate or have completed homeschooling.
- Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
- Register (or already be registered) with the Selective Service System, if you are a male and not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid. Anyone with such a conviction must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to determine if they are eligible for aid or partially eligible for aid.
One may receive federal college grants or scholarships. Both types of financial aid require you to start with a FAFSA submission. Your college financial aid office can also help with this process. Please note: If you already have a bachelor’s degree or a first professional degree, you may not be eligible for Pell or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).
Once you have completed your FAFSA and the requirements for financial aid, you can find out how much money you qualify for within your state and at your school. However, requirements for financial aid vary by college. You should visit your school’s admissions office for more detailed information. To see how to apply for financial aid at Goodwin University, visit here.
Find a Supportive College
When it comes to ensuring all students can get the financial support they need, not all schools are created equal. At Goodwin University, for example, 92 percent of students receive financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships. Goodwin also offers one of the lowest tuition rates for private, nonprofit colleges in the state of Connecticut.
A supportive school like Goodwin wants to see students reach success. We understand that a college education today is critical and — more than ever before — a degree is often a necessity. To assist students in financing, Goodwin University offers a wide range of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and other loans. Click here to learn more about the financial aid services available.
The financial aid advising team at Goodwin University works to help students afford college courses. During the admissions process, an advisor will help you explore your financial aid opportunities and design a personalized financial aid package that meets your individual needs. Financial aid is available for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Tips for Financial Success
Submit your FAFSA early. Missing the FAFSA priority deadline could prevent you from receiving some of the federal, state, or college financial aid that you would otherwise receive and qualify for. Know the deadlines and stay ahead of the game. Additionally, we recommend:
- Doing your research. Get to know your college’s financial aid application process so that you are prepared for all the documents and deadlines required.
- Exploring scholarship options. Federal financial aid has its own set of requirements, as listed above. Additionally, colleges and universities have varying qualifications for financial aid. However, there are many scholarship opportunities you can qualify for beyond your typical grants and loans. Many scholarships are merit-based, meaning you will be provided financial assistance for academic, artistic, athletic, or even professional accomplishments. Ask your financial aid advisor about potential scholarships you might qualify for, based on your unique talents and interests.
- Keeping up with your mail. Open everything that comes in by mail or email from colleges, especially information regarding financial aid offices. Information missed could mean missing out on financial aid you’d otherwise qualify for.
- Being your own advocate! Do your homework, keep up with deadlines, and stay in touch with your desired school’s financial aid office. Stay organized and you are more likely to meet your financial needs.
Finally, it can help to know what to expect ahead of time. At Goodwin University, you can speak with a financial aid advisor and get a full idea of total tuition costs before you start classes. Additionally, Goodwin offers a free calculator to help students understand potential costs ahead of time. You can enter your household income, dependents, and more factors to get an estimate of financial aid and what your tuition costs may look like with grants and scholarships. Check out this tool here!
Financing college can feel overwhelming, but it is not impossible. Are you ready to jumpstart your career? Learn more about the types of financial aid for college, contact Goodwin University. Call 1-800-889-3282, or visit us online to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.