Financial Aid 101
Take the first step to finding financial aid resources by filling out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Find out about Federal Student Aid visit www.studentaid.ed.gov and discover what it is, who gets it, and how to apply.
- Complete your FAFSA: You and your family have the primary responsibility of paying for college. But when those funds aren't enough, you need to look at other resources. There are programs that can help to offset the cost of your education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the first step in the financial aid process. Most Idaho institutions use FAFSA information to help determine financial aid awards.
Use the FAFSA to apply for federal student financial aid. Financial aid includes:
- The Pell Grant - grants are free money that doesn't have to be repaid, except in some cases when you withdraw from school
- Student Loans - federal student loans are real loans, just like car loans or mortgage loans. You must repay a student loan
- College Work-Study - this program provides funds that are earned through part-time employment to assist students to finance the cost of their post secondary education
Finding help to complete your FAFSA is provided by every Idaho public and most private institutions as well as your high school counselors. Below you'll find a publication, Completing the FAFSA, that gives you information on how to complete the online or paper version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
(Note: Applying for you FAFSA is free. If you go to any site that requires payment, you are not on the official FAFSA site. Be aware of organizations that charge a fee to submit your application, or to find you money for school. Some are legitimate and some are scams. Generally, any help that you pay for can be received free from your school or Federal Student Aid.)
Remember that there are deadlines to submit your application. The calendar link at the bottom of this page displays the FAFSA deadline as well as other important dates, locations, and other information.
FAFSA awards are determined based on the information that you provide in the application. You DO NOT have to accept any award offered. However, FAFSA awards can be used to help define your expected family contribution (see glossary of terms) if you plan to apply for many scholarships offered in Idaho.
- Check out other options:
STATE SCHOLARSHIPS: Idaho offers scholarship funds to qualifying students as an option available to help pay for your education. Idaho's scholarships are grants and do not have to be paid back. Qualifying for a scholarship requires certain criteria to be met and funding to be available. Idaho offers 13 different scholarships this year. Each scholarship’s criteria is varied: Some depend on your career goals, others on your financial need, still other criteria depends on your past and current achievements. Click here to read the requirements for each of Idaho's state scholarships.
It is important that you apply to as many scholarships as you qualify for. The Office of the Idaho State Board of Education offers an on-line application. Click here to access the on-line application. After you enter your user name and password, the site will direct you to answer a few simple questions. These questions help to determine which Idaho scholarship you might qualify for. Don’t delay, do it today. All Idaho scholarship applications must be received by midnight, January 15, 2010. If you have trouble accessing the on-line scholarship, please contact Dana Kelly, Student Affairs Program Manager, Office of the State Board of Education. 208-334-2270
FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS: Understanding the basics about Federal Student Loans is very important. When you are considering college or some form of education after high school, financial aid almost always comes to mind. Remember, to first make the most of scholarships and grants, personal savings, and summer jobs. If you've already done that and still need more money, a federal student loan (a loan from or guaranteed by the federal government) is your best option. Every year, more than $83 billion in federal student aid (grants, work-study, and loans) is available to students. Everyone who meets the eligibility criteria is considered for a federal student loan because not all federal student loans are based on financial need. As with any financial decision, you should understand the process to make informative decisions.
Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt is a publication provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Student’s Channel. It will provide you with eligibility information, definitions, and information on how to apply. A copy of the publication can be found at: Your Federal Student Loans
Additional information about federal student loans is available through the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243. Additional contact links concerning federal student aid can be found at: Federal Student Aid