Show me the money! Financial aid

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
  • FAFSA - Free application for Federal Student Aid. You must fill out this form even if you do not expect to receive aid from a college. You can't get a federally backed student loan without this form.
  • CSS/Profile - College Scholarship Service Profile, a non-government FAFSA. Not all colleges require this form. Check with the schools you want to apply to for the proper forms (some colleges even require their own financial application).
  • EFC - Expected Family Contribution. The amount your family is expected to pay based on their specific circumstances and finances.
  • SAR - Student Aid Report. You will be sent this form after completing the FAFSA. Colleges use this form to determine your aid package.
  • Need-based College grants and scholarships - Scholarships that are issued based on your academic, athletic or artistic talent. Ethnicity is sometimes considered.
  • Grants Money - Funds from the government or college that does not have to be repaid.
  • Loan Money - Funds from the government or private lender that does have to be repaid.
  • Scholarships - Funds which do not have to be repaid. Can be institutional (from the college) or private (outside source).
  • Work Study - Need-based program of subsidized jobs through the college. Students usually work up to 20 hours per week.
  • Subsidized Interest on a loan - Interest that does not accrue while student is in school.
  • Non-subsidized Interest on a loan - Interest that does accrue while student is in school.
  • PELL Grants - Federal money for low-income students that does not have to be repaid.
  • Perkins Loan - A federally-backed need-based loan direct from a participating college. Interest does not accrue while student is in school.
  • Stafford Loan - Government sponsored loans to students. Subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based, non-subsidized are not. Either can be obtained from banks, savings and loans or other lenders.
  • PLUS Loans - Government sponsored loans to parents come at a higher interest rate than Stafford loans.
  • State Grants - Money from a state that is given to resident students who are attending in-state schools. Programs differ from state to state.