Financial Aid Resources

  • The most common types of aid are:

    • Scholarships - Come in many forms and from many sources. Some are essay contests. They can range from being left-handed or designing the best prom dress or tuxedo out of Duct Tape. Some are given directly from the university, while others come from corporations and non-profit foundations. 
      • Some are needs-based (financial need) others are merit-based (academic).
      • Be alert for scams! A scholarship or scholarship search service that charges fees may be a warning sign.
    • Grants - Award money for college which does not need to be paid back. These are usually difficult to obtain and are often awarded based on the student and family's financial needs. Must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
    • Loans - Given, typically by the federal government, and need to be paid back at a low rate of interest after the student has completed college.

Financial Aid Tips

    • Tip 1: Be a Doer: Get involved in school or community activities and volunteer service. Most scholarships and awards require you to show extracurricular involvement or something you are passionate about.
    • Tip 2: Get Organized: Make a calendar of scholarship/award application deadlines, make copies of everything you submit and keep all of your application materials in one place.
    • Tip 3: Start A Resume: A resume is a list of your activities and accomplishments. Start one your freshman year and keep it updated in Maia Learning.
    • Tip 4: Learn to Surf: You’ll be amazed at all the information about colleges, financial aid, the SAT and ACT, grants, loans, and scholarships on the internet. A great place to start your search is the scholarship page in Maia Learning.
    • Tip 5: Look Everywhere: Check with your parents’ employers, civic clubs, professional associations in your field of interest, and the college of your choice for scholarships and awards, in addition to Maia Learning, and your school's Scholarship Coordinator.
    • Tip 6: Don’t Get Scammed: There are plenty of free sources of information. Beware of paying for a search or "guaranteed" scholarships.
    • Tip 7: Start Early: Some scholarships are only open to seniors but others start as early as 9th grade. Check out in Microscholarships.
    • Tip 8: Pay Attention to Details: Meet deadlines, avoid typographical or grammatical errors and make sure your application is complete.

Paying for college - Q & A

  • I am not an "A" student. Can I still get a scholarship?

  • Aren’t all scholarships based on grades?

  • What if I want to go to a community college or technical school?

  • Are scholarships the only kind of aid?

  • What about contests and programs that don’t give money awards, are they important?

  • Where can I look for scholarships and financial aid?