College Financial Aid Overview

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The four step college financial aid process ensures that you make the most of scarce dollars and use your financial aid options in order of expense to you.

Step 1: College Scholarships

Start the college financial aid process by exploring all of the scholarship opportunities available to you. Our scholarship search site is updated every day with new opportunities and we also give away monthly free scholarships of $1,000 up to $10,000 with the ScholarshipPoints. It's free and easy to join.


Step 2: Financial Aid Applications

Financial aid forms such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE determine how much aid you are eligible to receive from federal, state, and institutional resources - yet 2 out of 5 students never complete these forms. Learn how to complete the FAFSA form and other financial aid information at our FAFSA education site, FAFSAonline.com.


Step 3: Federal Financial Aid

The federal Stafford Loan has an interest rates as low as 4.66%, no application fee, and no payments until six months after you graduate. Once you have received your award letter, secure a Stafford Loan.

The PLUS loan is another fixed-interest federal loan. The Parent PLUS loan is available for the parents and guardians of undergraduate students to borrow up to the cost of their child's education, and the Grad PLUS loan is available for graduate students to cover the cost of their graduate program.


Step 4: Private Financial Aid

Scholarships and federal financial aid typically fall short of providing all the funds you need to finance your education. A private student loan allows you to borrow from $500 up to the cost of education, with no repayment until after graduation.. A FAFSA is not required but is strongly recommended.


Dig into more!

Want to learn as much as you can about financial aid? Check out our Financial Aid 101 section, filled with detailed tips, calendars, and more. Be sure to subscribe to our free Financial Aid Newsletter, a monthly update about financial aid, and the Financial Aid Podcast, a weekly internet radio show about financial aid.