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Financial Aid

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What is Federal Student Aid?

Federal student aid comes from the federal government— specifically, the U.S. Department of Education. It’s money that helps a student pay for education expenses at a postsecondary school (e.g., college, vocational school, graduate school). Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care.

The four categories of federal student aid are:

• Grant—Grant money usually doesn’t have to be repaid. Most U.S. Department of Education grants are based on the student’s financial need.

• Scholarship—U.S. Department of Education scholarship money is awarded based on a student’s academic achievement and does not have to be repaid.

• Work-study—Work-study money is earned by a student through a job on or near campus while attending school and does not have to be repaid.

• Loan—Loan money must be repaid with interest.


Application Checklist

Application Form Tracking

Award Letter Comparison Worksheet 

COA Comparison

Sample Scholarship Inquiry Letter

Important Websites

FAFSA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid 
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (both undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell grants, and work-study programs).

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® 
The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, short for the College Scholarship Service Profile, is an application distributed by the College Board in the United States allowing college students to apply for financial aid. It is primarily designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family. It is much more detailed than the FAFSA.

Financial Aid Resources for Undocumented Students - Financial aid resources for undocumented students in Connecticut..  

NEBHE’s Tuition Break program, the New England Regional Student Program (RSP), enables thousands of New England residents to enroll at out-of-state New England public colleges and universities at a discount. Students are eligible for the RSP Tuition Break when they enroll in an approved major that is not offered by the public colleges and universities in their home-state.

CHESLA’s website includes information on paying for college, financial aid, and the lending process. Learn about Connecticut’s alternative source of low interest fixed rate loan funding and link to the application. CHESLA was created by the State of Connecticut in 1982 to help students and families afford the costs of a college education by reducing the financial burdens of borrowing.

College Board's Fund Finder
Understand all of your options when it comes to paying for college. We can help you get the latest information about college costs, scholarships, financial aid applications, education loans, and college financing.

Financial Aid Information Guide
Several guides to financial aid.

An overview of financial aid, financial aid for online colleges, and understanding the FAFSA.

Scholarship Scam Page
Federal Trade Commission info about scholarship scams.

Financial Aid Guide
U.S. Dept. of Education resources on financial aid.

IRS 529 College Savings Plans
A great source for objective information about Section 529 college savings plans and other ways to save and pay for college.

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 
A national, nonprofit membership organization with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators.

eStudentLoan provides resources to help you understand everything you need to know about student loans for college. Explore our site, and when you are ready, use the 'Find Private Student Loans' search below to be directed to a student loan search and comparison website.

Simple Tuition Private student loan tool compares rates, monthly payments, and total cost of student loans from many lenders. 

College Financing Calculators: presented by College Board  Use our calculators to help you figure out what college really costs and how to pay for it. If you need loans, you can also estimate the amount of debt you are going to have to pay back. Any information you enter is secure and completely confidential.