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Financial Aid for College Resource Guide

Am I eligible for financial aid?
To qualify for federal financial aid you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen,
  • have a valid Social Security number,
  • register (if you haven't already) with the Selective Service, if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 25,
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school, and
  • show you're qualified to obtain a postsecondary education


What are the types of financial aid?

  • Grants and  Scholarships - Do not have to be repaid
  • Loans - Have to be repaid
  • Work-study - College aid in exchange for work, often campus employment.

Where can I find money for college?
Federal Student Aid programs include the following:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Stafford Loans
  • Plus Loans (Loans to Parents)

FAFSA - www.fafsa.ed.gov.
The FAFSA is a form you have to fill out to get financial aid. This is the first step in applying for financial aid. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Colleges and Universities also use the FAFSA to award state and college aid. You will need a PIN to “sign” your online FAFSA, make corrections, and more. Get a PIN now! The process is free. Never pay to apply for federal financial aid.
To fill out the FAFSA you will need:

  • income tax returns (yours and most likely your parents), W-2 forms, and other records of income.
  • Identification documents (social security cards, driver’s licenses).

Complete the FAFSA each year, starting on January 1. Be sure you meet application deadlines.

Scholarships
Ask people in your community about scholarships that may be available to you.

  • Financial aid office of colleges or career schools you are applying to
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
  • Organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Your employer or your parents' employers

Web Sites

  • Scholarship Search.  United States Department of Education Web site. Use keywords to search for scholarships. Example: music, art, biology.
  • Student Aid on the Web.  United States Department of Education Web site. Take a career quiz to find a major, use the financial aid wizard to calculate college costs, and use the college savings calculator to help you save money for college. 
  • Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Programs and application forms for scholarships and grants available to Maryland students and veterans. 
  • https://www.hcps.org/departments/studentservices/schoolcounseling.aspx Harford County Public School's Office of School Counseling gives links to several free sources of scholarship and financial aid sites. 
  • College Savings Plans of Maryland
    Information on the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and Maryland College Investment Plan. Begin to save now for your child's education at nearly any college in the nation.

Books
Contact us at the Harford County Public Library for current materials.  Scholarship books for minorities, veterans, women, and more.

Beware of scams
Be careful where you find information.  For-profit companies try to sell you information you can get for free from scholarships books at your library.