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What is Financial Aid

Financial aid is money to help pay for your postsecondary education.  Financial aid can be grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study programs.  Types and sources of financial aid include:

  • Merit-based Scholarships (e.g., HOPE Scholarship)   
  • Need-based Grants (e.g. Pell Grant)
  • Non-need Based Grants (e.g. HOPE Grant)
  • Student or Parent Loans
  • Work-Study Programs
  • Military Aid Grants 
  • Federal Government
  • State Government
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Private Foundations
  • Employers & Private Companies
  • Professional & Service Organizations

Merit Scholarships

Merit scholarships are competitive. You face a national pool of applicants. Your best alternative might be to search for scholarships that are local to your city or state. Completing a scholarship search is the best way to begin. Try

Financial Aid Based on Need

Many students receive need based financial aid. Completion of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in October of your senior year is essential in this process. Your financial need is determined by two factors: 

  1. Cost of Attendance (COA) includes tuition, fees, room and board, transportation and other costs associated with attendance established by the school.
  2. Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined from what you report on the FAFSA.

COA-EFC=Financial Need

Complete a financial aid estimator at one of these sites.

The College Board Online            Financial Aid Information Page   

How do I Apply for HOPE or Financial Aid?

To apply for HOPE (scholarship or grant) or to apply for financial aid (loans or grants) you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  You will need previous year tax returns and you CANNOT apply until after October 1st during senior year). Remember that it is FREE to file at 

GAfutures:  Learn about federal and Georgia-specific financial aid programs, find school profiles and explore various career paths.

FAFSA:  Complete and track your Free Application for Federal Student Aid

GSFC: Georgia Student Finance Commission is the state agency committed to helping Georgia residents achieve their higher education dreams by providing a wide range of financial aid services.  Find information to help get ready for college, learn about federal student aid and how to apply using the FAFSA.