College financial aid is monetary assistance provided to college students by the federal government or private institutions. Its main goal is to allow the student to further their education. This type of aid is often merit based. This means that scholarships, grants, and fellowships are awarded to students based upon their athletic, academic, or artistic talents. The most common merit based financial aid is by private institutions to a student in recognition for their achievements. The monetary amounts received may also be awarded directly to the student’s intended school.
The second most common form of college financial aid are grants awarded based upon a student’s financial needs. In order to qualify for this form of college financial aid, you must fill out your FAFSA form. Need based scholarships from private institutions will also need the results of your FAFSA form to determine your eligibility for awards. Your financial need is determined by the U.S. Department of Education after they have reviewed your family’s financial status and determined what their expected financial contribution to your college education will be.
The third most common form of financial aid is student specific. Some of these scholarships and grants can be obtained through personal characteristics you possess, like your heritage or if you are left handed. However, they can also be based upon your gender, religion, medical history, or a variety of other factors. Minority scholarships are the most common awards in this division of college financial aid. Generally, you must be a citizen of the United States to qualify for these scholarships.
The fourth and final form of college financial aid is aid granted to students on the basis of their career goals. These grants and fellowships are distributed by a university or college to their students who are pursuing a degree in a specific field. Often, there is a marked preference in financial aid for students who are going into a field where there is a critical shortage of workers. Two common examples of such fields are nursing and teaching. There are many hospitals across the country that will cover the full cost of a nursing student’s schooling if he or she will agree to sign onto their hospital for a certain number of years. In a similar manner, the cost of a teacher’s education will be covered by the government if he or she will agree to work in a low income neighborhood for a certain period of time.