Scholarship & Financial Aid Information
College is Possible
This Scholarship and Financial Aid Information provides an overview of scholarships and the financial aid process,
lists scholarships and grants available exclusively to seniors in Loudoun County Public Schools, lists scholarships and grants available exclusively to seniors in each of
References to “college” in this handbook include educational programs after high school graduation.
When colleges list their “cost,” most include tuition, fees, books and supplies, living expenses (called “room and board”),
transportation, and a small amount for personal expenses. Consequently, the “cost” can seem VERY high.
Wise planning, excellent organization, good research, quality applications, and dedication to pursuing your college education all contribute to your obtaining the funds you need to attend college. Most students who apply for financial aid and who genuinely need it, receive all or part of what they need to attend college.
When deciding where to apply, use common sense to select colleges with a range of costs, including some that are within your reach financially. Never eliminate a college you really want on the grounds of cost alone. Also, remember that the admission and financial aid decisions are made separately and independently of one another; so being a candidate for financial aid usually makes no difference in the decision to offer admission.
Steps in the Financial Aid Application Process
How to Apply for Scholarships in This Booklet
Questions and Answers about Financial Aid
Must a student plan to attend a four-year college or university to receive financial aid?
Students who wish to pursue further education at a vocational school, specialized school, or two-year college are eligible for many types of financial aid. If a scholarship states specifically that it is limited to students’ attending four-year schools, then that rule is followed. Our society needs and values individuals with many different types of advanced education and training, and scholarship offerings reflect that.
My parents are not planning to help me any with college costs. Can I call myself an independent student?
Usually you are considered dependent unless you are married, have a dependent, have served in the military, are a graduate student, an orphan or ward of the court, or are over 24.Colleges check very carefully on that status. Talk with the college’s financial aid advisor.
My sister applied for federal aid but didn’t get anything. Why might my situation be different?
It may or may not be. If two members of a family are full-time college students, the family’s ability to pay will not increase and they will have less money which needs to go further, so both students may qualify for help. Also, situations change from year to year.
If you wish to apply for an unsubsidized
The EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) on the SAR (Student Aid Report) says we can afford to pay “all this money,” and we can’t—there’s no way!
The EFC on the SAR is based on a formula established by Congress and attempts to be fair to everyone. Very few families believe they have all the money they will ever need for college. If you have special circumstances, such as extremely high medical bills or a parent who is disabled or unemployed, you will want to talk to the financial aid administrator about those circumstances.
We keep getting mail about scholarship firms which promise and even guarantee money for college, but we would have to pay them for their help. Is it worth the money?
Save your money and talk to your counselor about this. Most of the firms charge large amounts of money and generate lists which give you information about federal and state loans, grants, and scholarships contained in this publication. Some may do a computer search which asks about various groups to which you have ties. From that search they can generate lists of possible scholarships for you. You can do that for yourself, using the Choices program in the career center of your high school.
What do I need to look for to avoid a "scholarship scam"?
Some scam warning signs are as follows: You have to pay a fee; Money-back offers or guaraentees; Credit card or bank account information required; and, Provdes "exclusive" information.
Scams: "Phishing" & "Pharming"
"Phishing" - Unsolicited emails that bear the logo of your bank or credit card. Appear legitimate but are traps to lure you into giving out your personal or account information. NEVER give out Social Security credit card or bank account numbers to unsolicited emails or calls.
"Pharming" - Unsolicited emails that encourage you to visit a website or click on suspicious links. Make sure your inbox spam filters are up to date.
BE CAREFUL to whom you give out your contact information or email address.
All of this information is scary. What suggestions do you have?
Try to go step-by-step instead of looking at everything you do not know about. Remember when you started high school and everything seemed overwhelming? Now you’re almost ready to graduate. You are preparing to make another big move, but you should be ready if you tackle things in an organized step-by-step way.
Remember that your high school counselor can help you and the college admissions and financial aid counselors are also ready to help you. Ask, ask, and ask again.
Also, remember that the only “dumb question” is the one you want an answer to and don’t ask.
I really would like to go to a private college, but the price is just too high. Is there any way?
Yes, there may be. Remember that
Many good books list national scholarship and grant opportunities. You will probably not find all of these sources in any one location, and you will find others that you consider to be good. This list includes several “starting point” suggestions:
This list has been compiled from many different sources and is not intended to be a comprehensive listing.
Many web sites can provide information about scholarships, grants, and financial aid. Students should check the web pages of all colleges to which they are applying and be sure they have followed all of the financial aid offices’ instructions about applying for financial aid.
Last Modified on August 14, 2011