Financial Aid Information
Financial aid starts in your community. Visit the local high schools and make connections with the counselors and college advisers. Many local scholarships can be accessed in the counselor's office or the college career center.
Be sure to check the websites of ALL local high schools. Many times different scholarships will be posted online. These are available to people in the community, even homeschoolers.
Another source for information is the college advisers at the local community colleges. Meet with them and ask questions.
Ask the colleges/trade schools/universities to which you are accepted, "What financial incentives are available to me for attending your institution?"
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
For high school seniors and college students with a valid social security number:
This application is available in October of each year. Complete and submit the FAFSA as early as possible.
Once the FAFSA is completed the senior year of high school, you will update it annually. You do not need to complete the entire application each year, as you will only update/verify your address and income.
You must apply for FAFSA/TAFSA, even if you do not think that you financially qualify, because many scholarships want to see that you have applied.
Federal Student Aid
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid - https://fafsa.ed.gov
TASFA - Texas Application for State Financial Aid (for students without a social security number) - www.aie.org
Grants & Scholarships
Grants and scholarships should be your first option! If they are worth having, they are worth working to achieve. Grants and scholarships are gifts that you win and they do not need to be repaid.
Loans should be your last option, never your first. Loans must be paid back to the Financial Institution with interest.
Local, State and National Awards
Many awards are available at the three levels. Sometimes, a financial aid package will include grants and loans. You can accept the grants and reject the loans. You will not win, if you do not apply.