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Financial Aid for College


  • Grants: awards typically based on financial need that do not need to be repaid. An example is the Federal Pell Grant. Eligibility often depends on your EFC and/or financial need.
  • Scholarships: are awards usually based on achievement or talent that also do not need to be paid back. Also, your prospective college(s) may offer scholarships based on academic merit and/or financial need. Our "scholarships" tab offers helpful search resources.
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS): provides part-time jobs for students with financial need. The jobs are usually available on or near campus. A list of available jobs can be found at the college’s financial aid office or student employment office.
  • Loans: are funds that must be paid back, usually with interest. There are federal student loans, federal parent loans, and private or alternative loans. The good news is that interest rates for education loans are currently at historic lows. 


  • In order to receive need-based Financial Aid through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you must fill out your FAFSA early! The first day for seniors to begin this application is October 1st, 2019!

Go to to complete the FAFSA.



  • Step 1: If you haven't already, create your FSA ID (username and password that you will use for as long as you are in college and applying for financial aid) You can do that by going to and clicking on "Start a New FAFSA," then click on "Enter Your FSA ID," then click on "Create an FSA ID." Go through the steps to create this username and password using your *personal email address* (not your CPS email). Some of you may have already created an FSA ID last year through your Contemporary American History class. If you did, please reach out to me for your username and password. :)
  • Step 3: Once you log in, be sure to select and fill out the FAFSA Application for the 2019-20 school year - when you will be a freshman in college!! Do not fill out the 2018-19 school year application!!
  • Step 4: Complete the application step-by-step and enter your name EXACTLY as it is listed on your Social Security Card. Add the colleges that you are applying to. 
  • Step 5: When you get to the part about your parents financial information, you can transfer their 2015 tax information by clicking on the "IRS Data Retrieval Tool" and entering your parents' name and address EXACTLY as it is listed on their tax return forms. If your parent does not have a Social Security Number, you will need to enter all zeroes (000-00-0000) for their SSN and then enter their income information according to how much they earned. If you worked in 2017, make sure to enter your tax info in the student financial information section.
  • Step 6: Sign and submit your FAFSA using your FSA ID. You will also need to create an FSA ID for your parent (if you have older siblings in college, your parents may already have one). You will not be able to submit your FAFSA until you sign with yours AND your parent's FSA ID!

****CAUTION: Do NOT sign and submit if you are unsure about some of your information being entered correctly! 

The following information is needed for FAFSA completion:

-Student's Social Security #

-Parents’ Social Security #'s (if they have one) and date(s) of birth

-Date of parents’ marriage, separation, or divorce

-Your Permanent Resident Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen) and your parents’ (if they have one)

-Your parents' most recent federal income tax returns (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ), W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You will be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)

-Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)

-Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

More Information on Financial Aid