Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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Financial Aid and Scholarship Information

Types of Financial Aid

Grants and Scholarships: These are often called "gift aid" since the funds do not have to be repaid. Grant aid comes from the federal and state government as well as from individual colleges. Scholarships are usually awarded based on merit.

  • A Federal Pell Grant is financial assistance awarded by the federal government on the basis of financial need.  The Student Aid Report (SAR) informs students of their Pell Grant eligibility. The grant may be used toward tuition, room and board and books or other educational cost and requires no repayment.

Scholarship Resources and Information

Most post-secondary schools will have a section on their website for scholarships. Be sure to review that information when searching for possible scholarships.                                   

The following scholarships are specific available to youth in foster care:

Loans: Some financial aid comes in the form of loans, which must be repaid. Most loans are awarded based on financial need and are low-interest loans sponsored by the federal government. You must apply for these.

    • A Federal Perkins Loan is funded by the federal government and awarded by the institution.  The loans feature low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time.
    • A Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program provides both Stafford Loans for students and PLUS Loans for parents through participating private lenders. FFEL also provides for a Federal Consolidation Loan. Repayment of these loans is made to the bank or other private lender that made the loan.
    • NOTE: Subsidized FFEL are awarded on the basis of financial need. Recipients will not be charged interest until they begin repayment. Unsubsidized FFEL are not awarded on the basis of need. Interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

Work-Study: Student employment and work-study aid also helps you pay for education cost such as books, supplies and personal expenses. Work-study is a program that provides you with part-time employment during college to help meet your financial needs and gives you work experience while you serve your campus and the surrounding community.

To learn more about federal financial aid programs and your rights and responsibilities visit: The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA

Complete the FAFSA between January 1st and June 30th of the calendar year and apply as soon as possible to meet school and state aid deadlines. Applications submitted before March 1st are given first priority consideration for Federal Supplemental Grants, Federal Work-Study and Federal Perkins Loans.

Request free information and help from your school counselor on the FAFSA application or speak with someone in the financial aid office at the post-secondary school you plan to attend to ensure you submit all of the required documentation.

For more information, visit: