Find out more about FAFSA. Discover what types of financial assistance are available for the learning you want to pursue after high school. The FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the federal government’s criteria for determining what kind of financial aid you are eligible to receive.
Colleges and other post-secondary programs use the FAFSA and a number of scholarships also ask that you complete the FAFSA, so it opens the door for other opportunities as well.
TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID
Note: Be aware of the fine print. Some forms of aid have restrictions that can surprise you.
- GRANT: Doesn’t have to be paid back, unless you drop out
- LOAN: Borrowed money that you’ll have to repay, with interest
- WORK-STUDY: Another type is federal work-study where you work on or off-campus to cover tuition
- Ask for help. You’ll be providing information about you and your family, including financial info.
- If you’re a dependent student, you’ll need a parent’s or guardian’s signature.
- If you have any questions about the FAFSA, check with your school counselor or a staff-member you trust.
- You can also contact the financial aid office of the school you’re interested in.
- Important: if you are completing the form online, watch out for imposter FAFSA sites out there. Make sure you are on the actual FAFSA site at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
Find out more about FAFSA:
Scholarships are financial awards that help cover the cost of post-secondary education and training. There are a wide variety of scholarships out there and your future school’s financial aid office can find some unique ways to help you pay for school.
BASIC SCHOLARSHIP TYPES:
MERIT: Based on achievements; academic, artistic,etc.
NEED: Some grants are called scholarships.
STUDENT-SPECIFIC: Based on demographics,
CAREER-SPECIFIC: For particular field of study.
COLLEGE-SPECIFIC: Some schools have special awards, with restrictions
ATHLETIC: Based on athletic skill
BRAND/CONTEST: A company offers based on a cause or program
There are a lot of scholarship resources out there and help you reach your goals. You can search online, contact the school you want to attend, or check with local organizations. Remember, you’ll need to fill out an application, but it’s worth it.
We’ve compiled a list of scholarships available to Idahoans and linked some free scholarship search engines/resources. If you come across others, let us know!
CAUTION: you shouldn’t have to pay for a scholarship search and don’t provide personal information if you’re not sure about it! Some sites will ask you for information to give you better results, but don’t buy into it.
These opportunities are available to every Idaho student and you can get $4,125 to use towards furthering their high school career into a post-secondary option.
TYPES OF ADVANCED OPPORTUNITIES
DUAL CREDIT: These courses (sometimes called concurrent credit) are college-level classes where you earn credit for both high school and for college. Dual credit courses allow you to save time and money while working towards your college goal. work towards your college goal while you’re still in high school and save both time and money.
AP CLASSES: These are high school classes that are focused on a final exam and, depending on your score, you may earn credit towards a college or university.
CLEP TESTS: College Level Exam Preparation (CLEP) tests are where you demonstrate proficiency in introductory college material. You can earn the same amount of credits in about two hours of testing as you would over a semester-long class in college (there are a variety of different subject areas like Psychology, Calculus, Spanish, Biology, etc.).
PROFESSIONAL CERT: These are workforce-focused and can give you the credentials to prepare you for a job or for higher-level academic courses, like ASE Certification, Certified Nursing Assistant, AWS Certified Welder, etc.
Earning college credit while in high school is much cheaper than paying tuition at the cost of attendance price at a post-secondary institution. With Advanced Opportunities, students can have the state of Idaho cover the cost of these options and even get a scholarship if they graduate a year early. Reach out to your school counselor if you have any questions about these. Note many colleges and universities all have their own policy on accepting dual credits or test scores.
IMPORTANT: If you fail a dual-credit class, you’re basically failing a college-class and that will go on both transcripts. So, while these options are great, it’s in your benefit to perform at your best.
Advanced Opportunities: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/student-engagement/advanced-ops/
CLEP Tests: https://clep.collegeboard.org/
The military is not only a strong career option, it can also provide skills that can really pay off in the future and even provide ways to help you pay for your post-high school learning.
The G.I. Bill was created to help returning veterans cover the cost of school or training and is earned through active-duty service and is available for use while still in the military or after service.. Recent evolutions such as the Post 9/11 and Forever G.I. Bill benefits can also cover the cost of housing and supplies and are set to never expire after leaving service. These benefits can be transferred to dependents and spouses of military under certain circumstances.
To learn more about the GI Bill, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is offered at colleges and universities to train students towards becoming officers in the military. The ROTC can provide scholarships for 2, 3, or 4 years at the post-secondary level in certain schools. Students can apply for the scholarship while in high school or after they arrive on campus at their post-secondary school of choice.
Learn more at https://www.goarmy.com/rotc/scholarships.html
MILITARY STATE TUITION ASSISTANCE (SEAP)
SEAP is an assistance program provided by the State of Idaho to assist current soldiers who are in good standing and have 2 years of service left on their obligation. SEAP assistance varies by branch, but it can provide Idaho National Guard soldiers up to $4,000 per year towards tuition and registration costs. It’s recommended to use SEAP after one uses Military Tuition Assistance from the US Government to minimize the amount soldiers will have to pay.
To learn more visit: https://imd.idaho.gov/idaho-army-national-guard/education/
MILITARY TUITION ASSISTANCE
Federal Tuition Assistance can be used while serving Active Duty or serving in the National Guard and Reserve. This form of assistance pays up to $250 per credit hour, up to $4500 per fiscal year, at any accredited institution approved by the VA. It can be used to save military members from using their G.I. Bill benefits during their service and can help National Guard soldiers get additional assistance to the State Education Assistance Program.
There is a minimum service commitment, but to learn more, visit: https://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/tuition-assistance-ta-program-overview.html
MILITARY SERVICE ACADEMY
Military Service Academies are federal post-secondary institutions that provide both undergraduate education and training toward becoming an officer in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Merchant Marine. Each branch has it’s designated academy that will provide a free four-year Bachelor of Science degree with a designation as a Second Lieutenant. After graduating, students will also have an obligation to serve a minimum term of duty that can vary, but is typically five years plus three in the Reserves.
In order to apply to a MSA, students will need to receive a nomination from at least one authorized source as well as an appointment made by the individual academy. Authorized sources are either congressional or presidential/military service-connected. Congressional nominations include selections made by the Vice-President of the United States, Idaho Senators, or Idaho Representatives.
- Army: United States Military Academy (West Point) https://westpoint.edu/
- Navy and Marines: United States Naval Academy http://www.usna.edu/
- Air Force: United States Air Force Academy http://www.usafa.af.mil/
- Coast Guard: United States Coast Guard Academy http://www.uscga.edu/
- Merchant Marine: United States Merchant Marine Academy https://www.usmma.edu/
This is money you’re borrowing and will have to pay back, with interest. Loans can come from the federal government, a trusted bank, or an organization.”
FEDERAL LOANS: These are from the United States Government and break off into two types of loans:
- A FEDERAL SUBSIDIZED LOAN: While you’re in school (and up to 6-9 months after) the government will pay for the interest on the loan.
- FEDERAL UNSUBSIDIZED LOAN: Here, the interest has started accumulating while you’re in school and you’ll have to pay that back.
PRIVATE LOANS: You can also apply for a private loan from a trusted bank or organization. Evaluate how much money you can borrow, how long you have to pay the money back, and see which has a better interest rate. Keep an eye out for credit checks and extra fees. Make sure you’re looking into verified private lenders on trusted websites.
Remember: Interest means you’re paying additional money to borrow the money you’ll eventually pay back. Research and talk this over with a trusted adult. Ask lots of questions so you can minimize the amount you’ll be in charge of paying to go to school.
Some colleges and schools have jobs available to students. While working on campus can help pay for tuition, it’s also a valuable opportunity to work more closely with instructors, receive hands-on experience, get free meals, or even cover the cost of housing.
Different schools offer a wide range of job options: Cafeteria Worker, Resident Advisor, Library Attendant, Research Assistant, Teacher Assistant, Campus Tour Guide, Social Media Assistant, or Peer Tutor.
Check out the school’s online job board to see if a campus job interests you. You can also look around campus for job postings or visit the career services office.
Of course, there’s the more conventional way of covering schools costs by working a regular job off-campus. This can be a great option because many work-study and campus jobs have criteria such as federal aid eligibility, studying in a specific academic department, or living in campus housing.
Off-campus jobs such as a receptionist, bank teller, or restaurant server allow you to cover expenses not covered by work-study. With the “gig economy” that’s popular right now, you can work when you want with childcare, pet-sitting, or even driving for a ride-share service. Look for off-campus jobs online with job search sites like Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, or LinkedIn. Also, check for jobs posted around campus or visiting career services.