You are about to learn a lot about the world of college financial aid as the parent of a high school student. Here are some terms you’ll need to know to help make sure your child gets the most out of college financial aid. Federal student aid is financial aid from the federal government which is designed to help families and students pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. It consists of grants, loans and work-study programs. You always want to maximize the amount of federal student aid before moving on to other college financing options. FAFSA is a summary of your current financial situation. It provides an overview of your family’s ability to pay for a college education. Completing and submitting this information correctly is the first step to gaining access to federal financial aid. It may also be used by your state, college, and some private providers to determine your student’s eligibility for additional types of aid. Federal Student Aid will provide a summary of the information you submitted on the FAFSA. It is important that you review the SAR to make sure it is correct and complete, as many financial aid decisions will be based on this information.

College financial aid for parents

You will need to correct or update your FAFSA. If your financial situation has changed since you filed the FAFSA, you may be able to make certain updates in case you find a mistake. Expected family contribution is used to determine your student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. It shows how much money the government expects that your family can contribute to the cost of your child’s education. They will provide you with a financial aid award letter which will detail the expected Cost of Attendance (COA) at their institution, as well as any financial aid for which the school believes you are qualified once your child’s selected colleges have reviewed the information on your FAFSA. Cost of Attendance (COA) at their institution, as well as any financial aid for which the school believes you are qualified. Be aware that some schools may include student loans as part of their financial aid package. Grants is a form of financial aid which is usually based on financial need. In most cases, grants do not have to be repaid unless your student withdraws from the school. Scholarships are another form of financial aid, but scholarships are usually based on merit, activities, group memberships, medical conditions, or some other factor. They are made available by the school, community and religious groups, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and usually involve some type of application process. In most cases grants do not have to be repaid. Work – study programs - tis form of financial aid provides part-time employment opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. This gives your student an opportunity to earn money to help pay for his or her college expenses. The program usually encourages community service work and some type of work which is related to your student’s course of study.