Introduction to Financial Aid
What Is Financial Aid?
With today’s increasing college costs, traditional funding from personal and family savings may not be enough. Many students will have to rely on outside sources to help finance their post-secondary education. There are many sources of aid available to students and their families – grants, scholarships, loans, internships, work-study, as well as other more alternative approaches. The first step is to become acquainted with all financial aid options and then decide which are best for your particular situation.
Many of today’s federal student assistance programs were authorized through the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 under the Title IV provisions. As a result, federal grants, loans, and work-study aid are often referred to as Title IV programs. All Title IV programs are administered and regulated by the United States Department of Education (USDE). The funding for these programs is authorized by Congress, and, as a result, programs may undergo periodic congressional reviews, sometimes resulting in additional amendments and refinements. One of the biggest misconceptions regarding college financial aid is that it is available only for extremely low-income students.
Over half of all college students currently enrolled are receiving some form of financial aid. Approximately 80 percent of the aid given out comes from state and federal government loan and grant programs.
In reality, aid comes in a variety of packages, with some programs open to students and their parents regardless of income while other student assistance programs are distributed based on a certain level of financial need. But no matter what your personal situation, if you want assistance in paying for college, you should apply. In fact you should apply every year you are enrolled in college because financial situations can change. Layoffs, illness, and divorce can significantly alter your family’s or your need for assistance. Financial aid eligibility for need-based programs is based on a family’s or an individual’s previous year’s income and is verified through income tax return forms. But last year’s income may not accurately reflect what’s available to you this year. In those cases when a significant change has occurred, income projected for the coming year can be used instead. Your financial aid adviser will have more information on this procedure.
To view the U.S. Department of Labor’s predictions of the fastest growing occupations click here!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC, the fifteen fastest-growing jobs requiring a college degree for the years are projected to be
- database administrators and computer support specialists
- computer engineers
- systems analysts
- personal and home-care aids
- physical and corrective therapy assistants and aids
- home health aids
- medical assistants
- desktop publishing specialists
- occupational therapy assistants and aids
- occupational therapists
- teachers and special education specialists
- social and human services assistants
- data processing equipment repairers
- medical records technicians.