There are many sources of financial aid which students get from colleges, the most important being the federal government, many states (including Massachusetts), and the colleges themselves. If you need aid, you should not underrate your chances for getting financial help even if you are from a so-called “middle income” family. The College and Career Center houses scholarship information and applications. Listings and information about eligibility may be found through the Scholarship List link in students' Naviance accounts.
Some of you who are new to the United States and need aid for college may be concerned that you will not be eligible for funds. There is some aid available. For example, U.S. Permanent Residents - individuals who enter the country with immigrant visas or who adjust their status after entering as non-immigrants, refugees, or someone seeking asylum - are eligible for federal student aid. Similarly, refugees, Cuban-Haitian entrants, and those with temporary residency status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 are also eligible for federal student aid.
There are several low interest loans available to college students with financial need. These include the Federal Perkins Loan (for students with exceptional financial need), subsidized Stafford Loans (federal government pays the interest while enrolled in school), unsubsidized Stafford Loans (interest accumulates while enrolled in school), and Plus Loans (for parents).
Scholarships based solely on the applicant’s accomplishments without regard to financial need are considered merit scholarships. Some colleges give them in an attempt to attract high achieving students, students from different ethnic backgrounds, and students with special talents. There are also some organizations that give scholarships based on academic performance and/or completion of an examination or essay contest.
The best way to find out about scholarships (both need and merit based) is to be alert to the Scholarship Bulletin (on the top right hand side of this page) and to the information available in the College and Career Center and in public libraries, such as the TERI College Planning Center at the Boston Public Library. WARNING!!! Be are wary of so-called “scholarship searches” which can be expensive and tend to yield the same information you could find on your own. There are many websites listed online.
The application for financial aid can be a factor in admissions. At which schools might this be true?
There is no list available, but you can inquire from specific colleges if admission is “need-blind.” This means that, in deciding which students to admit, the admissions office pays no attention to the applicant’s financial status.
When should I expect to hear about my financial aid package?
You can expect to hear at the same time you are notified about your acceptance, but in any event, no later than mid-April.
How will my financial need to be met?
Usually by a three-part package: grant (or scholarship), a loan (to be paid back after your education is completed), and a job (through the federal work/study program at the college).
What is federal work/study?
The financial aid office of the college arranges for the student to work on campus (for your college) or off campus (usually for a nonprofit organization or at a job related to your education), and earn at least the federal minimum wage.