Financial Aid/FAFSA

  • Sometimes students don’t realize that there is money available to help them pay for college and they think that they can’t afford it. Here is what you need to know!

    What is Federal Student Aid?

    Federal student aid comes from the federal government. It is based on your family’s financial status and provides money that helps you pay for your college expenses. Examples include:

    • grants - does not have to be re-paid
    • loans - must be repaid, however, federal loans have lower interest rates
    • work-study - money that is earned through an on- or off-campus job

    What are scholarships?

    Scholarships are considered merit-based financial aid because they are awarded to students based on meeting specified criteria. They are considered gift aid because they do not have to be paid back. Scholarships recipients are selected for a wide variety of reasons. Common reasons include superior academic or athletic performance or capability. However, there are many other reasons that scholarships are awarded, and there are thousands of different ones available. It is important you begin your scholarship search early and spend an adequate amount of time to be very thorough.


    Most scholarships require completing an application and many request that you write an essay about yourself. Some scholarships will ask you to include letters from people who know you (reference letters) stating why you should be selected, among many applicants, to receive the scholarship.

    How do I find scholarships?

    1. Visit the scholarship webpages for each college. They often have scholarships specific to incoming freshman.
    2. Local scholarships are available for students in this area (Westminster Public Schools Foundation, Westminster Rotary Club)
    3. Visit the Future Center scholarship page or look at the scholarship notebook in the Future Center.
    4. You can also do a national scholarship search using one of these search engines. Remember, you should NEVER pay money to apply for a scholarship.
      1. College in Colorado scholarship webpage
      2. FastWeb

FAFSA

  • How do I apply for financial aid?

    You complete an application called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) starting in October of your senior year online at fafsa.ed.gov. It is free to complete and aid is awarded on first-come, first-served basis so the sooner you apply, the better!

    What do I need to apply?

    Here is a list of the documents and information that you need to complete your FAFSA:

    1. Student’s social security number (from Social Security or DACA card) or alien registration card (if you are not a US citizen)
      • It is very important that you use the correct SSN and your name as listed on your ID or Birth Certificate
      • If a student does not have a social security number, they can still fill out the FAFSA
    2. 2016 income taxes for parent/guardians and student and other records of money earned
      • If your family doesn’t file taxes, you will need an estimate of how much money the family gets per year and you will need to have some documentation to prove this estimate later on.
      • If your family files taxes in another country, you will need an estimate in dollars of how much they earn for the year and you will need to have some documentation to prove this estimate later on
    3. Amount of money in checking, savings, and cash for parent/guardians and student (on an average day, after all bills have been paid for the month)
    4. If parents/guardians are married, date of marriage or remarriage
    5. If parents/guardians are divorced, date of divorce
    6. If parents have social security numbers, you will need those. If they don’t have those numbers, you won’t need this information
    7. Parents’ dates of birth
    8. Number of years family has lived in Colorado
    9. Value of businesses or farms owned by you or your parent/guardian
    10. Up to 10 colleges or universities that you have applied to or will apply to in the future

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Q: If my family owns their own business, can I still fill out FAFSA?
      • A: YES!!
    • Q: If my family works in a cash only business, can I still fill out FAFSA?
      • A: YES!!
    • Q: If members of my family do not have a social security number, can I still fill out FAFSA?
      • A: YES!!
    • Q: If my parents are divorced, can I still fill out FAFSA?
      • A: YES!!
    • Q: If I am not sure where I want to go to college, or if I want to attend college right after graduation, should I still fill out FAFSA?
      • A: YES!!
    • Q: If my family does not file taxes, can I still fill out FAFSA?
      • A: YES!!