Financial Assistance FAQ

What is financial aid?
What types of financial aid are available?
What are grants?
What are the different types of grants?
What are scholarships?
What kind of scholarships are available?
What is work study?
What kind of jobs are available?
Where are the jobs located?
What are loans?
Should my student take out loans?
What are the different types of loans?
What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
How do I apply for FAFSA?
Steps to Filling Out a FAFSA


What is financial aid?

This is money that comes from the federal government that can help your student pay for college, books, tuition, room and board, computer, etc.

What types of financial aid are available?

Students can receive grants, scholarships, work-study and loans. 


What are grants?

Grants are monies that do not have to be re-paid.  They are based on financial need.  These can be provided by the federal government and/or your student's college.

What are the different types of grants?

  1. Federal Pell Grant
    Awarded to undergraduate students who haven't earned a bachelor's or     master's degree.  Amounts can change yearly, but are need-based for low-income students.  Pell grants are based on the student's expected family contribution (based on parent's income), how much a college costs and if a student is registered for full-time classes.  Click here for more information.  If your student qualifies for other aid, it does not affect their Pell Grant amount.
  2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
    Awarded to undergraduate students who have the lowest expected family contribution.  Students receiving a Pell Grant have priority for FSEOGs.  The award amount will be determined by your student's financial aid office of the college they plan to attend.
  3. Academic Competitive Grants
    To earn ACGs, students must enroll in rigorous curriculum during their four years of high school.  Rigorous curriculum means: 4 years English, 4 years math, 3 years science, 3 years social studies, 2 credits in foreign language.  These grants go to students entering into students who are entering their first or second year of college and the student must be half-time and Pell eligible.
  4. National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant
    These grants to go college students who are in their third or fourth year of undergraduate studies, have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and majoring in physical, life or computer science; math; technology; engineering; and foreign language.  These students must also be Pell-eligible and be enrolled at least half-time.
  5. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
    This grant goes to students who are majoring to become a teacher.  In exchange for the grant, the student will agree to teach in an area of low-income schools for high-need students for at least 4 years.

Remember, colleges and universities may also provide grants to deserving students, so check with your student's college's financial aid office!


What are scholarships?

Scholarships are also monies that do not have to be re-paid. They are based on a student's academic achivement (GPA, ACT or SAT scores, etc.). The better a student performs academically, the better their chance of earning free money to attend college. 

Scholarship opportunities can be provided by your student's college, by the state government, the US Department of Education, community foundations and organizations, local businesses, professional organizations, ethnicity-based organizations or employers.

What kind of scholarships are available?

Students can receive scholarships from the federal and state governments, college and universities, local community organizations, as well as well-known businesses or nationwide scholarship programs.

Not all scholarships require good grades and test scores, but most do.  Each scholarship provider has their own criteria and rules about who can qualify for the scholarship.  Students need to make sure they are applying for scholarships in which the actually qualify.

Do not be tricked into thinking you must pay for someone or a database to find your student scholarships.  There are many scholarships available and they are FREE!  For more information,  click here to be directed to the federal scholarship site. 


What is work-study?

Work-study is money that does not have to be re-paid and will allow a student to earn money while working on or close to their college's campus.

What kind of jobs are available?

The work-study program encourages students to work within community organizations or complete work that is related to their major of study.

Where are the jobs located?

Jobs can be located both on or off-campus.  If a job is on-campus, it will most likely be an office or department on the college campus.  If the job is off-campus, it could be within a community organization or non-profit organization. 

Some colleges have agreements with private employers, but these jobs just go along with your college major.  Other restrictions may apply.


What are loans?

Loans are money that will have to be re-paid by the borrower (with interest).  Both students and parents of students attending college may qualify for loans. 

Should my student take out loans?

Many students need loans in order to reach their college goals.  It is necessary for students to take out loans.  Usually repayment of loans will not begin until 6 months after a student leaves/graduates from college.  This allows the student ample time to find a job in order to begin to re-pay their loans.

Federal student loans have low interest rates, repayment plans based on income levels, and deferment options (when a student decides to go back to school).  They also have loan forgiveness programs for students who decide to go into teaching.

Students who receive federal loans do not need a credit history or a cosigner (private companies and banks do not offer these benefits).

UB encourages students to take out student loans because we believe a college education is an investment.  Students should expect to finish college with a degree and an education that will prepare them to find a career, which will then allow them to have ample funds to pay off their student loans.

What are the different types of loans?

  1. Federal Perkins Loan
    This loan is available from colleges who participate in the Perkins Loan program.  It is offered to students who qualify for financial need who are enrolled either full or part-time.  This loan is paid back to the college.
  2. Stafford Loan
    This loan is for undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least in half-time status.  There are two types of Stafford Loans:
    -Subsidized - Student must show financial need; the US Department
    of Education will pay the interest on this loan during certain time
    -Unsubsidized - Students to not need to show financial need; student
    is responsible for paying interest on the loan.
  3. PLUS Loans
    These are loans parents can apply for to help pay for their student's education.  Parents can also apply for these loans to pay for their own schooling.  There are two types of PLUS Loans:
    • Direct Loans -made through the US Department of Education's 
      Direct Loan Program; re-paid directly to the Department of
    • FFEL Loans -Private lenders provided these loans (banks); re-paid
      directly to the bank or private lender.
      For more information, please click here.
  4. Consolidation Loans
    This type of loan allows for students or parents who borrow money on mutiple loans to combine the loans together and pay one montly payment.

Applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

What is FAFSA? 

The FAFSA is an application provided by the Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. The Federal Student Aid office provides and manages student financial assistance programs. This can equal FREE MONEY for your student to attend college!  (See above for information on the different types of aid offered).

How do I apply for FAFSA?

Students planning on attending college in the fall, should complete their FAFSA application online by March 1st. This will allow them to be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. Students may complete the FAFSA at anytime after January 1st, using tax information from the previous year (for example, if a student is planning to attend college in the Fall of 2010, then parents and students should use tax information from the entire year of 2009).  This information can come in the form of W-2s or a completed tax form.

Financial aid is given on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the earlier your student applies, the better it will be.

Steps to Filling Out a FAFSA

  1. Collect necessary financial documents for both students and parents (whom the child lives with).  These can be W-2 forms, income tax returns and any other records of income.  Also, you will need the parent's social security number, student social security number (or Alien Registration Number if you are not a US Citizen), and information on savings accounts, investments, etc.
  2. It is OK to estimate your financial information when you first fill out the FAFSA, but be sure to FILE TAXES AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.  Then, go back and make the corrections in the final FAFSA form.
  3. Register for both a student pin and parent pin. Students and parents will "sign" the FAFSA electronically, which helps speed up the process of filling out the FAFSA. 
    ***Keep your pin some place safe as you will need it for your student's next 4-5 years of college!
  4. Once you receive your previous year's tax information, log on to the FAFSA website.
    1. Under the #2 - Filling out the FAFSA, click on "Fill Out Your FAFSA"
    2. Select the school year in which you will be attending college
    3. Log in using your student's information
      *** Create a password for your student that they will remember; they will need it for the next 4-5 years of college!
  5. Be sure both you and your student frequently checks your email accounts after submitting the FAFSA to make sure your information is complete and accurate (FAFSA and colleges will send email notification regarding extra forms or information they may need to further process your student's financial aid).