FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
College can be an expensive investment, but there are several resources to help make it an affordable one! Most importantly, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by virtually all two and four-year colleges, universities, and career schools for the awarding of federal student aid and most college aid. Filling out the FAFSA is an important first step in determining the amount you and your family can expect to contribute to your college education.
Once you complete your FAFSA and send it to colleges you have applied to, you will receive Financial Aid Packages. Financial Aid Packages typically list awarded grants, work-study, and loans. A grant is free money based on need that doesn't need to be paid back. Work study is when you get paid to work on campus to help pay for college expenses such as textbooks. A loan is borrowed money that must be paid back starting 6 months after graduation.
The FAFSA can be a confusing application, but there are several workshops around Philadelphia that can help you complete it! Scroll down to the Local Workshops section to find one near you!
Fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) - for Government Loans
FAFSA Reference Guide
Federal Student Aid at a Glance
FAFSA on the Web Worksheet
- Fill out your PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) application
- Lists of Grants and Scholarships from Graduate! Philadelphia
- CSS Profile
- Federal Financial Aid
- Financial Aid Videos
- PhillyGoes2College - Paying for College Tips
Scholarships are a great way to ease the burden of college tuition! They often require essays, transcripts, or a letter of recommendation, but the effort is always worth it. Use the following resources to help you find local and national scholarships.
Scholarship Search Tools
- Scholarship Clearinghouse
- College Board Scholarship Finder
- UNCF Scholarship Search
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Scholarship America
Scholarship Search Tailoring to All High School Students (Organized by Grade Levels)
- Local Scholarships Recommended
- Big 33 Scholarships
- CORE Philly
- Drexel Liberty Scholars
- Greater Philadelphia 2016 Paradigm Award - $5,000 undergraduate scholarship for full-time working women
- Philadelphia Foundation Scholarship
- PSAT/NMSQT Scholarships
- The Anna M. Vincent Scholarship Trust
- The Beech Scholarship Fund for "deserving and qualifying high school minority seniors entering Temple University" in the fall.
- The Ellis Trust for Girls
- The Last Dollar Scholarship, a need-based "gap filling" award from The Philadelphia Education Fund.
- The Mayor's Scholarship Program
- The Philadelphia City Scholarship
- Scholarships for High School Students Recommended
- AXA Achievement Scholarship (1 achievement you had that no one else has done (for example, you started a nonprofit). 2 students per state.)
- Burger King: James W. McLamore Whopper Scholarship
- Coca Cola (You need lots of leadership and community service. Many of the people who have received this scholarship have started nonprofits. It is not necessary for you to have a high GPA -- they're looking for students who'll go beyond getting good grades.)
- Dell Scholars Program
- Elks National Scholarship (merit based, leadership, volunteer)
- Gates Millennium (You have to qualify for the Pell Grant. Need: min GPA of 3.2. Focus is on leadership and community service. 8 essays. Will cover you up to your doctorate degree.)
- Horatio Alger (For students with severe financial aid struggles despite their academic achievement.)
- The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program (up to $30,000 per year to attend a four year school. Awarded to high-performing seniors who matriculate in the fall of 2016; have a GPA of 3.5 or above and an SAT score of 1200 or above or an ACT composite score of at least 26.)
- Abbott and Fenner Business Consultants
- America's Junior Miss Scholarship Program
- AXA Achievement Community Scholarship
- Davidson Fellows
- Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship
- Google Scholarship Program
- HelpTeaching.com Scholarship
- Herman and Katherine Peters Foundation Scholarship
- Junior Achievement College Scholarship
- PSPE Scholarship
- Urquhart Memorial Foundation Scholarship
- Youth Forward Scholarship Program of the National Driving and Traffic school
- Youth Foundation Scholarship
Contests and Awards
- AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship
- AFSA National Scholarship
- AFSA High School Essay Contest
- Alert Scholarship
- American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest
- Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Scholarship
- Ashley Marie Easterbrook Scholarship
- A Voice for Animals High School Essay Scholarship Contest
- Common Knowledge Scholarship
- Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition
- Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Contest
- DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition
- East Villagers Service Scholar Essay Contest
- Eco-Hero Award
- Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition
- FormSwift College Scholarship Contest
- Moody's Mega Math Challenge
- NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award
- NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund
- NSSAR Knight Essay Contest
- Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest
- The Christophers "You Can Make A Difference" Poster Contest
- The National WWII Museum's Annual Essay Scholarship
- Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Contest
- We The People 9 17 Contest
- Young Naturalist Award
Nursing/Healthcare Scholarship Websites
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing Scholarships
- Johnson & Johnson
- March of Dimes Nursing Scholarships
- Minority Nurse Scholarships
- National Black Nurses Association
- Purdue Global University Nursing Scholarships
- U.S. Department of Health & Loan Scholarship Information
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Scholarships for African American and other Minority Students
- Fire Science Scholarships
- AAIA Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship
- Scholarship America
- First Generation Scholarships
- North Carolina Scholarships (If you are a student who attends a college or university in North Carolina, these opportunities are available for you.)
- Doodle for Google
The PROFILE is an online application form, created by the College Board's College Scholarship Service (CSS), which collects student information for certain colleges and scholarship programs to use to award institutional aid funds. It is different from the FAFSA since the latter is used to apply for federal aid funds. The PROFILE is currently used by nearly 400 institutions to award financial aid such as scholarships and grants.
Before you apply, check out the following guides on how to prepare the application:
The application process involves three easy steps: register an account, complete the online application, and submit it. You should sign in to College Board to access the PROFILE registration and application.
While you apply, you may refer to the detailed instructions for completing PROFILE online.
College Board Net Price Calculator
The Net Price Calculator is a tool that you can use to estimate your "net price" to attend a particular college or university. Net price is the difference between the "sticker" price (full cost) to attend a specific college, minus any grants and scholarships for which you may be eligible. Sticker price includes direct charges (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses).
Here are other relevant resources you can find at College Board:
- List of the participating schools that use College Board's Net Price Calculator.
- College Board Net Price Calculator User Guide.
- Tips and facts you need to know about financial aid—Financial Aid 101.
- Financial aid search tools and calculators.
Net price is the key to understanding what a specific college is likely to cost, and allows you to better compare your out-of-pocket expenses from one college to another. It can help you widen your college choices beyond those institutions that you think you can afford. It is possible that your net cost will be lower at a college with a high sticker price or higher at a college with a lower sticker price. You may find that some colleges you thought were financially out of your reach may be very affordable.