Finding Your Way to Financial Aid:
A Missourian's Guide to Financial Aid Sources of Education and Training
You've done some careful thinking about yourself and your future. You have decided it's time to further your education. But now the biggest barrier seems to be money: how to finance your education.
Financial aid is often seen as a complex maze. We've all heard terms like Guaranteed Student Loans, Pell Grants, and work/study programs, but who is eligible, how much money can a person receive, and how does a person go about applying for this aid?
It is the purpose of this booklet to guide you through the maze and to provide as much information relevant to Missouri Financial Aid assistance as possible. This booklet is NOT exhaustive; that is, it is impossible to provide information about every possible source of funding, but this booklet will give you a good idea of what's possible for you. The booklet will help you understand:
- Terms used in describing financial aid
- Financial aid guidelines and processes
- Major financial aid sources
- Who to contact at schools in your area for financial aid information
- How to fill out your financial aid application forms
- Where to find information on less well known types of financial aid
- Where to locate directories that provide more extensive information about sources of financial aid
Paying for College
The FastWEB Internet site gives parents and college-bound students the ability to search a growing database of scholarships and other financial-aid awards--more than 275,000, at last count. To use FastWEB visitors must register for a free "mailbox" into which news of scholarship programs will be delivered. Registration entails filling out a lengthy questionnaire; FastWEB uses that information to scan its database and show only the programs for which you or your child qualify. Once you have provided the necessary information, check the mailbox to see a list of scholarships along with details on application deadlines, qualifications and where to apply.
FAFSA on the Web
The good news: It is now possible to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, on the Web. The U.S. Department of Education promises the speediest possible response for those who complete the application on-line. The bad news: Right now you must use version 3 of Netscape Navigator to get access to the form. Earlier and later versions of Netscape, as well as all versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer, simply won't work. The government doesn't accept applications for the 2005 school year until after January 1, so bookmark this site now for future reference.
FinAid - The Financial Aid Information Page
The FinAid is a free, comprehensive Internet guide to student financial aid. It provides overviews and links to more information on dozens of issues related to student aid and college, including:
- Sources of aid, such as scholarships, fellowships, grants, contests, and prepaid tuition plans;
- Student loans, lenders, and loan counseling;
- Financial aid administration;
- Aid for special interest groups, such as international, disabled, older, minority, and graduate students;
- Federal Government sponsored programs;
- Frequently asked questions, common myths, and scam alerts; and
- Other college-related concerns, such as personal finance, admissions testing, college planning, and career resources.
This site also has tools for calculating expenses and applying for Federal aid online. FinAid was created by scholarship guide author Mark Kantrowitz and is sponsored by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
To request a FREE copy of Finding Your Way to Financial Aid or a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, call the Career Information Hotline at 1-800-392-2949.