Understanding Financial Aid for a Post-Secondary Education

How will you pay for your degree?

     The cost of a post-secondary education certainly is expensive, but as with any proper investment, the financial lifetime gain substantially outweighs the initial cost. Federal Financial Aid can help relieve some, if not all, of the cost of college, university, or technical trade schools even leaving a little extra for yourself and personal needs. Applying for financial aid will be your best friend when deciding to attend college or a university; the trick is maintaining a passing grade to renew your award each year.

      After receiving and reviewing your FAFSA Application, the federal government will decide what type of aid you will receiving including grants or loans and the amount.  Some financial aid does not need to be paid back such as grants and scholarships which are fairly simple to come by; whereas, federal student loans must be paid back with interest under certain conditions much like a car or home loan. A family decision will have to be made whether your parents will take out a student loan for you or you will borrow the money yourself. Regardless of who borrows the money, certain conditions will exist when repaying any loans--whether you complete your degree or not.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application must be completed in order to receive any financial aid for a post-secondary education. The Department of Education, a division of the federal government, will decide which type of financial aid you qualify for depending on your individual circumstances which will appear on your SAR (student aid report). In other words, the government wants you to attend college and will help you pay for it if your family does not have the ability to do so or even give your family a little help to pay the bills--all on an individual basis.

Types of Financial Aid

Helpful Links

Common terms used during and after the financial aid process.

This website will help you locate online post secondary schools offering your field of study among other things.

This website is dedicated to helping all students find the necessary tools to complete a post-secondary education such as finding schools, paying for college, planning your college experience, testing (PSAT/SAT/CLEP/etc.), explore careers, etc.



We will explore vocabulary associated with financing a post-secondary education using jigsaw and publishing our findings on chart paper.

I will contribute to a group presentation by conducting individual research and place my findings into a group poster.


1. Create groups of 7-8 members

2. Each group will assign each member a financial aid term to research.

3. All members will add findings to a group poster for presentation to share what they have learned to the class.

4. Group decides on a slogan for their group poster.

Financial Aid Terms

1. Grace Period- What is a grace period and how long is it? What are the consequences of not following the guidelines of the grace period? What can be done if the grace period cannot be fulfilled? Are all grace periods the same? How are they different?

2. Federal Student Loans- What are federal student loans? Why are federal student loans offered rather than regular loans form a bank? What types of federal student loans are there? What is the process of attaining a federal student loan? What are the conditions of repayment or renewal?

3. Grants-What are college grants? How are grants attained? What is the difference between grants and scholarships? How are they similar? What are the different types of grants awarded to students? What are the conditions of repayment or renewal? How many grants can be awarded to each student per semester?

4. Scholarships-What are scholarships? What is the process to applying for most scholarships? What are the conditions to receive a scholarship award? Who offers scholarships? How are scholarships renewed? How many scholarships can a student receive? What are the different types offered? How are they different?

5. Work Study- What is a Work Study Program? Where is Work Study offered? How is it attained? How can Work Study be beneficial to your future career? What are some types of jobs offered through Work Study? What does a Work Study schedule look like?

6. Deferment/Forbearance- What are deferment and forbearance? What is the difference between the two? What are the conditions under which each would be allowed? What are the consequences of not following through with the conditions of each? How can they help a recent graduate? What are some ways to avoid needing deferment or forbearance?

7. Interest (on a loan)-What is interest on a loan? How is interest determined on a loan? What are the 2 types of loans a student can get that acquire interest? How is the interest calculated on each of those loans? What is the average interest rate on student loans? How can a student minimize the amount of interest added to the principle loan amount?

8. COA (cost of attendance)- What is cost of attendance? How is COA determined? How can a recent high school graduate determine his or her COA? What are some ways that a student can minimize the COA at the college or university of their choice?