Questions about College
-- Paying for College
How much does College cost?
- The annual cost of attendance of (COA) is usually listed
on the college website and in admission materials.
- Community college tuition charges are usually the least
expensive option; public colleges and universities usually
charge less tuition than independent colleges.
- Independent colleges sometimes offer more financial aid
directly from the school than public colleges do, though the
amount can vary widely from one college to the next.
- The cost of attendance (COA) means tuition, room and
board, books, and other expenses. This figure is
listed as an average because some students may have slightly
- No matter what kind of college a student attends,
financial assistance is available from many sources.
These are the three largest sources of financial aid:
- Federal aid is administered through the U.S.
Department of Education
- PELL Grants are available for families with
relatively low income for family size ($400-$4310
per year per full-time student)
- Offers low-interest loans
- Federal Work-Study funds (provided to colleges
- The FAFSA is submitted to the U.S. Department of
- State aid is administered through Maryland
Higher Education Commission (MHEC), Office of
- Offers over $109 million annually
- 1-800-974-1024 or 410-260-4565
- Need-based grants (EA, GA)
- Most aid from MHEC is for Maryland residents who
attend college in Maryland
- Offer their own financial aid
- Coordinate federal, state, and college aid in
the student's "financial aid package"
- Contact individual websites and financial aid
offers for more information
College admission acceptance letters either enclose or are
followed by a letter from the financial aid office providing the
student's "financial aid package." This is an itemized
list of the aid the student will receive from federal, state,
and college sources if the student accepts the offer of
admission and the financial aid package.
To qualify for most financial aid, families must complete a
www.fafsa.ed.gov ). Some independent colleges and
scholarship funds require families to complete the CSS/Financial
Aid Profile (see
This service is administered by the College Board, a nonprofit
organization that also administers the SAT.
There are four main types of financial assistance:
scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study.
4 main types of financial
|Scholarships are usually based on a student's
academic performance, involvement in extracurricular
activity/ies or sport/s and may require continued
participation. Some scholarships are based on
|Grants are awards that may be based on
financial need or other eligibility criteria.
|Loans, unlike grants and scholarships, must
be repaid. Federal loans have the lowest interest
rates for educational loans. Federal and other
educational loans may be made to students or parents or
both. It is best to exhaust all federal options
before turning to private loan sources.
- Subsidized loans do not require borrowers
to pay interest while in school (the federal
government pays the interest for these loans).
- Unsubsidized loans require borrowers to
pay interest while in school or have it capitalized
(i.e., added to total loan amount).
|Work-Study is a federal program that provides
funds to students through jobs arranged by the college.
Students work and earn money, but these earnings do not
cause the Expected Family Contribution to increase on
the following year's FAFSA.
Here are a few important
sources of financial assistance:
Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant
Howard P. Rawlings Educational Assistance (EA) Grant
Check out www.MDgo4it.org
for other scholarship opportunities and applications. Many
applications are due March 1. All Maryland residents
enrolled in a degree program may apply for the two Legislative
Scholarships (Delegate Scholarship and Senatorial
There are many FREE scholarship search
services, too. For a start, try
School counselors and public librarians can also direct you
to other sources of information.
Most financial aid requires students to make satisfactory
academic progress toward a degree.
Steps to receiving student financial assistance
1. Check your family resources. How much can you
afford to pay now? How much can you earn from summer
pre-college part time jobs? Families of modest means may
be better off using savings for retirement than their children's
education; families should seek appropriate professional
2. Try the following website for federal student aid,
3. Explore your postsecondary options for content and
4. Remember that the advertised costs may be more than
what you end up paying.
5. Check for the cost of attendance (COA)
6. Do FREE scholarship searches.
7. When visiting college web sites-and colleges-check
for financial aid applications.
8. Keep a calendar of financial aid deadlines.
You only have to submit the FAFSA once per year, but some
colleges or scholarship programs have earlier deadlines than
9. Remember to use College Goal Sunday assistance
10. File the FAFSA at
11. Keep your personal identification number (PIN) you used
to file the FAFSA. You will need it again.
13. MHEC applications.
14. Compare the financial aid packages.
Acronyms & Abbreviations of
Financial Aid Terms