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Higher Education Info
Financial aid helps students and families pay for higher education expenses including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and personal/miscellaneous expenses. Financial aid is available for part-time as well as full-time students.
One out of every two students in the United States (U.S.) pursuing a higher education receives some form of financial assistance to help meet the college costs. In Maine, that number is even higher, with almost three our of every four students receiving financial aid.
Most financial aid comes from the state and federal government, and higher education institutions. Financial aid is most often based on need.
There are two basic types of financial aid:
• NEED-BASED AID is awarded to families demonstrating eligibility for this type of financial aid based on need. The fewer financial resources a family has, such as income and assets, the more need-based aid they may be eligible to receive. You do not need to be considered "low income" to receive need-based financial assistance. Rather, you must demonstrate a need for financial assistance for programs in this category.
• MERIT-BASED AID is awarded to students based on their accomplishments within and outside the classroom (grades, test scores, community service, talents, etc.).
1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
If you want to receive any form of financial aid, you must complete the FAFSA -- even if you are just applying for a loan. The application process for financial aid is separate from the process of applying for admission to a college or university. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the application for most federal student aid programs (including the Federal Pell Grant Program), as well as for the Maine State Grant Program (MSGP). The FAFSA is available each November/December at high school Guidance Offices and the Financial Aid Offices of higher education institutions
To complete the FAFSA online, go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
If you complete the FAFSA on-line, the student (and parent, if a dependent student) should apply for a PIN prior to completing the FAFSA on-line. However, if you apply on-line without a PIN, you must print the signature page, complete it, and mail it to the Federal Processor. Your FAFSA will not be processed without either a PIN or completed signature page.
Get help filling out the FAFSA on College Goal Sunday. Visit http://www.collegegoalsundaymaine.com for date, time, and locations in Maine.
2. Institutional Financial Aid Forms
In addition, many post-secondary schools may require that you complete their own Institutional Form(s). Institutional forms are available through the Financial Aid Office of the school.
Make sure you understand what forms are required by each institution to which you will apply. Failure to complete ALL required forms may disqualify you for financial aid you are otherwise eligible to receive.
3. College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile Form
In addition to completing the FAFSA, some colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, and scholarship programs use the information collected on the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile form to help them award nonfederal student aid funds. Profile forms are available each November/December at high school Guidance Offices and the Financial Aid Offices of higher education institutions.
For Profile Forms on the Web, visit http://profileonline.collegeboard.com/
High School Guidance Offices
If you have not yet graduated from high school, check with your guidance department and see what is available through your school and surrounding area.
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
FAME's is a rich source of information about financial aid options for Maine Students. Visit their excellent Web site at:
Online Search for Scholarships
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