How Much Financial Aid Do You Qualify for?

Financial aid can help you fund your higher education by providing you with money to put toward college. For many students, financial aid can reduce the need to work a full-time job while enrolled in school or turn to family members for help paying tuition.

Need-Based Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid bases your aid reward on your financial status. If you're starting college fresh out of high school, most need-based programs, such as the U.S. government's Pell Grant program, will take your parents' income into consideration when determining your level of need. You can determine how much financial aid you qualify for through the federal aid program by visiting the U.S. Department of Education's website and filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Merit-Based Financial Aid

Scholarships are yet another form of financial aid you may qualify for. Scholarships are traditionally merit-based rather than need based. Thus, you must possess a special ability, such as excellent academic prowess or athleticism, or a certain status, such as belonging to a particular ethnic group, to qualify. Although the guidelines for each scholarship differ, if you qualify, you'll usually receive the full award amount available. Visit your school's financial aid office to ask about available scholarships in your area.

Financial Aid Limits

Fortunately, there are no limits on the amount of financial aid you can receive. Each program places limits on individual recipients, but you can apply for and receive financial aid from a multitude of sources.

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