Financial Aid Information


All SENIORS need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, in the fall of their senior year.  The application will be available October 1.  Students can qualify for grants, loans, work study opportunities, and many scholarships using the FAFSA.  More information is available at the website below.

Types of Financial Aid
    There are many different types of financial aid. It is important to understand the vocabulary.
  • Scholarships and Grants: money that does not have to be repaid. (Note: not all scholarships/grants are created equal. Some are given as a “one-time”gift while others are renewable if students meet certain criteria.)
  • Loans: money that can be borrowed by students and/or parents.(Note: not all loans are created equal. Some loans are subsidized by federal or state programs, which can reduce the interest rate and/or defer payments for a length of time. Compare the total costs of each loan.)
  • Work-Study: schools may offer work on campus as a type of financial aid.(Note: not all work-study is created equal. A job in the food service may pay the same as assisting in a laboratory, but students should consider ways work on campus could provide career-related experiences.
  • Other: students have other opportunities to supplement their educational finances. Participation in the military, ROTC, AmeriCorps, and other programs can provide funds or forgiveness of educational loans. (Note: TANSTAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Many of these “other” sources will provide financial assistance… but there are also obligations. It is always important to read the fine print!)

Click here for the handout Steps to Federal Student Aid

Finding Financial Aid

The vast majority of financial aid gets to students through the following sources:
  • School Financial Aid Offices: Most of the aid received by students is distributed through school financial aid offices. These are the most valuable sources of information on funding an education. It is important to establish a relationship and to follow the school directions completely, accurately and on time. The school will usually require completion of the FAFSA. Even if a family feels they will not qualify for need-based aid, the school usually wants to see the EFC before they make any decisions about merit-based aid. (Note: financial aid opportunities change as a student progresses. Upperclassmen may qualify for different scholarships, grants, and work opportunities. It is important that a student maintain a relationship with the financial aid office even if they don’t receive assistance the first year.)
  • Local Scholarships: Organizations, companies, and individuals in our community provide scholarships to encourage students. Information on how to apply for these scholarships can be found in the WHS College and Career Center. Information is also provided on the daily Newsbreak and on the “rolling” school announcement channel.
  • Other Sources: After working with the school financial aid office and applying for local scholarships, there is a multitude of “other” sources. It can be bewildering to attempt to pursue them all. Sometimes applying for a national scholarship can be literally a one-in-a-million chance. Anything a student can do to narrow the field can improve the chances of being awarded a scholarship. One way to narrow the field is to check with sources that are personalized to the student. Do the employers of the student or parents offer scholarships? How about a union, fraternal or professional organization to which a parent belongs? Check with your bank or credit union. Consider any religious affiliation you might have. Another way to narrow the field is to use a web-based financial aid search engine such as and By providing a profile, the student allows the search engine to find scholarship opportunities more closely matching personal characteristics.

Fraud Alert!

You will probably receive mailings from organizations that “guarantee” they will find financial aid for you that you won’t find on your own. These organizations prey on your concern about paying for school. In most cases they will be using the same search options available to you on the web for free. Here is a simple rule of thumb… you should never pay someone to get financial aid.

Helpful Websites

FAFSA Has online forms and filing with information about FAFSA 

Students Gateway to the Government 

The Student Guide 
Financial Aid Student Guide A comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Updated each award year, The Student Guide tells you about the programs and how to apply for them. Paper copies are available in the college room and in the counselor's office with the FAFSA Application forms. 

Managing College Cost   

Managing College Cost is a great website for parents, students, and educators.  It is free and created by a high school counselor who felt he had to do something for parents after he had his own trouble working the “system” to get his own kids in college.  He felt that if he had trouble with his background, he had to do something for parents who were not college educated or educators.

Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation Private, non-profit corporation designated to administer the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). 

FinAid (The SmartStudent's Guide to Financial Aid), was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service. This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive annotated collection of information about student financial aid on the web. 

FastWEB (Financial Aid Search through the Web) is a searchable database of more than 275,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans from more than 10,000 sources worth more than $775 million. It has a facility to notify you by e-mail when new scholarships meeting your qualifications come available.

Student Scholarship Search
With one of the largest databases of scholarships online and a speedy scholarship matching tool, StudentScholarshipSearch helps students find scholarships that are most relevant to their background, field of study, sport, skill, interest, achievement, or other attribute. 

Scholarship Coach: 'I'm your virtual Scholarship Coach! As you use this site, my goal is to help you find and win college cash. So are you ready? The road to scholarship success begins now. By Ben Kaplan author of "How to go to College for Free". Turn up your sound, it talks to you! 

Colleges, College Scholarships, and Financial Aid 

College Aid Calculator Plan and estimate your share of college costs.

International Financial Aid Finder and Study Abroad Resource Center

Studying Abroad  Learn more about how it is to study in another country as an international student and the process of getting your Master's Degree abroad. Find articles about the best countries to study in, the most reputable universities abroad, and the experience shared by other students who earned their degree in another country.