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- So, most students, when they're thinking about financial aid, the first thing they think about are those private scholarships that are out there from foundations, other organizations that make money available to help students go to school, and those are great sources of funding, but they're typically not the major source of funding for most students. Things like the Rotary Club Scholarship, the PTA Scholarship, the National Merit Scholarship, all those make a big difference for a lot of students, but they're usually small amounts. And where the real sources of funding come from are through filing the FAFSA, and at many schools the profile which makes you eligible for federal and state grants and scholarships as well as institutional scholarships and grants. So the rule of thumb is, the more expensive a school is, the more financial aid that school needs to make available to their students. So many students find that their major source of funding is the institution that they're going to. By filling out the FAFSA and profile, then we provide that information to students in an award letter. - So a few of the things that you might see in a financial aid letter are, first of all, the award. What is the financial aid that you will be receiving? How much money is the school going to give you to attend? This can come in a few different forms. So one of the ways that a student may receive aid is through a scholarship. Obviously, a scholarship may be merit-based, or need-based. If it's merit-based, there may be a GPA requirement or a certain class load that you need to maintain. If it's need-based, it may fluctuate if your family's financial situation changes. - Another part of the typical financial aid packages are loans and it's important for you to be able to identify on your award letter exactly what money is in terms of loans as opposed to scholarships and grants. Loans are money that you get the use of that money while you're in school, but after you graduate, you're going to have to pay that back. So it's important to understand what the terms and conditions are of those loans - There will also sometimes be a student contribution or a work/study contribution that a student has to provide. That can be completed though any work on campus, through, kind of, approved work/study jobs.