Scholarships and Financial Aid

Resources for parents and students

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid helps pay the cost of attending college. Depending on the type of college, costs may include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Room and board
  • Books and supplies
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses
  • Required loan fees
  • Study abroad costs
  • Dependent care expenses
  • Expenses related to a student's disability

Financial aid is based either on a student's financial need or merit, such as high grades or ability in a particular subject or sport.

Financial aid comes in four different forms:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Work Study
  • Loans

Grants and scholarships are known as "free money" because the student does not need to pay this aid back. Work study and loans are "self-help aid" because in each case, the student either needs to work in order to receive the aid or to pay the funding back, plus interest, after graduation.

Financial aid comes from a variety of sources:

  • Federal government
  • New York State
  • Colleges
  • Community organizations, associations and other groups

(Information gathered directly from NYSHESC, 2022,

Choosing the Right College and How to Pay For It


A scholarship is FREE money (money you will not have to pay back after graduation). It’s not a student loan; scholarships are a gift that does not have to be repaid. As the cost of college continues to rise, applying for scholarships should be a priority for all college-bound students and current college students.

It can be pretty time consuming to look find scholarships to apply for, but many websites help filter your search by interest, area, college, and major! Just simply create a profile and you can even get automatic emails that the website will send to you as scholarships you are qualified for become available.

We offer plenty of local scholarships in the Guidance Office (be sure to check Class of 2022 Google Classroom for updates as more local scholarships get posted), but if you want MORE check out these helpful websites to search and apply to scholarships:

1. Going Merry

2. Fastweb


4. Chegg

5. BigFuture by Collegeboard: search colleges, careers, and scholarships

Paying for College and Smart Borrowing Basics

A student loan is a big commitment that should be considered carefully. Before taking out any student loan, federal or private, you need to understand their costs, benefits, and your responsibilities. This section provides the details and resources you need to make smart borrowing decisions.

The concept of a loan is straightforward: first you borrow money, and then you repay it plus interest.

Student loans should only be considered after you have exhausted all sources of "free money" - grants, scholarships and other awards. If after exhausting all other aid sources you find you still have a college funding gap, you may need to take out a loan.

When comparing loans, compare based on the total cost over the lifetime of the loan. Keep in mind that you may need to meet certain requirements to access lower interest rates, borrower benefits or promotions; such as signing up for automatic payments to get a reduced interest rate.

Borrowing or cosigning a private student loan is a serious financial commitment. Depending on your credit profile, private loans may have higher interest rates that can make them more expensive than Federal student loan options. Be sure to exhaust all Federal loan eligibility before borrowing or cosigning an alternative loan.

If a private loan is needed, student borrowers may secure better terms and pricing by adding a credit worthy cosigner to their application. Always check the interest rate, fees, interest capitalization policy, repayment period, prepayment penalties and other terms and conditions of the loan before you sign or cosign a promissory note.

(All information directly from NYSHESC, 2022. For more information about smart borrowing, check out :

How Much Can You Borrow?

Follow this link to the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation to check out a breakdown on government loan borrowing limits for students and their parents:

Resources and Articles to Help with Loans

Grants, Scholarships, and Loans (click here)

Here is a breakdown of the different financial aid in New York State

Understanding Loans (click here)

An education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. When students receive a student loan, it is borrowing money to attend college. It is important to understand repayment options to successfully repay student loans.

Federal Student Loans 101 (click here)

Federal Student Loans: What are the different types, how much can you borrow, and what are your repayment options. All of these questions get broken down for you here.

How College Student Loans Work (click here)

How College Student Loans Work: The definitive guide to borrowing responsibly to minimize your student loan debt

Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Letter

You received a financial aid award letter, now what!?

Receiving your financial aid award letter can be an exciting time when you’re prepping for college. But it can also be confusing – what do the numbers mean? What is the financial aid award letter? Which college has offered you a better “deal?”

Check out this article for help understanding your letter!

Need help comparing award letters from different colleges?

Check out this Financial Aid Award Packages Comparison Tool

The Financial Aid Award Letter Comparison Tool helps you evaluate your financial aid packages and determine the bottom line cost – the difference between the cost of attendance and your financial aid package – for each college.