As college tuition continues to soar, more perspective students need financial aid to even think about going to school. However, it is not as easy as just needing the money, applying for it and getting it. A lot of it depends upon your academic standing as well as the financial status of your family and yourself. There are certain things that can disqualify you from getting different types of student aid. Note that each state and each college may have different rules about who qualifies for student aid and why.
Scholarships, as the common wisdom says, are based upon your academic standing. Except that that is not always the case. While some scholarships are based directly upon your high school and scholastic aptitude scores, others take into account other considerations. For example, some scholarships may be granted based at least partly upon community service or work with certain volunteer groups. Even if you have a 4.0 grade-point average and high SAT scores, you may be disqualified for a scholarship because you have not met other specific criteria for the awarding of the money.
Student aid grants usually are based upon your income. That means the total income of your family if you still live with your parents and siblings. It also means your family’s assets come into consideration. For example, if your family has an income that falls under the maximum amount set for the grant, but has certain other assets such as a second home, substantial savings or income from other sources, you may be disqualified for standard grants. These may include those provided by the state in which you live or grants provided through the federal government.
The maximum income level for your family usually can be higher for you to qualify for student loans since you eventually will need to pay them back. However, if your family exceeds the levels of income set as standards by governmental or private student loan organizations, you cannot qualify for a loan. In general, you can appeal a loan decision and provide additional information that may sway the loan organization that you need the loans.
Some students who cannot get enough money for college through scholarships, grants or loans may participate in work study programs. These are determined by the specific college you attend. In general you take a job for the college that pays you some living expenses and provides you money toward your tuition and other college-related expenses. You may not qualify if your family makes too much money because the college administration may give preference to students officials deem to have more financial need than you do.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images