Financial Aid & Awards

  • Understanding the financial aid process for school can be most perplexing and overwhelming. The following websites will help you navigate through this process with a little more confidence.

    Always remember that completing the financial aid applications and getting help with the financial aid process is FREE... be wary of those who want to charge money to help get financial aid or assist in scholarships searches.

    The four types of financial aid are:

    • Grants - money that is given to students, usually because o financial need, that does not need to be repaid.
    • Scholarships - money that is awarded because of exceptional academic achievement, a talent or skill, community service, and/or financial need.
    • Work-Study - money a student earns by working at a college job, usually 10-15 hours a week.
    • Loans - money borrowed by students and/or parents that must be repaid.

    What is the difference between need-based and merit-based financial aid?

    Need-based financial aid is awarded to students who do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for college. A student's academic record is not a factor. Merit-based financial aid is given to students who have outstanding abilities, talents, or accomplishments, regardless of the financial situation of the family.

    Financial Aid Sites:

    College Board:

    • Calculate your estimated family contribution.

    College Scholarship Service (CSS):


    • The FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) can be submitted anytime after January 1st.  In order to receive student aid for college tuition from the government you MUST fill out the FREE application for student aid online -
    • Do you have questions about the FAFSA? Here is how to get answers:

      FAFSA hotline: (800) 433-3243.

      Email contact:

      When parents are working on the FAFSA online, they can click a live help button for assistance.


    • A personalized scholarship search, find specific scholarship opportunities that suit you and your personal and academic interests.


    • The most comprehensive and complete site for student financial aid. It includes scholarship searches, as well as a cost calculator.

    National Association of Student Financial Aid

    • Sponsored by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Officers, this gives important financial aid information for parents and students.

    Next Steps Idaho:

    • This site requires a username & password. See your College/Career Counselor to get this info.  Once logged in, under "Get Help Paying for School", click on "View"

    Sallie Mae:

    • Sponsored by Sallie Mae Foundation, this website gives information on loans, savings accounts and scholarships.

    US Department of Education

    • Learn about financial aid.

    Western Undergraduate Exchange:

    • Undergraduate students from Idaho may enroll in a participating public institution in other western states at a reduced tuition rate. 
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