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The price tag on college can seem very daunting, but college can be made affordable and accessible to everyone. Here are some of the main ways to access aid for college!


Before each year of college, apply for federal grants, work-study, and loans with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your federal aid eligibility. Many states and colleges use FAFSA data to also award their own aid. 

School Aid

Many schools offer financial aid from their funds. These can be based on financial need and/or merit.

  • Visit your school’s financial aid page on its website, or contact the financial aid office.
  • Ask at the department that offers your course of study; they might have a scholarship for students in your major.
  • Fill out any applications your school requires for its own aid programs, and meet your school’s deadlines.

Outside scholarships

While some private scholarships are based on whether a student is from a low-income family, such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program, there’s usually a merit component. Private scholarships are typically awarded by private foundations, nonprofits, for-profit corporations, or philanthropists, to name a few sources. Scholarships can be found on database search sites like and