Financial Aid - What You Should Know Now

It's never too early to start thinking about how you will pay for college and learning about financial aid options. Although you won't apply for financial aid until your senior year of high school, it is best to take the next few years to learn and understand the financial aid sources available to help fund an education. Start a list of possible scholarships, along with their deadlines and web addresses, so that you can spend less of your senior year searching and more time applying!


Scholarships are offered by many sources including colleges and universities, federal and state agencies, businesses, community organizations and other private sources. The money is applied to college costs and does not have to be repaid. High school counselors are excellent resources for local scholarship information, and your child can look for scholarship opportunities using free online scholarship search tools.

All students identified as a GEAR UP Iowa participant are eligible to receive a GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship upon high school graduation in 2020! Make sure to add this to your scholarship list!


Federal and state grants are available to students who meet the requirements of the grant program. Grant funds do not have to be repaid. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal grants. The Iowa Financial Aid Application allows Iowa students to apply for multiple state of Iowa aid programs with one application. You can find this application at, and also link directly to it after completing your FAFSA.


Work-study programs provide part-time employment to eligible students. These jobs accommodate students’ class schedules and often include a maximum amount of hours a week so students can concentrate on their studies.

Loans (Federal and Private)

Educational loans are long-term obligations available to students and parents through both the federal government and private lenders. Federal student loans are a good, low-interest option after you have exhausted all other aid and employment opportunities. Private student loans should be used as a last resort as they are not federally insured and are usually more costly than federal student loans.

Other Sources

There may be assistance available through internship, cooperative education and employee tuition assistance. Check with your child’s high school counselor and your employer for details.

Apprenticeship programs combine classroom studies with on-the-job training. Often apprenticeship partners will pay educational expenses at community colleges for students to receive academic and hands-on technical training.  The military also provides a variety of educational opportunities to service members to study before, during and after their military commitments.

The websites listed below are good places to search for financial aid and scholarship information.

Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on February 17, 2018 at 1:33pm.