FOR GRADES : 9 10 11 12 - 1st, 2nd year post high school

While the words “scholarship” and “grant” are often used interchangeably, they do have slightly different meanings: scholarships are generally based on academic or athletic merit, while grants are intended to solve a financial need. Each year, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition, about $3.3 billion in gift aid is awarded by private sources, including individuals, foundations, corporations, churches, nonprofit groups, civic societies, veteran’s groups, professional groups, service clubs, unions, chambers of commerce, associations, and many other organizations.

Types of Grants and Scholarships

    (FAFSA) & (SAR)

    All government grants, as well as numerous other scholarship opportunities, are based upon your need for financial assistance to continue your education. In order to substantiate your degree of need, you must complete a FAFSA application on line; and, your score — SAR — will be determined based on your answers. You will need to submit this information whenever you apply for a grant or scholarship that requires it. To find the application, go to There is no charge for completing this process.

    Pell Grants

    Pell Grants are the nation’s largest need-based grant program and are awarded based on the FAFSA. They are funded by the government and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Pell Grants typically go to students with a total family income of below $25,000, although students with higher family incomes still may qualify. For the 2017-18 school year, the maximum Pell Grant is $5,920.

    Merit-Based Aid

    Merit-based aid is based on a student’s academic, artistic or athletic achievement. It also goes to students who demonstrate leadership qualities, or other abilities, such as proficiency in extracurricular activities and/or community service.

    Need-based Aid

    Need-based is aimed at students from low-income families. To qualify for this type of aid, which can be school-sponsored or privately funded, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrate a financial need that must be met in order for them to attend college.



    College Planning tools

    Peterson’s College Search

    There are so many decisions that go into choosing the perfect school for you so how can you narrow it down a little? With Peterson’s detailed search tool, it’s easy to find the perfect selection of schools. You can view detailed profiles for thousands of colleges, and run searches based on criteria including location, majors, and cost to find the schools that fit your needs.


    As your parents have probably told you time and again, college is really, really expensive. Most families can’t afford to pay anywhere near the full tuition prize, so scholarships can really come in handy. You may not realize that there are thousands of available scholarships out there, which can be put towards any college. Is your GPA a bit lackluster because you dedicate so many hours to volunteering at a soup kitchen? You could be the perfect candidate for’s $1,000 “A GPA Isn’t Everything” scholarship, which rewards students who’ve shown valuable skills outside of the classroom. Learn about all the other ways you could be eligible for free money by visiting the site.


    It can be tough to know where to set your sights if you don’t know which schools are realistically within your budget. Luckily, in addition the scholarships we just mentioned, many families are also eligible for significant financial aid from the U.S. government. If you’re a senior, you can fill out a FAFSA form to determine your financial aid eligibility, but in the meantime, you can predict your needs by filling out the FAFSA4caster, which will let you know how much aid you’re likely to receive before you start applying for schools. Ask your parents to fill out the form here.

    What Are My Chances?

    For each college you apply to, you’re likely to be up for an application fee of between $50 and $70. That’s no small change, so when it comes to filling out your applications, you’ll need to choose your schools wisely, and choose a few safe bets along with the long shots. If you’re not sure how your odds stack up for getting into your favorite schools, Campus Compare’s handy “What Are My Chances?” tool will take account of your GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities to measure your chances at any college you select.

    Parent Planning Tools

    How to Pay for College: Parent’s Guide
    No matter if you plan on funding your child’s entire education or if they are on their own, find out exactly what you need to know to support their educational wants and needs. Talk with your student about your family’s financial resources and how they can win scholarships and grants to supplement these resources. Learn everything you need to know about borrowing, including obtaining student loans and the best way to pay them back.
    Quick Links to Popular Topics
    College Life
    College life is a lot more than what you see on your college visit. Explore important campus issues like college drinking, campus safety, and college student housing. Find out everything you need to know to encourage your student to stay involved, including information on student organizations, sports, and student clubs. See what else there is to do around town with special overviews of 40 of the best college towns in the country.
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    Career Planning
    College and careers have a strong link. Help your student match his or her education with career goals with a special parents’ guide to careers and colleges. Learn more about hot jobs, growing industries, and in demand careers in today’s economy. Check out salaries across a variety of job fields and find out what wages can be expected for each.
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