Financial aid can come from many different sources, such as federal and state agencies, colleges, high schools, community organizations, and corporations. The amount of financial aid you may qualify for depends on the rules and eligibility criteria established by each source. If you are unsure of your eligibility, check the College Preparation Checklist published by the U.S. Department of Education.

Financial aid is often based on need, but merit-based aid can also be received. Merit-based aid is awarded based on your academic performance or demonstrated talent. During the fall 2018 academic year, the average merit award was $11,279. You can find merit-based aid from the college you are attending.

Financial aid can make college more affordable for many students. Applying early and exploring all available options is a good way to reduce the cost of college. The sooner you start applying, the more likely you are to receive financial aid. A financial aid counselor can help you navigate the process and find out if you qualify. It is essentdial to apply early to ensure you get all of the funds you need to pay for college.

It is also important to note that financial aid programs vary from college to college. Therefore, it is crucial for families to learn about the process. Some questions to consider include the total cost of attendance, financial aid application deadlines, and merit-based scholarships.

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